Thursday, June 25, 2009

Formulations, insomnia and career paths

I'm finally getting to work on that UV-cured material after endless delays from the front office. It is a new area that doesn't seem to have any previous work done, so I'm flying by the seat of my pants, using only my intuition and experience. This is no time for a designed formulation scheme spit out blindly by a canned program devised by a mathematician (or worse yet, a statistician!). This is the time to take big broad swatches of color and go for it, guaranteeing equally big failures and maybe, just maybe, a spark of success that can be slowly fanned and improved to reach the ultimate success.

The first days are the worst as there are too many functional groups to look at (including the various remnants binding them together), too many photoinitiators, and too many other additives to include. My mind was non-functional yesterday after massing out all the ingredients. Letting things sit overnight, I can already see that there are issues of solubility between the components to address, premature reactions and a host of other problems to solve.

This is fun. These problems will keep me awake at night, but I'm energized in the morning about the new ideas to try. Had I'd gone to the dark side (management), I'd be awake at night too with problems in my head, but that would be a worry-induced insomnia, the kind that would leave me exhausted in the morning from a sleepless night. I've chosen my career path correctly.

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