Annex A - Group Engineering Proposal

Names: Albern Ong Seng Long, Anapana Dinesh Kumar
Class: S2-05
Group Reference:  G

1.    Indicate the type of research that you are adopting:

Improve a product or process: Industrial and applied research
Development of a Greenhouse from household materials.

2.    Write a research proposal of your interested topic in the following format:

Title: Development of a greenhouse with household materials to grow plants in a controlled temperature

A.    Problem being addressed

Greenhouses are very expensive due to the electricity and the materials used to build them, thus the vegetables grown in greenhouses are expensive so that they do not make a loss in business. Hence, we decided that people could always grow their own vegetables with a homemade greenhouse which is cost efficient and is made of easy to find materials, which consist of a home made AC unit, tanks, PVC pipes, steel pipes and plywood.

B.    Engineering Goal

Our engineering goal is to make an automated greenhouse, where the plant can be watered everyday with a controlled amount of water using Arduino. The air surrounding the plant will be cooler than normal room temperature by using the water flowing through between the tanks so that it cools down the air in the smaller tank. We will be using a makeshift Air Conditioning unit to cool the water by blowing a metal pipe where the water will flow through with cold air that will cool the water down. The cold water will be pumped through the tanks and then the air in the smaller tank will lose thermal energy to the water something like a nuclear reactor.

Specify Requirements
- AC Unit that can reach the lowest temperature of 3º C which is made of a styrofoam box, fan and dry ice. The temperature of water can be changed by moving the AC unit closer or further from the metal pipe.
- 300 X 200 X 400mm tank for plant
- 400 X 300 X 500mm tank for water to run through
- A ply wood stand made from 2 X 300mm and 2 X 200mm plywood to hold the tank
- capacity of 36 000 Cubic cm of water
- a metal pipe to aid in the process of cooling the water.
- PVC pipes to allow water to be pumped through the space between the tanks.

Alternative Solutions
Design 1
new doc 1_1.jpg

Design 1 consists of two tanks, plants, soil, a rainwater collector, a shower head and an air conditioning unit. First the rain water collector will be filled. The opening will then let the water pass through. Then, the air conditioning unit will be activated to let the cold air pass through the large tank where there is water. The water will then lose heat to the cold air thus becoming cooler. After that the plants will be watered through the shower head.

Design 2
new doc 2_1.jpg
Although design 1 is almost the same as design 2, design 2 contains no rain water collector. On the other side of the fish tank will be open and thus, rainwater will be collected into the large fish tank. The air-conditioning unit will produce cold air which the water will lose heat to thus, becoming cooler. Then there will be a opening that opens so that the cool water can pass through and the plants can be watered by the shower head.

Design 3
new doc 3_1.jpg

Design 3 contains plastic tanks, PVC and metal pipes, plant, soil, a pipe for ventilation, a funnel, a showerhead and an air-conditioning unit. The metal and PVC pipes will be soldered together. The water funnel will be filled with water when starting the experiment. Then it will be transported into the fish tank through an opening and the plants will be watered by the showerhead. The air-conditioning unit will then be activated and it will be blowing air at the metal pipe that will cool the metal since it is a good conductor of heat and good conductors of heat lose and gain heat easily. Then, the water inside the pipe will be cooled at a faster rate because the water will lose heat to the metal pipe which is a good conductor of heat. The metal pipe will then lose heat to the cold air from the AC unit. The water will be flowing through the space between the tanks to keep a constant cool temperature. Air will be provided to the plants through the ventilation hole.

Best solution and reason

Design 3 because it has the best way of all designs to keep a constant temperature efficiently and it has the most convenient way to water the plant. It is a simpler design as all the components are located on the bottom of the setup, thus all modifications can be made easily as all the components can be found under the setup. This setup would require less drilling of holes into the tanks so that the tanks are stable to hold the load of water that would be pumped into it.
These points make it the simplest and least time consuming design.

C.    Description in detail of method or procedures (The following are important and key items that should be included when formulating ANY AND ALL research plans.)

Equipment list:

Tanks X2
300 X 200 X 400mm
400 X 300 X 500mm
Plywood X4
300mm X2 ,  200mm X2

PVC pipes
3 metres

Steel pipe
30 cm

Small can

Dry Ice


Mini Fan

Styrofoam box
200 X 200 mm


Procedures: Detail all procedures and experimental design to be used for data collection

Building Procedure
We will flip the small plastic tank and stick it to the lid of the big plastic tank.

Then we will drill respective holes. 2 for the bigger tank and 2 for the smaller one.

We will fit PVC pipes into each hole. The exception is that on pipes on the bigger plastic tank, we will be adding a metal pipe to the bottom of the set up which connects to the PVC pipes that connects to the big plastic container.

We will drill 2 holes in a styrofoam box to make the AC unit. A fan and a piece of 90º PVC pipe fitting will be added to make the AC unit. It will only require electricity for the fan, which will blow against the dry ice. The cold air will then exit the AC unit through the pipe fitting.

Water will be pumped through the big plastic tank so that it surrounds the smaller tank without entering it.

• Risk and Safety: Identify any potential risks and safety precautions to be taken.
Splinters and broken glass pose a threat to our eyes, hands and body because we may cut ourselves and they may fly when we cut wood and glass. We are also handling fragile items and injuries are bound to happen. We should prevent our hands from being in contact with the soldering machine as we might solder ourselves.

We have to wear protective goggles, gloves, lab coats and keep a first aid kit near by in case of injuries.

Data Analysis: Describe the procedures you will use to analyze the data/results that answer research questions or hypotheses

The green bean plant in the greenhouse would most probably grow faster as plants grow faster in a cold environment. In a cold environment, a plant would think that winter is coming, and thus has to disperse their seeds as fast as possible, and we will be making the environment cold by using our homemade AC unit, which will blow the steel pipe to make the water cold and then the air in the smaller tank will lose its heat to the water. Thus, they would grow much faster than normal. To prove this, we will be setting up a control plant growing in a flower pot under the sun.

D. Bibliography: List at least five (5) major references (e.g. science journal articles, books, internet sites) from your literature review.

Beans. (n.d.). : Planting, Growing and Harvesting Bean Plants. Retrieved July 10, 2014, from

Greenhouses Online :: Greenhouse Info. (n.d.). Greenhouses Online :: Greenhouse Info. Retrieved July 8, 2014, from

HowStuffWorks "Uses for Greenhouses". (n.d.). HowStuffWorks. Retrieved July 8, 2014, from

The Greenhouse Effect - Articles - Departures. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2014, from

Watering Houseplants. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2014, from

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