Introduction: Growth Beyond Earth Entry: Dodecahedron Aeroponics System (high School)
High School Student's Entry
A Dodecahedron is the one of the Platonic Solids meaning it formed from multiple of the same regular polygon, in this case a Pentagon. (For more info go here) In addition to just being really cool, a system based on a platonic solid allows for modular identical units. This modularity has several benefits including the ability to have different configurations, simplified maintenance, and a more streamlined manufacturing process for 3D printing.
Aeroponics, Like Hydroponics is a system for soilless plant growth. As opposed to submerging the roots in water in Hydroponics, Aeroponics sprays them with a nutrient water mixture.
As this design is intended for a contest with future potential use aboard the ISS it was designed to be made out of materials and parts already aboard the ISS due to high costs of transport. Additionally I tried to make my design mostly from 3D printed parts as I have limited resources for prototyping.
Readings I used:
-Due to my inexperience with CAD and fluid dynamics the design for the misting nozzles was taken under a CC attribution license from cleaton1 on thingiverse, published on April 10, 2017.
-The design files for the screws were taken from McMaster Carrs website and belong to the public domain.
-Existing UV light aboard the ISS or other High wattage UV light.
-A water pump
-any basic Micro controller with a timing circuit.
-Power Source and water outlet/connection
-Aeroponics nutrient additive (AgriHouse’s Beyond was used in previous experiments)
Step 1: Center Support System and Logistics
In addition to giving the system a skeleton, the support systems hold the Dodecahedrons above the collection pool at the bottom and provide plumbing to deliver water nutrient mixture to the nozzles. The modules are secured on the pipes with a M11 machine screw, capable of being printed on the ISS's onboard 3d printer.
logistics for plant life
The top of the Dodecahedrons have a circumscribed computer fan the ensures mist flows in the right direction in zero g and provide needed airflow. These are controlled by a micro controller that also controls a small pump at the base of the support system the recollects mixture from the collection pool.
Step 2: Modules
The heart of this design in a pentagon shaped module with a hole for a aeroponic pouch with lettuce to be placed in. Each of these modules can be connected to a mother central pentagon shaped "fan" that connects to the aeroponics pipes, forming a titular Dodecahedron.
Participated in the
Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest