P16486: Test Rig to Characterize Biochar Housing Materials

Subsystem Build & Test

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Subsystem Level Build & Test Phase

- The plan for this phase was to begin subsystem testing of all components to see if they function properly, and to see if they meet the project standards that fit the requirements for the construction of the environmental test chamber.

- Also, the primary phase of the plastic mould was completed. All that is left to do with the moulds is to achieve a final conclusion as to what the dimensions should be. Final mould should be completed in the coming week.

- The testing was divided into 2 subsystems: Mechanical Subsystems, Electrical Subsystems.

- All major electrical subsystems were completed courtesy of Jim and Lakeishia.

- The majority of mechanical subsystems were completed, including heat testing and humidity testing. There are still further tests needed to be done to wrap up final testing details.

- Initial work has started on the environmental test chamber. Further work will be conducted in the coming weeks.

Test Results Summary

The following subsystems were tested in the past 3 weeks to make sure functionality and characteristics meet engineering requirements:

- Heater
- Humidifier
- Fan
- Sensors & Micro-controller


1) The heater was powered up [36.4 W] with the temperature sensors hooked up to the hottest part of the heater to make sure that it responded as expected. The sensors accurately picked up values which was then plotted vs time (using a stopwatch).

Temperature versus Time

Temperature versus Time

As seen in the graph above, the heater reached steady state eventually at around 260°F.

2) The humidifier worked successfully, but due to power limitations it was not possible to humidify the entire test chamber.


3)The fans were powered up and successfully worked, although it could not be determined whether the fans were sufficient to exhaust or humidify the test chamber as we could not get the humidifier to work yet.

4) The Interface and MicroController will be sufficient as proved by the heater test. Testing the humidifier proved that we need the voltage multiplier to have enough power.

Electrical Components

Electrical Components

Electrical Components

Electrical Components

Please click here for an updated Test Plan

Example of Electrical Code

EE Code Snip

EE Code Snip

Please click here for more of the code

Risk and Problem Tracking

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Please Click here

Plans for next phase

Where do you want to be in 3 weeks?

We would like to be done with machining. An example of this would be the drawer.

The next step for the EE’s is to finish the circuit board.

By next week, final dimensions of the dome and cylinder should be done. Mixing is the next step. Contact with the other biochar team is also the next step.

Lakeishia's 3 Week Plan
Kim's 3 Week Plan
Dom's 3 Week Plan
Prasanna's 3 Week Plan

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