Engineering Proccess

Stacy Chen P2

Driving Question

How does the engineering process impact our problem solving in today’s technologically advancing world, and everyday life?
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Catapult

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  • Define the Problem
Creating a catapult that launches a cotton ball at least one meter accurately and consistently.
  • Do Background Research
I searched the internet for lots of different catapult designs which looked manageable given time and resources available.
  • Specify Requirements
It had to fit under certain dimensions: 1m for height, length, and width. It has to be built in class so there's a time restriction. It also needs a trigger and release system to make sure that it's precise and accurate each launch.
  • Create Alternative Solutions
First we thought of the multipult- which looked fun to build, but was ultimately not suited to our needs.
  • Choose the Best Solution

Then we found a variant of the multipult design which only had one launch arm and decided that it was the best for what we need to do as it seemed simple to create and did not require too many materials.

  • Do Development Work
we had to determine its size, materials, and trigger. And settled for a popsicle stick based catapult with a box for the base and a simple trigger system using string.
  • Build a Prototype
We used the materials needed to build a prototype slowly over several class periods- tweaking the catapult as we went.
  • Test and Redesign
The catapult was tested several times to ensure that it met our goals.
Catapult Launch

Balloon Car

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  • Define the Problem
The problem is how to construct a balloon car that is able to move 3m away powered by a balloon.
  • Do Background Research
We had done internet research on construction of balloon cars with many different materials and gave us many options.
  • Specify Requirements
Requirements are also known as restrictions, for this balloon car, we must use wheels that aren't made to be wheels. This car must also be powered by a balloon to move and should move 3m away in a straight line.
  • Create Alternative Solutions
Alternative solutions stem from the different shapes and sizes that we could use for our car. One alternative solution was to use a triangle shape based car which only had 3 wheels.
  • Choose the Best Solution
Finally, for the sake of weight and air resistance, we decided on creating the a balloon car made with Popsicle sticks with bottle cap wheels and extremely minimal design.
  • Do Development Work
After determining the design we had to decide on how to create spinning wheels, reduce friction, how to attach the balloon on the car.
  • Build a Prototype
Building a prototype in this case is the construction of the car using hot glue and tape. In total, it took 2-3 class period.
  • Test and Redesign
The test was done below and the car reached the 3m line. Redesign in this case is done with an analysis on project as a whole and seeing what could be done to change it.
Balloon Car

Egg Drop

  • Define the Problem
The problem is creating a cushion for an egg to fall on without breaking out of paper.
  • Do Background Research

In this scenario, there was no background research done, everyone had to be creative.
  • Specify Requirements

Requirements are the material restrictions of 10 pieces of paper and one meter strip of tape. The goal was to create a cushion with the least amount of paper.
  • Create Alternative Solutions

First we had the idea of creating a spring based box.
  • Choose the Best Solution

Our best solution is to create bubbles of paper to let it bounce.
  • Do Development Work

Developmental work in our scenario is practice with rolling the paper and determining how large to make it.

  • Build a Prototype

The first prototype built was the only prototype we used.

  • Test and Redesign

The testing process went as such- the egg was dropped from increasingly taller heights and as soon as the egg breaks, that would be the height reached by our prototype.

Program Area Applications

Biotech

In biotech, we did a unit of designing our own experiment which was very similar using the engineering process because unlike the scientific method, there is a greater deal of changing procedures and using alternatives in order to have a proper experimental design.

  • Define the Problem
The problem is designing an experiment which will allow us to find the optimal pH of Pepsin.
  • Do Background Research

Some background research we did was filling out a table of enzyme reactions with its substrates, products, organ in which the reaction takes place, optimal pH, and optimal temperature. We also plotted it on a graph. We had also identified the dependent variable (pH) and independent variable (color).
  • Specify Requirements

Requirements for our experimental design was limited to the materials in the lab- limited supply of pepsin meaning we couldn't do many tests, and that we had to conduct the entire experiment in one day.
  • Create Alternative Solutions

Some alternative solutions included using different pH tests. We considered more extreme numbers, but settled on numbers closer to 7 since it works inside the human body which is usually around 7 pH.
  • Choose the Best Solution

Our best way to test Pepsin is to test its effectiveness in pH 2, 7, 9, and 11.
  • Do Development Work

Developmental work in our lab was to develop a way that tests how much reaction was occurring- we found that controlling the temperature and adding a biuret and albumin solution would stain the products created and a spectrophotometer yields quantitative data.

  • Build a Prototype

The first prototype of our experimental design had some of the steps placed before the correct time.

  • Test and Redesign
The testing process went as such- we actually performed the experiment that we designed and found that the experimental data supports that pH of Pepsin matched that of the research. If we were to redesign this experiment, we would add more pH tests so that we can accurately find optimal pH to the decimals.

How could it be applied to the future

If I were to become a bio-technician, I would use the engineering process to engineer a perfect experiment because the engineering process allows for lots of change and redesign which is exactly what experiment design needs.