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Thermodynamics and Properties of Nanophases, Essay Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1657

Essay

Purpose

The purpose of the following memorandum is to look closely at the engineering article. By focusing on the technical writing, as well as the research that was conducted this memo will look closely at the readability, the scientific validity, and recommendations for clarity in the future. This memo will take a peer-reviewed journal and write a clear and thorough analysis that will be able to be viewed from other peers in the engineering field.

Summary

The summary of this memorandum revolves around the close analysis of the following engineering article that focuses on the vocabulary, the readability to others outside and inside the field of engineering, as well as the scientific methodology that was used in creating the research. Bernhard Wunderlich wrote the article “Thermodynamics and Properties of Nanophases”, from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Tennessee. This article was published November 18, 2008, by the Thermochimica Acta, available on the Elsevier website. The intended audience for this journal is the physicists, chemists, and material engineers that work with nanophases in their field of research. This article discusses the subject of nanophases and how the different structures and properties of nanophases varies in thermodynamics. In order to correctly analyze and critic the work of Wunderlich, I will use the Technical Communication, book by Mike Markel, surrounding his method of “Measures of Excellence in Technical Communication” and “Characteristics of Technical Document” methods.

Journal and Article

The following engineering article revolves around the research about nanophases. The article, “Thermodynamics and Properties of Nanophases” written by Bernhard Wunderlich, is available online by subscription at ScienceDirect. The article was originally written for engineering journal, Thermochimica Acta, and can be found at Elsevier website. The article is peer reviewed, and published monthly to its intended audience of chemists, physicists, and material engineers. The author Bernhard Wunderlich emigrated from Germany in the 1950s, and received his Ph.D. in 1957 from Northwestern University in Illinois. He originally taught at Cornell University, until he became a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1963. For many years, he was a consultant for DuPoint Company, and was appointed a Distinguished Scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Tennessee in 1988, until 2001 when he retired. He passed way in 2012 at the age of 81 in Knoxville, Tennessee, after a long history in investigating heat capacity measurements of polymers, macromolecular crystallization, and semi crystalline polymers. He published over 575 technical papers, as well as several books on Macromolecular Physics for Academic Press, and published his autobiography in 2010 titled, “A Science Career Against All Odds.” Throughout his lifetime he earned several high profile awards in which he earned mostly in the field of Thermodynamics and polymers. He was recognized in 2006 for his lifetime achievements at the NATAS Meeting, and his was selected by the J. Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry as member of the Honorary Board. (Scite, n.d)

Introduction

 The author’s main purpose of the article is to discuss the identification of nanophases, microphases, and macrophases. In an effort to identify the different sizes, the author makes clear that knowing the structure and properties are essential in their molecular dynamics simulations, molecular motion evaluations, calorimetry, and structural determination. His intended audience is made clear in his introduction, as he writes specifically to chemists, material engineers, and physicist that work closely with nanophases. In reading this, it is clear his intended audience is targeted at those that have a clear understanding of nano particles and thermodynamics.  The perceived thesis of the journal is the readability of this actually quite difficult. There is no clear purpose or thesis stated in his introduction. Instead, the author provides historical background on the information about nanotechnology, and the first mentions in the chemistry field. A lot of high-level vocabulary, and technical vocabulary that makes the article intentional for only their targeted audience also complicated the writing of the article, while informative. The article also uses a lack of scientific methodology in the normative form. Instead, it relies on taking a more informational route in which the author chooses to break the research paper into five topics that correlate to the main factor of understanding nanophases, the differences in structure, and the differences in sizes. The writing and presentation of the research of the author, hinders the understanding from an unknowledgeable reader that will not be able to comprehend all the advanced vocabulary used. For the average engineer student, it would take much comprehension and reading more than once to gain a viable understanding of the explanations used in defining the particles and particle structures. The author’s main thesis is not clear, which also provides hindrance to some readers, if they do not read the research to the end in which the author finally reveals the purposes of the paper in the conclusion. The author did not choose to take the classical approach; instead, the research is organized in paragraph form with the help of visual elements in the form of descriptive research in an general overview of the topic. While the high caliber vocabulary might hinder some readers, it is also the type of scientific methodology that differs from much research. The method used is descriptive, in which the author provides informative information surrounding the topics of the paper. The descriptive method does provide support to providing the reason with information that surrounds nanotechnology and thermodynamics.

