Vacuum Pump Growth Container

Introduction: Vacuum Pump Growth Container

Hello, for this competition, our team has designed a growth box that aims to produce more plants with the space given and provide a efficient watering system. Our design contains a second floor to take advantage of the extra space that would be left over from planting the first floor. The watering system would be made more efficient through a mini vacuum pump, which would counter the zero gravity/ micro gravity in space.

Supplies:

- 7 plexiglass panes /18 by 18 inches

- 2 Mini vacuum pump

- Coco peat

- 8 circular containers / 6 inches in diameter by 2 inches in height

- Clear plastic tubing ( length to preference)

- 4 T shape plastic tube connectors

- 2 IV bags (400ml 20cm long by 12 cm wide)

- Some sort of seal to attach Plexiglas panes together

- Small CPU fan

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Step 1: Building the Growth Chamber

Our team has decided to make the growth chamber out of Plexiglas as it has great durability and lightweight as a building material. We have used a total of 7 panes of We take 5 panes of Plexiglas and assemble it in box as seen in the second picture. The 6th pane( colored black in the first picture) will be inserted into the box to form 2 equal rectangular spaces for the plants. Grooves should be made around the opening of the Plexiglas box, in which the 7th pane( colored purple in the first picture) will act as a sliding door.

Step 2: Preparing Containers for Growing

The measurements that our team have decide for the were to given the plants as much room as possible to grow, as well as enough soil for the roots to take place. The containers will be in each corner of the box( shown in the second picture) with tubes leading from the vacuum pump. The containers will be filled with coco peat, which we are using as the growing medium. We chose coco peat as a growing medium for it lasts longer than soil. The tubes for the vacuum pump will be directly inserted and held down by the coco peat.

Step 3: Adding Water System

Our water system is powered by a vacuum pump to make things easier for the scientists who currently use syringes to inject the water into the plant pillows. The vacuum pump( colored green) and the IV bags of water( colored yellow) will be mounted to the back of the Plexiglas box. The tubing( colored white in the first picture) will start from the vacuum pump and then link to a T-shape tube connector at each of the major intersections( should be 4). Flexible plastic tubing should be used to allow the plants to grow without interference. As for the reason why we are using IV bags, it is inspired by the bags of water the astronauts and scientists used in the International Space Station. The IV bag will compress as water gets sucked out, making used of all the water available in the bag.

Step 4: Adding Lighting

For lighting, our team went for strips of LED lights. The LED lights are attached to the top of the box and the second layer. Small holes should be drilled on the sides( whichever you prefer) for the wiring of the lights and the fans that will be installed.

Step 5: Adding Temperature/ Humidity Control

The fans( black cubes attached to the right side) we installed are to remove any excess water vapor that is released through transpiration. The fans are also used to counter the heat produced by the LED lights. The decision to use small scale CPU fans was made to make sure the growth box is energy efficient.

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