Sunday, 14 July 2013

Research Plan

 ~ Question or Problem being addressed
Construction and design of a vertical garden with an automated watering and lighting system.

~ Goals / Expected Outcomes / Hypotheses
2. Watering system (automated with Arduino)
3. Lighting System (automated with Arduino)
• Risk and Safety:
1. List/identify the hazardous chemicals, activities, or devices that will be used.
~ Bibliography: 
Smithy Industries. (2013, July 16). Safety precautions on drilling machines. Retrieved from 
Self Nutrition Data. (2010, July 8). Spinach, raw. Retrieved from 
Science Buddies. (2005, February 16). Measuring plant growth. Retrieved from
The vertical garden can sustain itself with automation of lighting and watering system. The plants within the housing are able to grow similarly to those cultivated in soil.

• Methods:

1. Constructing the bottles (plant holder) (4 columns of 4 bottles)

- Drill a hole at the base of the bottle, wide enough to fit another bottle’s rim
- Cut a rectangular hole at one side (for plant to branch out from)
- Drill a large hole into the bottle caps; Make sure there is still some border left
- Along the perimeter of the bottle cap, glue wire gauze onto the hole, covering it (Prevents soil from escaping)
- Connect the bottles together by fitting one bottle’s rim into another bottle’s base. Glue them together while making sure they are straight. Let the glue settle before proceeding. 
- Screw the bottle caps onto the rims protruding through the base. Apply a little glue to make sure they are firm.
- Add soil into the bottles. Make sure the bottles are facing downwards. Do not fill too much soil, in case it overflows. 
- Make sure that water is able to flow through all the bottles adequately.

- Connect pumps, automated valve and water detection sensor into a system
- Rain collection tank above the structure and covered by a layer wire mesh to prevent foreign objects from polluting the water. It will also be connected to pipe when refill is required.

- Pole-like structure with light detector to alternate between sunlight and the artificial light
- Electricity from mains or solar panel

We require drills, bench drilling machine, files, pen knifes. We utilise them to cut plastic bottles that house the plants. The bases of the bottles are extremely hard and require a lot of effort to make a hole wide enough to fit  another’s rim. We also use glue guns and they are extremely hot at certain parts when in operation.

2. Identify and assess the risks involved.
One can cut his/her fingers when using the drills, files, pen knifes and bench drilling machine. The bench drilling machine operates at high speeds, hence sharp plastic fragments may be thrown around. oThe heat from the glue gun may burn and scald our fingers.

3. Describe the safety precautions and procedures that will be used to reduce the risks.
We have to place our fingers at a safe distance away from the blades and drills, and take extra precaution when using the hot glue gun. If the glue gun is not in use, we would turn it off to prevent it from overheating. Since the bench drilling machine operates at a high speed, we have to remove any accessories (e.g watches, gloves, tie) and wear safety goggles and mask. If the drill is filled with chips, use a brush to clean it. Do not use your hands.

4. Describe the disposal procedures that will be used (when applicable).
We will dispose of any fragments of plastic that has been cut properly into the dustbins provided. We would also use cutting mats and corrugated plastic to prevent any damage to other surfaces (table tops).

5. List the source(s) of safety information.
- Notices and instructions in the ADMT studio for using the bench drilling machine.
- Instructions given by teachers in regards to safety

• Data Analysis: 

We would plant seedlings, preferably spinach into the structure. With the automated lighting and watering systems, the setup would be left alone for about 2 weeks with supervision. We would at the same time also have a constant, where the same type of soil is placed into a separate pot with spinach seedlings. They are to receive approximately similar amounts of light and water. After 2 weeks, we would measure the height of the plants in both setups by placing a ruler against the tallest stalk on the surface of the soil. We would do this everyday for possibly 4-5 days to be able to plot a graph. Graphs would then be plotted for each day's growth. We would then proceed to analyse the graphs and derive a conclusion.

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