Readability

The article utilizes several of the characteristics of technical writing that includes addressing their target audience, reflecting the organizations’ goals and cultures, helps reader solve problems, and consists of words, graphics, or both.  In looking at Markel’s “Characteristics of Technical Communications”, we can see that the author utilizes the first characteristic in which the author addresses the particular readers. In his abstract he states, “The materials engineer, chemist, or physicist, however, when dealing with applications of nanophases is often unaware of the effect of the small size on structure and properties.” (Wunderlich, 2008)  Even in the vocabulary and the language use, the author does not spend much time explaining, as he infers that the readers are highly educated and familiar with the terms used. The author also chooses to reflect the organization’s goals and cultures by adhering to his focus on informing his readers on the types of particles. Documented in his summary of the points that he was trying to convey, “Point 1 was derived in Section 2 after the short history given in

Section 1. In Sections 3 and 4 it was shown that nanophases are of importance for the description of a wide variety, if not all, of the chemical compounds.” (Wunderlich, 2008)  The third characteristic that the paper follows includes helping the reader solve problems. In his introduction he points out that many of the target audience is not aware of the differences, as well as how the structure and molecules change into different nanophases. The last characteristic that the paper follows is that he uses words and graphics in order to help his readers understand. He provides many diagrams, including those that explain the phases and thermodynamics, the classification scheme for molecules, and numerous others that help in explaining the topics of the paper.

In looking further at Markel’s Measures of Excellence in Technical Writing, the author also satisfies four measures including honesty, accuracy, comprehensiveness, and correctness. In looking at honesty, the author provides valid information supported by historical data and research in order to explain many of the complex terms and vocabulary used. The author supports his work with numerous references, and in-text citations that back up his findings. The author also used accuracy in which every diagram number, as well as lack of errors helps in providing a fluid paper. The accuracy in which the diagrams are numbered, and the paragraphs are formed helps in providing clear writing to the reader. Correctness is also a good measure as the paper is free from punctuation mistakes, and grammatical errors in which helps provide validity in what the author is sharing. Comprehensiveness is another measure in which is good from providing a clear description of the process in which he wanted to explain his purposes, as well as provide a thorough and clear background on the problem, and conclusion.

Scientific Validity

The author does not use a traditional scientific approach in forming a hypothesis followed by a series of steps in testing the hypothesis, and creating results. Instead, the author uses a descriptive research approach in which provides the readers with informative information used in solving a perceived problem in the nanotechnology field. The author did not have a hypothesis, however, he did provide several visual aids and graphs that would help the reader understand much of his descriptions and illustrations he wanted to convey to the audience.

Conclusion

This article while using several complex vocabulary has helped with the understanding of thermodynamics and nanophases. In providing diagrams, as well as descriptive information, it has helped to break down the different particle structures in macromolecules and nanophases. Looking at both the models from Markel, it has helped satisfy the understanding of constructing a well-written technical document that shows scientific validity, and an honest and accurate approach. The recommendations however is that when reading this type of article to be well verse in the vocabulary that can be confusing to the average engineer student that is not well read in the thermodynamic field. It is the recommendation for writers to have a footnote that explains many of the terms, in order to help readers outside the target audience to understand. Other recommendations also surround the factors of helping with setting the purpose of the main thesis of the paper to be included in the introduction. This will help readers  be aware of what the purpose of the paper, instead of waiting until the conclusion to get a clear outline.

References

Markel, Mike. (2012). Technical Communications.  10th Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s. Boston.

Short Biographical Sketch of Bernhard Wunderlich. (n.d). Scite. Retrieved from http://www.scite.eu/documents/Short_CV_Bernhard.pdf

Wunderlich, Bernhard. (2008). Thermodynamics and Properties of Nanophases. Thermochimica Acta 492. (2009). 2-15. Print.

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