Monthly Archives: January 2014

Your Ideas Deserve Proper Documentation

How many folks through the years have had important ideas they jotted down on scraps of paper and never developed? The numbers are probably astronomical. How many times have you seen an idea and knew that you had come up with it long before it was patented or claimed, but had no way to prove it? A lab notebook enables you to jot down ideas and go back to check dates that can be used in court or patent processes to secure your invention, idea or project.

Sure, it may be convenient to just scribble down an idea on any piece of paper you have handy. But transferring that idea into a special notebook makes it more likely that you will follow up on it and develop it yourself. Otherwise, you may find out in the future that someone else was more “on the ball” and made a fortune on something you could have developed yourself if only you were more organized.

A laboratory notebook gives you the space to develop, change and adapt your ideas while keeping the originals, making it easy to track changes. With a pre-printed page format that meets the requirements of patent law authorities, a lab notebook helps you create and substantiate patentable ideas. You will have permanent chronological records of the research and development of your ideas, projects and creations, whether you decide to do something with them next month, or years from now. Your notebooks will be valuable assets for maintaining the integrity of your projects and establishing your ideas as facts.

Bring Your Cleanroom Up to Date

Bring Your Cleanroom Up to Date

One of the challenges of a new year is making sure that your supplies and materials for your work are up to date, stocked and prepared to join you on your journey through the next year. Many cleanroom managers do an end-of-year inventory and make purchases for the next year. Besides beakers and equipment you will also need recording and tracking tools like notebooks. Don’t overlook the minutiae when performing your stocking duties.

Because it is a cleanroom, it is imperative that every piece of equipment meets the standards. You can’t just walk in with any old notebook and preserve the integrity of the project. Cleanroom notebooks should be used in any environment where low particle and fiber generation matters. Our cleanroom stationery features a permanent-bound-sewn and Mylar-sealed cover. Inside you will find blue college-ruled 22 pound TexWrite cleanroom paper with an index page, and dual signature and date lines on each page. They are cleanroom processed and double packaged, and you can place them in the autoclave!

Don’t settle for generic cleanroom notebooks that may or may not be properly processed and packaged. The effort to find and purchase quality cleanroom supplies can benefit your project and maintain the integrity of the environment. It is a new year, and you can start it off right by getting your cleanroom up to date with specific cleanroom products which will make your year go much more smoothly. Accidental contamination, or notebooks that succumb to chemicals can cause major problems with your project!

Understanding the Basic Cleanroom

A place where products are produced in a stringently controlled environment is called a cleanroom. Inside the cleanroom, the number of airborne particles is controlled in order to comply with specific limits. Eliminating contaminants is a primary goal of such a place, even down to the use of cleanroom notebooks specially designed for these environments.

Contamination can come from any of four potential sources: facilities, processes, equipment, and people. Contaminants must constantly be removed by means of a sophisticated air filtration system. The amount of contaminants allowable is based on the standards for that industry, and is often managed in accordance with the Federal Standard 209E. This document prescribes the standards for the levels of particles in the air that are acceptable in cleanrooms and clean zones.

The control of contamination encompasses the whole environment and involves tight manipulation of such things as air flow rates and pressure, temperature, and humidity, among other things. Rooting out the source of contaminants is equally important. For example, standard paper can give off fibrous microbes that can throw off the levels of acceptable contamination. This is why these environments use cleanroom notebooks which are specially designed to be less fibrous.

Even the construction of a cleanroom must be done following strict protocols. Once built, it must be maintained to these same strict standards. Cleaning of the cleanroom is carried out in accordance with a handbook that outlines the procedures and supplies that can be used. Professional cleaning staff is usually brought in to handle this job.

Once a cleanroom is built, it must be maintained and cleaned to the same high standards. This handbook has been prepared to give professional cleaning staff information about how to clean a cleanroom.

Keeping the Cleanroom Clean

Keeping the Cleanroom Clean

Cleanrooms are important in laboratories and industrial settings where there is a need to keep products or processes from becoming contaminated. Most have to meet detailed requirements about how many parts per million of contamination are acceptable. Special equipment is used in a cleanroom, and often those who work in cleanrooms have to wear protective clothing. They even use specially designed cleanroom notebooks to record notes and activities. Keeping a cleanroom clean requires extra care and preparation.

Contamination can come from many sources. The sloughing off of human skin, dirt that sticks to equipment or tools brought in, and dust carried on shoes or clothing all leave microbial deposits behind which can affect the cleanroom’s cleanliness.

Tacky rollers can be used on flat surfaces to trap these microbes, without sending them flying into the air. Once captured, the tacky roller can be cleaned outside the cleanroom. Other surfaces may need cleaning with wet wipes. Dry cloths can bring in their own microscopic fibers. They can also push dust around, rather than capturing it as a wet wipe would do. Wet wipes should be made of fine fibrous material so as to minimize shedding.

Dry vacuum the floor to remove dust and particles. Next, mop the floor with a sponge-type mop. String mops will leave behind too many fiber particles. Finally, use a wet vacuum to remove any traces of moisture and contamination. A floor scrubbing machine may be used, from time to time, if needed. Record cleaning activities in a cleanroom notebook as a means of controlling what is brought into the room and used there.

Do Kids Need Engineering Notebooks?

When children are young, they think it is cool when you buy them toys that look like adult toys. For example, you might buy your toddler a plastic hammer, but you would not buy him a 16 oz. hammer to play with, because he might get hurt, and he can’t really operate it. However, as children get older, they often want to use real tools so that they — and you — take them seriously. In preschool years, this behavior is called mimicking, but, as children grow, they are not mimicking; they are developing real skills. When you take those skills seriously, your child is more likely to, as well, but that’s not the only reason your child might need engineering notebooks.

