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Addressing Global Food Security through First-Year Engineering Service Learning Projects

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Conference

2020 First-Year Engineering Experience

Location

East Lansing, Michigan

Publication Date

July 26, 2020

Start Date

July 26, 2020

End Date

July 28, 2020

Page Count

8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/35753

Download Count

40

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Paper Authors

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Alexa L. E. Littman

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Adam Joseph Malecki Gannon University

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Elisabeth Patricia McAllister

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Masen Andrew Collins

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Robert Michael P.E. Gannon University

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Robert J. Michael, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor in the Mechanical Department at Gannon University, obtained his B.S.M.E. degree from Akron University where he graduated summa cum laude, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Case Western Reserve University. He joined the faculty at Gannon University in the Fall of 2013 as an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering department. Prior to his employment at Gannon, Dr. Michael spent several years in industry where he worked as an industrial product designer and aerospace product designer for LORD Corporation and as general manager for National Tool and Equipment.
• Courses taught include finite element analysis, material science, statics, strength of materials, materials lab, machine design, product design, production design, plastic design and FE analysis, manufacturing and engineering graphics.
• Research interests include design and optimization of elastomer components, elastomeric fatigue properties, hyperelastic modeling of elastomers, failure analysis of elastomeric components, seismic analysis of storage racks, experimental testing and characterization of materials and general machine design.
• Engineering Consultant provide consulting services to local industry. Services include: elastomeric product design and analysis, machine design, finite element analysis, solid modeling, vibration analysis and diagnostic testing.
Dr. Michael holds several patents and has several patents pending primarily in the area of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) type isolation products. He has published extensively in this area as well. He is a licensed professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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David Gee Gannon University

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FYS Coordinator, College of Engineering
Faculty Advisor, ASME Student Chapter

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Abstract

First-year engineering students recently had an opportunity to participate in a service learning project with potential for global reach. In response to a United Nations Development Programme Sustainable Development Goal for zero hunger, first-year engineering students were tasked with designing and building a solar-powered food dehydrator that could be built on location with minimal resources other than the primary building materials and some basic tools. The project was targeted for implementation in regions of emerging development including areas with chronic widespread hunger and, simultaneously, lacking in material resources and infrastructure - including access to electrical power. In these regions, farming is the single largest source of income and jobs. Hence, in practice, food dehydration makes it possible to extend the period for which freshly grown food can be safely prepared and stored for later consumption when food sources are more scarce. Starting from a previous design, several new design features were implemented. Most significantly, for a similar interior volume the redesigned dehydrator used walls that were 1/2 the thickness –as compared to the previous design– to enclose the interior space. Thus, along with using less material the overall weight was reduced by nearly 29%. In the previous design, testing on a sunny 91 °F summer afternoon revealed that the internal air temperature Tint was approximately 6-7 °F below the minimum recommended temperature for dehydration of fruits and vegetables (i.e., 120 °F ≤ Tint ≤ 140 °F for fruits and vegetables). Under similar test conditions, the internal air temperature for the new design exceeded the minimum recommended temperature; i.e., Tint = 122 °F for the redesigned dehydrator on a sunny 91 °F day. Since the intent of the project was to introduce the dehydrator into regions of sub-Saharan Africa where average temperatures in the hottest months can exceed 103 °F, efficient designs can therefore extend periods of the day –and of the season– during which the dehydrator can be used to safely process food.

Littman, A. L. E., & Malecki, A. J., & McAllister, E. P., & Collins, M. A., & Michael, R., & Gee, D. (2020, July), Addressing Global Food Security through First-Year Engineering Service Learning Projects Paper presented at 2020 First-Year Engineering Experience, East Lansing, Michigan. https://peer.asee.org/35753

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