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Open Polymer Active Learning Laboratory

Frequently asked questions


What is OPALL?
Open Polymer Active Learning Laboratory (OPALL) is an open access polymer and soft-material makerspace led by students for students. All Georgia Tech students, staff, and faculty may access our equipment during open hours under the supervision of OPALL staff. OPALL is not just a place to ‘make’ polymers; here you can learn to process, alter and measure properties of polymers. Read more about OPALL.
Where is OPALL?

OPALL is spread across several labs on campus. Many of the starting OPALL labs are located in the MRDC building, but some are also located in the Love and the Bunger Henry buildings. A current list of all labs and locations can be found here.

Why is OPALL?

OPALL aims to enrich polymer and soft material learning experience at Georgia Tech. We believe that hands-on, stress-free and curiosity-driven approach is the best way to learn in this field and we hope to facilitate that.

How is OPALL?

We are doing great, thanks for asking! It’s been a crazy year, hope you are doing well!

Is OPALL free?

OPALL is absolutely free to use for the entire GT community!
With some equipment, it is possible that you may have to bring your own supplies, or your advisor be asked to help with repairing of any damage done to the equipment during use, but those details will be listed for that particular equipment’s and communicated to you during training. Any other exceptions will also be communicated during training.

Engaging with OPALL

What can I do at OPALL?

You can measure some interesting properties of polymers like their chemical composition, how they look under the microscope and when they melt (if they melt at all). You can also learn processing – doing things like heating, cooling, melting, mixing etc. and studying the effects of these processes on the structure and property of your polymer. For example, you can melt a piece of plastic and let it cool back into a solid – you will see that doing that changed its strength! You can also learn some chemistry and synthesize polymers from monomers.
For graduate students and seasoned researchers, OPALL offers plenty of equipment to carry out your own research when you don’t have those equipment in your own group or when they are down for maintenance.
Above all, OPALL houses learners, masters and builders who are there to help you with your polymer queries. See OPALL’s structure and how to engage with us.
Also, check out our blog for things that we do!

What equipment do you have? What can I use? How can I use it?

Please check out our current list of equipment here.
For most equipment, you will require training. Check the details of the equipment you are interested in, about how to get trained and the next steps. Once you are trained and have demonstrated that you can safely use the equipment, you will gain access to the equipment. Depending on your expertise level, access may mean anything from 24×7 access to supervised access during OPALL’s working hours only. Please contact us with your questions anytime.

It sounds cool, but I don't know how to begin or use this for my projects and interests.

Please check out our current list of capabilities here. If you know what you might need for your project, feel free to contact one of the listed OPALL representatives. If you are unsure, feel free to contact anyone from our team or fill this form out.

Do I need some sort of a qualification to request training or use an equipment?

No. All members of the GT community can request training and use of our equipment.

How can I schedule training on instrument?

At this time, we are working on a more robust system for streamlining training and equipment use. Kindly bear with us!
On our capabilities page, see if a fellow is listed for the instrument you are interested in. Feel free to contact them directly. Or, just fill this form out and we will get back to you asap.  

Do I need to schedule a time to use instruments?

Most instruments are not very busy and thus have a first-come-first-serve policy. You are still free to reserve them, though, to ensure that they are available when you need them. We are working on a scheduling system, please contact us if you wish to reserve an instrument in the meantime.
Kindly note that you can only reserve and use most of our equipment once trained and are clear to do so. Our capabilities page lists the instrument training, scheduling and use policy for each equipment. Kindly note that our capabilities page is still a work in progress.

Where can I find instrument documentation?

On our capabilities page, you can find some YouTube, PDF and website links related to the equipment. Click on the particular capability to find more about it and for more documentation.

Danger and safety things

What is OPALL's COVID safety policy?

Please see it here.