Tag Archives: Engineering Notebooks

The Importance of Good Laboratory Notebook Practices

Establishing good laboratory notebook practices begins in high school. It is important for science and engineering instructors to require that their students have a proper notebook to record their work in for the class. Some students might question why they need to write in their notebooks and why they cannot just use a laptop or tablet instead. Instructors should be prepared to answer these types of questions by educating their students with the following information.

Laboratory Notebook

  • Recording theories, experiments, and their outcomes in notebooks makes it easy to review later and ensures the student can build upon prior experiences to improve upon and potentially reach the desired outcome. Plus, it is much easier to make notations, sketch drawings, and other such things quickly and easily in paper notebooks.
  • Notebooks allow students to record every vital detail about coursework and related projects. In some courses, students are required to write a final paper at the end of the course that covers the projects they completed throughout the class. Having access to a notebook where everything was recorded makes it easier for students to compose their final papers.
  • Numerous university and college courses will require students to use the appropriate notebooks. Learning how to properly use notebooks while still in high school will prepare students now, so, when they start college, they will already be familiar with using these types of notebooks with their classes.
  • Handwritten notebooks in ink establish a record of the work completed and time period. This can be important later in life should your students pursue a career in science, engineering, medicine, and other such fields. Often, filing for a trademark, patent, or copyright requires being able to prove various details and/or being able to defend oneself against legal actions, should another obtain one of these protected items for a similar item.

Recording Information in the Notebooks

Part of establishing good notebook practices is learning how to record information. First, everything from text entries to drawings and sketches should be written in ink, never pencil. Next, rather than scratching out mistakes and errors, or attempting to cover them up with correction fluid, it is better to leave them alone and simply draw a single line through the entry and record an explanation why it was crossed out.

It is also recommended to record any materials you used and their amounts in your notebook. This way, if you need to repeat an experiment or alter it later, you will have a record of what you already used and how much of it. Further, if you are working in a team, lab notebooks can help show each person’s contributions. For any entries you make, remember to sign your name and date under them to show your contributions to the project.

Laboratory Notebook

There are many different styles of notebooks out there to choose from, and the best ones to use are ones with permanently bound pages available from Scientific Notebook Company. Please feel free to contact us at 800.537.3028 for assistance in selecting the best notebooks for your students, research projects, or coursework.

Studying Tips for Engineering Students

Pursuing an education in engineering can be a rewarding goal and lead to a successful career. However, the time, effort, and amount of dedication required to obtain your degree and land your dream job means you will have to develop proficient studying tips and learn how to balance these into an active university lifestyle.

  1. Stock Up on Engineering Notebooks – You will want to take good notes and keep them in engineering and research notebooks. Most students keep their notebooks and rely upon them throughout their college coursework, as well as later, after starting their career.

Engineering Students

  1. Prepare Ahead of Time for Classes – Preview and read any assignments before attending class. You should take notes on the material and make notations of any topics or other questions you want to ask your professors.
  2. Develop Relationships with Professors – Your professors are vital resources you should not discard. Take the time to build relationships with them, as you just might need them as a reference later when you start applying for internships and jobs.
  3. Manage Your Time Wisely –It is vital to keep your long term goals in mind and manage your time correctly. Get in the habit of starting homework assignments when they are assigned and not waiting until the night before they are due. This way, you will have time for some fun later, while everyone else is cramming to get their work done.
  4. Start a Study Group – If you are finding it difficult to study on your own, start a study group with other students. Studying in a group allows you to openly discuss and solve problems together, as well as provides a great support system for those times you feel overwhelmed or frustrated.
  5. Attempt to Solve Problems Before Seeking Help – Your professors are there to help, but are not going to do your homework for you. Take the time to attempt to answer questions and problem solve, as this shows you are willing to do the work, but are seeking their help to get you back on track. Be prepared to discuss what you have tried, and what you have already done, too.
  6. Take Non-Engineering Classes – From art classes to business and communication classes, you will want to pursue coursework outside core engineering ones to further enhance your overall learning experience and improve your skills.
  7. Enroll in Appropriate Classes to Maintain Your GPA – It can be tempting to enroll in honors classes to have this on your resume. However, with engineering, your GPA is critical in finding a job and starting your career. If you are struggling with honors classes, consider dropping them and taking the non-honors classes instead, so you can maintain a higher GPA.

