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Original Work Proposal

        A major specialization within the chemical engineering field is material synthesis which is the use of materials based on their chemical properties in production in order to make a cohesive final product. My two passions include chemical engineering and horses, so I was looking for a way to help the horse community while focusing on the science and engineering part of materials. A recurring problem in the equestrian world revolves around the use of saddle pads, which go underneath the saddle in order to keep the backs of the horse protected. In the summer these saddle pads get covered in sweat and can begin to grow bacteria which can be harmful to the horse’s skin. The purpose of my project is to find a kind of material and structure for the saddle pad that will wick the sweat away from the horse’s back and prevent the growth of bacteria.

        The first step in this somewhat complicated endeavor requires extensive research regarding a variety of subjects. This includes researching the kind of bacteria that is commonly found in the sweat of horses and how that can create health problems for the horse. Much of the research I plan to conduct will stem from articles in veterinary journals and experiments which can give a broader view of the multiple kinds of issues that can arise from the accumulation of sweat. Then I will begin to try and establish a clear connection between the most common types of sweat and how that influences bacterial growth. 

        The next piece of research will revolve around materials that are commonly used in saddle pads and their effectiveness. This will include a study of currently used fabrics but also include other materials that have not been explored in depth. Once again this portion of the project will involve serious research including articles and experiments relating to materials used to fight the accumulation of sweat and bacteria. The chemical engineering part of the project will begin to come into focus in this portion, as the certain chemical properties of each material will be thoroughly researched and considered for their possible usefulness to the final product. 

        As the research and product development progresses, I will begin to develop a design for the saddle pad that will include how certain materials and differing structures will be used to create the ideal sweat wicking, bacterial prevention saddle pad. There will likely be many combinations of fabrics that will come into focus at this point, but the main goal will be to find the most effective of these options. Once the primary fabrics and structures of the saddle pad have been determined, I will begin to develop a digital model of the saddle pad, which will give dimensions, materials used, processes needed for development, and even the minor specifications of this design. At this point, I will have accumulated significant research on the subject and have created a digital design and prototype with additional information about the specificities of the product. From here I will work to make some kind of physical prototype that will allow for better understanding of what exactly was achieved and how it was achieved. 

        The majority of the knowledge gained through this project will revolve around the research, design, and implementation of a product that specifically focuses on the ways in which everyday products involve chemical reasoning and problem solving. I will have the opportunity to work with materials and conduct extensive research on these materials in order to gain a better understanding of what chemical properties allow for certain functions, this case being the prevention of accumulation of sweat and the growth of harmful bacteria. This project will allow me to explore the design and developmental process of chemical engineering, which will not only give me a better understanding of the field, but also give me the opportunity to improve the widespread health and well being of horses.

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