Looking back at the beginning of the summer, I never thought I would need to learn how to pore concrete in about 20 minutes by watching YouTube videos. Concrete and I have never crossed paths until now, when my advisor told me that I would be pouring concrete this week. I didn't know anything about concrete except it's everywhere and it has rocks and cement in it. That's about it. YouTube has saved me. After watching about three videos on how to make concrete pads, I felt like a pro.
We needed to pour a concrete pad in order to install a magnetic coil. Since the initial installation of the stations, the magnetic coils were just simply buried. The orientation of these coils is very important. There are north-south, east- west, and vertical coils. If any of these coils shift or are not correctly aligned, our data could become corrupted. The first task of this week was to dig up the existing east-west coil, which had actually shifted 15 degrees from east from the ground settling! It was very clear that a concrete pad was necessary to keep the coils from shifting. After we dug up our coil we dug a hole to fit the frame of the concrete pad.
It is surprisingly difficult to level dirt after tamping it down, but we eventually got it level with a lot of patience. The next step was the dreaded pouring. Even though it was challenging and it was hot, we had fun and actually carved our intials into the concrete pad! It was awesome to be making decisions about concrete and poring the pad. Here are some more photos of the poring and my awesome team that helped!
And now the final product!
The giant white thing to the left of the pad is the magnetic coil that we will place on the concrete pad once it's cured. The wood and the four poles sticking out of the concrete is part of the base of the brackets that will be placed on the concrete pad. The wood frame just aligns the base boards and the four rods that were inserted into the concrete (which cannot be seen in this photo). The last step was to just water the concrete for a few days with a cloth on top. Lastly, the lovely view that we had the entire time while working.
The San Andreas actually runs along near the base of the hills in the back of the photo.
So in conclusion, here are some things I learned from this adventure:
1. I cannot carry 80lb (i.e. bags of concrete)
2. Home Depot has become a third office for me because I frequent it so often now.
3. You have to water concrete like grass so it doesn't crack while curing.
4. Always align the coils with magnetic north.
5. Always buy more concrete than you might need.
6. Youtube never fails.
Till next time!
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