Engineering Notebook

For all of your high quality engineering, lab, research, and student notebooks, order online today from SNCO or call us directly at 800.537.3028 for further assistance.

5 Science Mysteries that Might Be Solved in 2016

Every scientist has their laboratory research notebook at the ready and is feeling hopeful about 2016. That’s because 2015 brought a whole host of discoveries and advances. Each time a new scientific discovery is made, it opens the doors for endless discoveries to jump off from it. After all, research is only limited by the current knowledge base. That’s why the world can and should expect great scientific things in 2016.

Lab notebook

How Many More Synthetic Elements Can Be Created?

2015 brought the groundbreaking discovery of four more elements. These elements were added to the existing periodic table, but that’s not where things end. Instead, it’s where they begin. Scientists are continually working to create new elements themselves. They do this by smashing particles together. With four new elements on the table, you can expect lab notebooks to fill up with plans for new synthetic elements, as well.

What Is Dark Matter?

There has never really been a question of whether or not dark matter exists. The problem is, it can’t be seen or really measured. Scientists are aware of dark matter because of the impact it has on other things, rather than because they’ve seen the matter themselves. Since there is 5 times as much dark matter as there is matter that can be seen, it’s important to start learning more about it. Scientists have their sights fixed on doing just that this year.

Is Bigfoot Real?

This time, scientists come in the form of observers and operators of unmanned aerial vehicles. These drones can go places that aren’t easy to get to, and they can see more than has ever been seen because of it. They have already been able to capture images of elusive animals. Since they can go in areas that aren’t heavily populated, they may be able to catch a glimpse of creatures like Bigfoot, which, if they do exist, are likely to be hiding out in remote areas.

Is There Life on Mars?

2015 offered the astounding discovery of water on Mars. A history of a water-drenched land was provided, but there are also existing salt water areas. Scientists know that where there is water on Earth, there is life. It stands to reason that the same methodology might apply not just to Mars, but to Jupiter, and to a moon of Saturn, Enceladus.


What Do Gravitational Waves Look Like?

The world has long been aware that gravity exists, but has never seen gravitational waves. In 2015, there was an upgrade to a machine designed to look for waves that are 10,000 times smaller than protons. The upgrade hasn’t been revealed, but rumors have already started to circulate, and the scientific community is expecting big things from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)

Naturally, these aren’t the only questions that scientists seek to answer in 2016, but the changes and discoveries of 2015 did make answering these questions more of a possibility than ever before. With a lab notebook at the ready, each scientist is going into 2016 with a new sense of wonder and motivation.



Sustainable Bricks Made from Plastic Bottles

In a time when people are making every effort to conserve energy and still live comfortably, the scientific notebook that holds the information to make sustainable bricks from plastic bottles is most welcome. As convenient as plastic is, it is a menace to the oceans and the wildlife that lives there. Even on land, it fills the landfills endlessly. The very idea that it might possibly be used to build homes or other structures is enough to rouse interest.

Plastic Replaces Sand

Plastic Replaces Sand

When bricks are made, sand is used as their filler. Combined with cement and water, the sand makes a durable material with which to build homes that are structurally low maintenance. Rosana Gaggino and the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research came up with a process that allows the bricks to be built by combining polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic with cement, rather than sand. If the plastic particles were not put to a specific use, it would take around 500 years for them to decompose.

Benefits of Using Plastic in Bricks

Other than the benefit to the planet, the information found in the engineering notebooks offers faster, more direct benefits to people in general. While this method recycles plastic bottles to the tune of 20 bottles for every brick, it also provides better insulation for homes than the traditional bricks that are used to create structures for humans to live in. In fact, they hold heat up to five times more effectively than bricks built with sand.

The ripple effect is overwhelming. Not only does the plastic get reused and kept out of the landfills, but erosion from the use of sand and dirt is also reduced. At the same time, it will take less energy to heat the homes that rely on these “ecological” bricks for their construction. On top of that, a concept not yet addressed in the engineering notebooks is that the plastic may even hold up longer than the sand, meaning that less maintenance is necessary even in the long run. Of course, the only way to test that theory is over time, but, given the decomposition rate of the plastic, it would seem sound enough.

Other Uses for Plastic

Considering that the government has already approved the use of these ecological bricks in government-owned homes, it would seem likely that they will be more inclined now to approve the allocation of funds for more research into other areas where plastic might be useful.

