My lab experiments in Coimbra or: How I became healthier

‘Ohh..goodluck, but I would never think about doing lab experiments during a secondment!’

This was one of my colleague’s  “motivational” response when I told him about my plans for my secondment in University of Coimbra. Well, he was being pessimistic, but nevertheless he was not completely wrong. Completing lab experiments during a secondment can be tricky. Mainly because of limited time and unfamiliar lab environment, especially if you are new to the place and cannot speak a single word in the local language, which was exactly my situation.  To make it even harder, the one and only lab technician in the water lab can only speak Portuguese. But thanks to Rita, I already had most of the things prepared for my experiments even before I came to Coimbra, so my feelings in the first few days of my secondment here were mixed with excitement and nervousness.

Now it has been almost two and a half months. I am behind my original schedule, but now I am more familiar with all the lab facilities and the experimental setup, so the progress is faster now. I am hoping to finish all the remaining experiments in less- than- a-month’s time.

I have not mentioned about the aim of my lab experiments yet. I am investigating the sediment wash off from an impervious road surface using artificial rainfall. The main aim is to study the effect of (a) rainfall intensity, (b) slope of the surface, and (c) initial load on sediment wash off from the road surface.

Here are some pictures from my lab experiments

Me and my lab (batman) costume to not get wet in the artificial rain. P.S: My office mates call my experimental space Gotham city and Nazmul, who helps me a lot with my experiments, Robin!
Placing sand uniformly over the experimental surface of 1 sqm
Experimental setup during a test

Finally, some results. But do not be bored, it has nothing to do with sediment wash off. Thanks to the health application in my mobile, I found a good relationship between two parameters even before I start to analyse my experimental data.  Number of steps I walk per day has a good correlation with the number of experiments I carry out per day, so I finish with a health tip: Do lab experiments and stay healthy! 😉


My lab experiments in Coimbra or: How I became healthier