Breaking a Force Transducer

Today started like any other day in the lab. I started at 9 am walked past a colleagues desk said hi and went about my business for the day. I prepared fibres and got them ready for force measurement. I was lining the fibre up underneath the light microscope mounted between two hooks (one of […]

IMG_0301.JPGToday started like any other day in the lab. I started at 9 am walked past a colleagues desk said hi and went about my business for the day. I prepared fibres and got them ready for force measurement. I was lining the fibre up underneath the light microscope mounted between two hooks (one of which is attached to the force transducer).

The day had gone well I had intended to stay late to get a few experiments done. Unfortunately on the last contraction of the day I as always took my measurements but absent mindedly twisted the wrong dial. I thought this was no problem I would have just overstretched my fibre as the dial would have pulled the pins further apart. I looked down the microscope to re-adjust and saw that the force transducer arm had come lose. Oh no! It was borken.

I told my supervisor Tim much to his amusement at the time! He wasn’t too worried and said he couldn’t even remember how many he had broken over the years. They are incredibly delicate a slight touch in the wrong direction and they break. This is because they need to measure small forces of a single muscle fibre contracting. Luckily it was no big deal to fix, although it would take a day.

So I set about learning how to fix the transducer. This entailed a bit of electronics, which I have very little expertise in. I got plenty of help and encouraging words one I remember more then others, one of the post-doctoral researchers joking with me about how on this day I had become a true man and that you couldn’t have been one without breaking a force transducer.

It was a day that I learnt one of the last techniques I hadn’t yet learnt meaning I am now almost 100% independent to do the work I need to do. This is a great feeling! Complete independence in a lab that lets me go about my work and achieve what I want to achieve it was brilliant. – CT

 

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