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Critical Reasoning: Dialog Format

Engineer: I've noticed that the builders are mixing 10% more than the regular amount of chemical hardener into the A504 building material that they are using. This will lead to problems at a later stage in the project.

Project manager: The extra hardener causes the material to stabilize in a shorter amount of time. This method will allow us to reach the painting stage sooner, and thereby complete the project well before the deadline.

Which of the following, if true, most supports the engineer's claim?

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the engineer's claim. Data about the hardened form of the material could be useful to us in our task. However, the fact that it is not poisonous is irrelevant since it doesn't effect the engineer's remark about the project.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the engineer's claim. Information about the characteristics of the material could help us in our task, but this statement deals specifically with the way the material is used. Since the engineer's conclusion relates to the project on a wider scale, these specific details do not affect it.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the engineer's claim. The figure of 10% used in the question represents the addition to the amount of hardener that is normally used from the regular amount. In this answer choice, however, the figure of 10% represents the portion of a final mixture that should be made up of hardener. Since these two percentages are calculated in completely different ways, they can't be compared. Therefore, we cannot know if this statement is for, or against, the engineer's position.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

If anything, this answer choice strengthens the project manager's claim, thereby weakening that of the engineer. By stating that deadlines are critical, and that the last payment depends on finishing the building, we are led to believe that time is the most important factor, and that other considerations (like that of the engineer) are unimportant.

Fabulous work!

[[snippet]]

This answer choice strengthens the engineer's claim. If the resultant material is weakened by using a larger amount of hardener, then the engineer is right that it may lead to problems at a later stage in the project.

Because a hardened form of A504 does not release toxic gases, it cannot be inhaled and is, therefore, not harmful.
When a hardener is mixed into a building material, the mixed substance immediately begins to react, leaving a builder only a few minutes to work, before it loses all elasticity.
When preparing A504, the chemical hardener should make up no more than 10% of the final mixture.
The chemical reaction caused by A504's contact with an excess amount of hardener is quicker, releasing higher levels of heat energy, and resulting in a much weaker final structure.
Construction companies are given the last payment for a project on delivery of the completed building, and are heavily penalized for not meeting deadlines.