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Expanding Applicability of Senior Projects: Portable EGCC for Greenhouses

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Biological & Agricultural Division Technical Session

Tagged Division

Biological & Agricultural

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.710.1 - 26.710.10



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Paper Authors


Jorge Rodriguez P.E. Western Michigan University

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Faculty member in the Department of Engineering Design, Manufacturing, and Management Systems (EDMMS) at Western Michigan University.

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Alamgir A. Choudhury Western Michigan University

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Alamgir A. Choudhury is an Associate Professor of Engineering Design, Manufacturing and Management Systems at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan. His MS and PhD are in mechanical engineering from NMSU (Las Cruces) and BS in mechanical engineering from BUET (Dhaka). His interest includes computer applications in curriculum, MCAE, mechanics, fluid power, and instrumentation & control. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Ohio and affiliated with ASME, ASEE, SME and TAP.

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Portable Cloning Chamber for Greenhouses - Expanding Reach of Capstone Senior ProjectsSenior projects or capstone projects are typically done under the sponsorship of an industrialentity or a technical business/agency, where in most cases are performing technical activitiesvery closely related to the specific engineering field of the participant students. A wonderfulopportunity for the students to realize the reach of their technical education is to participate insenior design projects where the connection to the field of study might not be that clear. Thispaper will present such situation, for the case of a portable cloning chamber.A portable cloning chamber is basically a clean room, it is a small enclosure that remains sterileduring its use while doing plant cloning in a greenhouse business. The chamber remains sterilethrough the use of laminar flow hoods and HEPA filters, which keep clean air moving throughthe chamber. Additional element to maintain the level of sterility is ultraviolet lights that killremaining bacteria allowing for a completely sterile environment. This enclosure is use ingreenhouses for tissue culture and cloning of plant life.The objective of this senior project was the design, building and testing of a cloning chamberthat has the versatility of being capable of serve in various stages of tissue culture. The chamberneeds to fulfill specified conditions in terms of flow rate, temperature, humidity, cleanness, andlighting. As additional requirements, it needs to be portable (in order to be used at differentrooms in a greenhouse), low cost (most of the users are expected to be small businesses), andself-contain (no need for additional elements besides utilities). This paper will report on the steps taken for the successful completion of this project, from thedesign to the testing phases. A standard engineering design process flowchart was followed, withparticular emphasis on Define the Problem, Develop Specifications, and Brainstorming. Theemphasis to this steps was in part due to the importance of doing background search in order tobecome well versed on the use and application of cloning chambers in greenhouses.The project was a new, and great experience for all the parties involved (i.e., students working inthe project, small business, students in the classroom, and faculty). It clearly showed the wideapplicability of the engineering education that they have received, and opened their eyes to aspectrum of possibilities.

Rodriguez, J., & Choudhury, A. A. (2015, June), Expanding Applicability of Senior Projects: Portable EGCC for Greenhouses Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24047

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