It is unclear how the expense of the ecological bricks compares to the expense of traditional bricks when it comes to the purchase price. Yet now is the time to think about more than just today and, instead, start thinking about the future. If methods like this are not used in large quantities very soon, survival itself may become a struggle, and there won’t be any time or people to fill those notebooks with new ideas. Reusing plastic can’t stop at pens made out of recycled plastic when there are so many benefits to bigger projects, like homes made out of ecological bricks.

Consider a Career in an Engineering Field

Engineering is a specific career choice for some people who are interested in technology and science, and who want to contribute to the development, building, or design of equipment, buildings, engines, machines, computers, and other tools to make people’s lives easier. There are numerous fields within engineering to pick from when considering this for a career. Some aspects and general education are similar, but specialty fields have their own educational requirements. Some of the educational courses required for engineering careers include math, science, drafting, drawing, and computer programming.
In recent years, R&D (research and development) engineering careers are in much higher demand than in other engineering fields. The cause of this growth is largely due to the latest advances in technology and the increased rate at which new products are being developed. There are two basic types of research and development used by organizations.

The first one involves creating, developing, and designing new products and/or improving existing product lines. The second one is using applied sciences to explore possibilities, weigh theories, and hypothesize about potential future products. Engineers are often hired to for the first type of R&D, while scientists are normally hired for the second type of R&D.
Research and design can be applied to a wide range of industries and engineering fields, such as:

– Structural Engineering

– Computer Engineering

– Environmental Engineering

– Nuclear Engineering

– Industrial Engineering

– Chemical Engineering

– Aerospace Engineering

– Biomedical Engineering

– Electrical Engineering

– Civil Engineering

– Mechanical Engineering

Many engineering students receive overlapping coursework at their university because many of the specialized fields also overlap. As a result, engineers need to have a basic understanding of several different specialty areas in addition to their own specialized field. For instance, structural engineers need to have an understanding of civil engineering concepts, or biomedical engineers should understand the basics of chemical engineering.
Most universities have a set of prerequisite coursework to be completed before engineering students are able to select from a specialized field. Once students have mastered the concepts and skills in physics, engineering computer applications, and mathematics, then they are allowed to move on to coursework more closely related to their particular engineering field specialization. Engineering students do not solely rely upon technology to conduct research and development and complete coursework. Many record their notes and findings in engineering notebooks and research notebooks, because there are times when they do not have access to computers, tablets, and other such devices, or they want to map out a simulation, concept, or other idea by hand first.

Engineering careers are not limited to sitting behind a desk and using a computer all day long. Engineering has changed over the past decades, and engineers are found in a variety of work settings. Engineers work offshore on oil rigs, onsite at construction projects, in nuclear power plants, in research laboratories, in manufacturing facilities, and in space. This career field is expected to experience major growth over the next decade, depending upon the specialized field. Some fields will grow about four percent, while R&D engineering fields will grow as much as thirty percent.

Whether you need engineering notebooks for university work, patent protection, or project control, you can obtain them from Scientific Notebook Company today by calling 800-537-3028.

Engineering Notebooks

Studying Tips for Engineering Students

Being a successful engineering student starts by forming proper studying habits. There is a higher learning expectation at the university level, compared to what you were used to in high school. Engineering students often find they must spend more time studying in order to successfully pass their engineering classes and complete course work on time. Part of successful studying is ensuring you have the right materials and supplies before you even set foot inside a classroom, such as pens, pencils, calculators, and engineering notebooks. A materials and supplies list can be obtained either from your college’s academic office or your academic advisor.

General Engineering Studying Tips

  • Never Miss Class: Missing a class could put you far behind your peers. If you have to miss due to illness, make sure to ask a fellow classmate for notes, and make an appointment with the instructor or their teaching assistant to cover any questions you might have about the material.
  • Get to Know Your Instructors: Take the time to learn your instructors’ office hours, whether they have teaching assistants, and the teaching assistants’ office hours. Developing relationships with your instructors not only makes it easier for you to approach them whenever you require help, but also gives you suitable references to use later on when you apply for internships and jobs.
  • Participate in Study Groups: Everyone has their own methods for problem solving. Being part of a study group greatly helps expand your problem-solving skills, especially in situations where you are stuck on a problem or not entirely sure whether you are approaching the problem correctly. In addition, it allows you to develop relationships with your classmates should you miss class and need class notes or help catching up on assignments.
  • Take Notes: Notes should be taken during class lectures and problem demonstrations, as well as while you are completing reading assignments. It is better to use engineering notebooks and hand write notes rather than rely upon laptop computers or tablet devices. However, it is beneficial to use the microphone in these devices and record lectures for review later.
  • Review Materials Several Times: Review reading assignments, notes, and other materials more than once. Preview the assigned reading before reading through the chapter, and then read the entire chapter before the next class. Remember, as you are reading, to take notes on important concepts and topics you can utilize in class to help answer questions.
  • Avoid Working: If at all possible, avoid working if you have a full class load. Your engineering courses are going to take more time out of your schedule to study and complete assignments. If you do have to work, try to limit your work schedule to no more than fifteen hours per week, or, if you must work full time, take no more than one engineering course and one general education course per semester.