Have you ever watched your child create something and wondered why you had not thought to create it yourself? Children are not bound by the constraints of decades of experience, so they are able to come up with fresh ideas and new ways of using things. What if your child came up with an idea and it was not recorded correctly, so it was easy for someone to steal it?

These notebooks not only show your child that you respect his or her efforts; they also provide a legal format for those efforts to gain recognition. Even if you never have to deal with an engineering nightmare of going to court over someone stealing an idea that your child had, we sometimes go back and look at where our ideas started. These notebooks are built to stand the test of time, so that years later when your child looks back, they have documentation that may be the foundation for a well-formulated invention.

Small Items to Account for in Research Grants

Small Items to Account for in Research Grants

When you are filling out your application for research funding in the form of grants from a school or government entity, it can be easy to get caught up in worrying about all of the large items you may need funds for as you itemize your needs. Because of this, some smaller items may go unaccounted for, and this can result in going over budget when it comes time to purchase supplies. Don’t forget these items when you apply for your grant.

Cleanroom notebooks: Cleanroom notebooks are some of the most important items that you need, for one very good reason. In the world of science, if it is not documented, it didn’t happen. Since you need specific types of documentation in order to present the details of your research, you need to make sure you have enough notebooks to carry you through the entire process, so that your research can hold up for validation purposes, should they ever be needed.

Safety supplies: Consider every single aspect of your research when you make your list for safety equipment. How many people do you need to account for? Do you need things as stringent as Hazmat suits, or does your research only require gloves, goggles, aprons, and other small items? Make sure to account for every single aspect. Though some of these items may be small and inexpensive, if you have to pay for them yourself, you will quickly realize that it does not take much time for those small expenses to add up.

Lab Notebook Guidelines for Graduate Research

Your lab notebooks will be critical for completing your graduate research, but there are some issues that come up with how these notebooks should be created and who retains ownership of the notebooks once a student leaves a lab group. You will want to familiarize yourself with these guidelines before you begin your graduate work.

Ownership of the Lab Notebooks

While you are the person doing the research, you may not be able to take your laboratory notebooks with you. Depending on your university’s rules, the notebooks could be the property of the school, which means that you won’t be able to take them with you. While this can be devastating to learn at the last minute, knowing this information ahead of time means that you can prepare yourself to part with these journals of your work. 

Correcting Your Work

You may find that you have made a mistake in your research, or you feel that your work is too sloppy to read. You won’t be able to remove these pages from your lab notebook, as missing pages can invalidate your work. You can, however, draw a line through the data that you will be rewriting. Make sure that you only draw a single line, so the work that you are no longer using is still visible.

Keeping accurate records and making sure you know who has ownership of your work is part of being a successful graduate student. Make sure that you understand how to create a valid notebook, and familiarize yourself with your schools rules regarding ownership of research data.

Getting to Know Your College Laboratory

Getting to Know Your College Laboratory

When you begin college to pursue a degree in science, the lab will be a big part of your life. You should take some time to prepare yourself by learning about your school’s lab requirements and protocols. This will help you prepare for success before you ever set foot on campus. Take the following into consideration as you prepare for a college career in research:

Laboratory Notebooks

Your school may supply notebooks for you, or you may need to provide your own. The lab notebook is one of the most important pieces of equipment you will use, as it is the place where you will record all your data. You will want to make sure that you have an official lab notebook, which is completely different from a regular college notebook. If you fail to use the proper documentation tools, you may not pass your courses. 

Equipment

Depending on the lab course you are taking, you may be required to wear special lab equipment. This could mean a lab coat, protective shoes, goggles, or gloves. You’ll want to make sure that you put these items on every time you are in the lab, before you begin any experiments or research. Not wearing the proper equipment could render your findings incomplete or inaccurate.

Using the proper equipment and laboratory notebooks is critical for your success as a student of science. Make sure you know what your school’s requirements are, so you can produce the best work possible, and prepare yourself for a lifetime of prosperous research.

Reasons for Laboratory Notebook Format and Rules

When it comes to putting a value on all the equipment in a laboratory, there is perhaps nothing more valuable than a laboratory notebook. The documentation it contains makes it useful as evidence in court, if needed. If patent litigation becomes an issue, it can save a company millions. This is seldom the case, but it’s nice to know that, should the need arise, the means of irrefutable evidence lies within its pages.

Maintaining good records is at the root of any scientific research.  Without those records to back up results, experiments would have to be repeated — over and over, in some cases. In academic settings, without the proof of the work done, students would simply fail the exercise. In industrial settings, the consequences are more severe. Missing data can cost time, money and materials, and can result in employees losing their jobs, or in legal action. These are just a few of the reasons that it is important to follow rules regarding the formatting and maintenance of any laboratory notebook.

These notebooks should be bound, not spiral in construction. Pages should be consecutively numbered, and no page should ever be removed. To do so invalidates the credibility of the data. Anything and everything related to the work being done must be recorded in an organized and easy-to-read manner.

No matter what guidelines you use, the goal is to produce a record of a scientific endeavor that is understandable to a knowledgeable reader, and which can be used to repeat the experiment, and, presumably, get the same results. Make all notes while in the lab, and avoid updating the notebook later, when you are away from the lab. The idea is create a complete written account of the work that can be read and recreated by anyone else, from start to finish.