2021 Physics Capstone Symposium

Senior Physics capstone presentations will take place Wednesday, May 19th starting at 2pm. If you’d like to join the capstone Zoom session, please email Professor Rich Louie at louie@plu.edu.


2:00pm Phuc (Phylicia) Phan – “The Conductivity of Customized Solid Polymer Electrolytes at Different Frequencies”

Solid polymer electrolytes (SPEs) are a promising alternative to the organic liquid electrolytes. The most studied polymer host for SPEs is polyethylene oxide (PEO). It is practically proved that PEO provides a high solvation capacity for lithium salt and good compatibility with electrodes. We investigate how the conductivity of a oxanorbornene dicarboximide backbone with PEO side chains changes with different proportions of blended conducting salt.


2:15pm Sawyer Veliz – “Comparison of Metallicities in Members of Solar-Twin Binary Star Systems”

Solar-twin binary star systems are pairs of stars much like the sun, orbiting each other.  We uncovered a weak direct relationship between separation distance and the difference of the metallicity of individual elements.  We study additional binary systems and metallic elements to either verify or refute this trend.


2:30pm Alexander Johnson – “Detecting Star-Forming Regions in the Outer Galaxy”

Star formation in the outer Galaxy takes place under more extreme conditions than the rest of the Milky Way. We observe 12 potential star-forming regions in one spiral arm and identify radio continuum and spectral data for 7, increasing the amount of information known about outer-Galaxy star formation.


2:45pm Jason Willis – “Investigation of depth to diameter ratio of selected craters on Mercury”

Topographic  data measured from the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) aboard the  MESSENGER spacecraft was used to investigate the relationship between  depth and diameter for simple impact craters on Mercury.


3:00pm Christiaan Chandler – “Building a Self-Balancing Robot”

A two-wheeled self balancing robot was built using an Arduino and gyroscope/accelerometer. An application programming interface (API) uses a PID approach, issuing corrections based on Proportional error, time-Integrated error, and Differential error to zero the deviation from a vertical orientation, keeping the robot upright.


3:15pm Jamin Perry – “Static Forces of a Model Rolling Bridge Section”

In 2002, architect Thomas Heatherwick made an octagon rolling bridge that uncurls across a waterway. This project analyzes the static forces that affect 1/4 of the bridge by assembling a physical model and taking measurements with strain gauges. Values are compared with theoretical values, found using Engineering Statics analysis.