In making my first samples, there were a few problems we ran into. We had previously determined that we needed to add aloe Vera gel in order to create a homogeneous mixture. Once we determined this, we needed to analyze the effect of its addition of the results of UV radiation and antimicrobial activity. The results showed that the higher the amount of aloe Vera gel, the more UV was able to penetrate the surface, which is not ideal. In order to reduce the effect of the aloe Vera gel, I experimented with adding lower concentrations. The concentration had to be high enough to still create a homogeneous mixture, but low enough to not effect the UV too extensively. It was found that for some samples, adding half of the amount of aloe still allowed the honey and oils to mix effectively, but for other samples, changing the amount of aloe did not allow for the separate layers to mix. We are still doing literature searches on the structure of the oils, honey, and aloe to further understand the interaction of the aloe with different oils and why lowering the concentration is allowed for some samples, but not others.
The surfaces we are creating are meant to have a longer shelf life and this aspect of our research had not been tested for this particular project. Dr. Rizzo and I devised a plan to test this. I made samples that were tested right away, but I kept part of these samples to be tested progressively throughout the semester. The UV radiation did not appear to change with the time the samples sat. However, we are still waiting for the antimicrobial results.