By following these engineering studying tips, you are on your way to developing prospering studying techniques and successfully passing your engineering courses. You can obtain professional engineering notebooks and student notebooks directly from Scientific Notebook Company by calling 800-537-3028.

Engineering Notebook

Uses for Archival Pens

Archival pens are frequently used in scientific research labs, but there are many other uses for these writing utensils. The long-lasting ink is relied upon in a number of different fields, thanks to its many excellent properties. Here are just a few uses for archival pens that you might not have thought of before:


Scrapbooking has become a popular hobby and a great way to record life’s many milestones. In addition to using pictures and mementos on the scrapbook’s pages, people often write detailed notes about the events, including dates, names, and other important facts on each page. Archival ink ensures the longevity of these books, which are meant to last for years.

Book Signings

Many authors travel the country to sign copies of their most popular books. Archival ink tends to be more permanent and doesn’t bleed on paper the way other inks do. For signing the pages inside a book, this is the best type of ink to use. Of course, for signing the cover of a book, other types of pens and markers may be used.


While it is commonly used in scientific research, archival ink lends itself to any type of research where the results might be stored for many years, or where the validity of research must be proven. Engineering, clinical research, field studies, and social experiments can all benefit from this type of ink.

Archival pens serve a wide range of purposes. From artists and crafters, to serious researchers, many people throughout the world rely on this type of pen for their everyday work.

Basics of a Design Notebook

If you have had an idea for designing something, you know that your ideas, thoughts and plans can come to you at odd times and in unusual places. Writing these things down in a variety of places could prove to be problematic if you ever choose to move beyond the idea phase. Very seldom does an idea drawn on a napkin, as were some of Michelangelo’s sketches for the Sistine Chapel, work as an efficient method of record keeping. That is why engineering notebooks were invented.

A design or engineering notebook lets the inventor keep a written record of the design project from concept to completion. As the project progresses, research, observations, sketches and questions that arise can be recorded in the notebook, making it easy to go back and find these details later. By keeping everything in one place, recorded in neat, chronological order, you or a contemporary can go back and retrace the design process and get the same results or find the errors.

If you are not sure what to put in the design notebook, include everything. It should begin the moment you first conceive of your idea and record every step, thought or idea that occurs from then on. In some instances you may need to attach other documents and drawings by means of tape or glue. As long as all the background research, interviews with experts and potential consumers, drawings and photos end up in the book, it will form a complete record of the design process. This is what engineering notebooks were meant to accomplish.

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.

Plan for the Details of Your New Engineering Project

Plan for the Details of Your New Engineering Project

If you are working on a new engineering project, you are probably pretty excited to start this new endeavor. New projects are always fun, but if you don’t take the right steps, all that fun can cause you to destroy the fruits of your own labor. Make sure you take the steps below to protect yourself.

Research your staff. If you have people working with you, do some in-depth research so that you know you are working with a trustworthy group who is not going to steal your designs or ideas. Even with a patent, you are at risk when you work with people who are not fully trustworthy.

Set your materials up for protection. You probably already know to use engineering notebooks, but do you know how to set them up so that your ideas are safe? As you take notes throughout the day, if you have someone else put those notes in your engineering notebooks, you need to assign them a specific code for the day and divide the work so that all of the information is entered, but no one person has access to all the information.

Put a non-disclosure agreement in place. Before you let anyone into your lab or office, they need to sign a non-disclosure agreement that says they will not use or share any of your work, including your ideas, whether they are developed or not. This gives you some legal ground to stand on if you ever need to deal with the issue of someone taking your work or ideas and claiming them as their own.