1. For your topic, choose a subject that involves fuel cells. Fuel cells have very important applications in energy generation and conservation, electric vehicles, environmental remediation, etc. However, much more research in areas such as membranes and energy storage is needed in order to improve their performance. In your paper, you may address any aspects of the chemistry of fuel cells.
2. The paper should emphasize technical issues and quantitative information. It should be clear and concise. The paper should be about chemistry, i.e., about chemical species, chemical compositions, chemical properties, and chemical reactions. (For instance, a paper about the chemical processes that are used to produce membranes for automotive fuel is ok; a paper about the economics of the fuel cell industry is not.)
3. The length of the paper should not exceed four pages, typed in double space format. The four-page limit does not include references, tables, and figures. You are thus encouraged to present as much information as possible in tables or figures. Every table and figure which you include should be used in support of one or more statements in the text, and should be cited accordingly (e.g., see Figure 3). Try to make the discussion as scientific and technical as possible. Present chemical formulae and equations and numerical data. Summarize your conclusions in a short section (up to 0.5 page) followed by a list of references. (No particular system of listing references is specified.) The paper should reflect current knowledge. The use of articles in scientific journals of good technical quality, of technical reviews, and of technical encyclopedias is encouraged. You may use website sources, but these should be carefully evaluated, because while some of these (usually .gov and .edu sites) are reliable, other sites are full of baseless and erroneous statements.
4. The grades for the initial paper and for the final version will each account for 7.5% of the overall course grade. Please attach the annotated initial paper when you submit the final submission. Papers should be typed and submitted as hard copy (not by e-mail).
Improved Writing of Term Papers – Hints
* A good paper tells an interesting story in a clear, easy-to-read fashion. If any of the material that you cite is not clear to you, do not use it. The reader will see immediately that you have a problem.
* Organize your paper in paragraphs and, in each paragraph, focus on a single issue. Make sure that whenever you change your topic the change is clearly indicated in the first sentence of the new paragraph. (You may also use headings.) Throughout the rest of the paragraph, focus on the same topic. Trying to focus on more than one point in the same paragraph causes the presentation to become disjointed and confusing.
* Use your material critically. If two sources present statements which are apparently contradictory, try to resolve the contradiction or at least point out the difference in opinion.
Do not quote the two sources without explanation.
* Avoid general, sweeping, and unfounded statements. State your conclusions based on the findings that you cited in the main body of the paper.
* Make sure that all your statements are traceable to specific sources. Statements such as “scientists think that…” are vague and should not be used.
* Avoid subjective language such as “I feel…”, “I believe that…”, etc.
* Write short, clear sentences. Do not attempt to address several different ideas in the same sentence.
* Do not use unexplained terms. For instance, if you use the acronym UHMWPE for the first time explain that you are referring to ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene.