Part of the allure of science for me is the application to the real world. The ability to affect how people live their lives, or to better understand the environment, is something that truly piques my interest. I get very excited any time I have the ability to run an experiment that has real world implications. My project of studying voiding is based indirectly in application, and the impacts are not very apparent. Recently however, I had the chance to help out a technician with a test that very directly follows a real world event.
This test studied the durability of solder joints when dropped. Literally, we dropped a printed circuit board a whole bunch of times. This was done to mimic someone dropping their cell phone. The board was dropped in a cell phone-like metal board from various heights. After each drop, we would check to make sure each of the components were still on the board, and then we would drop it again. After the dropping was complete, we tested the strength of the bonds to see if they lost any strength from the impacts.
People drop their phones a lot. I’m quite careful with my phone, and it still falls all the time. Obviously, you need your phone to work even if you drop it, so these joints must be strong enough to survive the fall.
This was not the most exciting test I have ever run; it was simply dropping something over and over again. Seeing the exact reference to an event that people go through every day is what makes this test interesting. Knowing that someone has the ability to be a little less careful with their phone because we know that dropping the phone over and over will not hurt its functionality makes science important and interesting. Obviously, this is a minor test, and maybe not as fascinating or life-saving as others, but it still shows the power and interconnectedness of science and the world surrounding it. I think that’s really cool.