Patrick Gordon (21), a student in Chemical Engineering, worked during his third-year internship at Wafilin on comparative research of ceramic membranes and to model the performance of the membranes. In the February newsletter, Patrick shared that he was busy finalizing his project plan and was looking forward to the start of the experimental phase of the research. Now that his internship is coming to an end, we are curious to know how Patrick experienced the implementation phase and what his overall experience is with this internship at Wafilin.
The 21-year-old Chemical Engineering student has spent five months conducting comparative research into ceramic membranes. Patrick explains: “At the start of the internship I was mainly sitting behind the laptop to get the project plan ready. At that time, I couldn’t imagine what I would discover during the test phase. I have compared ceramic membranes from different suppliers for a certain type of water and those tests showed, for example, that one membrane is more robust than the other. That is not a surprising result, but the fact that every membrane in a group that works together in one module is unique, that means that each membrane also reacts differently was a real challenge for me during the testing”.
Performing tests with self-made Bubble point tester
Patrick has performed various tests with a self-made system, called Bubble point tester. Patrick has now also shared the results, which we cannot share here, with the relevant membrane suppliers. “Despite their own knowledge and experience, the suppliers also learned something from my results. That feels special to an intern”, says Patrick.
Positive sound from Van Hall Larenstein
The internship supervisor from Van Hall Larenstein is also impressed by Patrick’s research and results. During the evaluation, it appears that Patrick has learned more than the competencies required from the education. Patrick explains: “That is also because I did my internship at a small-scale company where you experience the entire process. The initial phase, the final phase and the leap in it. Working in all the phases, from A to Z makes the internship at Wafilin very instructive and dynamic.
The education examines separation methods and solvents, but membrane technology is not specifically explained. During this internship, Patrick was surprised by the possibilities that membranes offer as a separation method. “A membrane is not an easy product to make. Not every membrane is the same. I understand better and better why Wafilin is so critical in selecting the right membrane for the right application”.
One of the greatest internships
Patrick is very pleased with his internship at Wafilin and shares: “last month we had a special day at school, where all classmates were allowed to share something about their internship, I was convinced that I have one of the best internships. At Wafilin you are not treated as an intern but as an equal and that has a stimulating effect. I learned the most on how to set up a project yourself and how great it is that the outcome can also be useful for the company. Nice mix of theoretical and practical implementation. It was fun and educational, “says Patrick.
Patrick is far from bored with membrane technology. Who knows, we might see Patrick again in the professional field once he has finished graduating. We want to thank Patrick for his enthusiasm and hard work and wish him every success within the last school year.