P20762: Agriculture Through Aquaponics

Systems Design

Table of Contents

Team 3 week plans:

Progress reports:

Peer evaluations from this phase.

Team Vision for System-Level Design Phase



Functional Decomposition


Define the total list of functions and subfunctions, based on the Customer and Engineering Requirements, that must be delivered by the final design. This will establish the need for specific concepts necessary to deliver the overall objectives of the project

Functional Tree

Transformation Diagram


The engineering requirements used to generate the functional tree and transformation diagram are shown below for reference:



Avoid redundant work by identifying already available solutions and concept options

Benchmark Table

The working document for benchmarking can be found here.

Webster-Schroeder Greenhouse and Home System

Team TJMACK visited Webster-Schroeder High School to tour its aquaponics greenhouse. The notes from the interview with facility manager, Mark Balfour, can be found here. Crucial knowledge about larger-scale aquaponics systems was gained from this tour, as well as general knowledge on maintenance techniques, filtration techniques, and overall architectural design. Additionally, the greenhouse contained an independent, smaller-scale system targeted for home use. This was used as one of the systems in the benchmark table above.

House of Quality

Below is the updated house of quality:

The working document for the house of quality can be found here.

Feasibility: Prototyping, Analysis, Simulation

Fish and Crop Requirements

Environmental - Optimal growing water temperatures for Tilapia range between 72°F and 84°F. Average room temperature water ranges between 72°F and 74°F. Average temperature in Colombia ranges between 68°F and 81°F. Nitrate levels should be between 10ppm and 40ppm. Optimal pH should be between 6.5 - 6.8 (6 - 7 is okay). Nutritional - Since the fish will be manually fed with our system, it was recommended to feed the fish three times a day (Optimal is 4 to 5 times). Each time, feeding the fish until they stop eating. Younger fish should consume food equivalent to 7% of their body weight a day, while mature fish consume around 1%. Utilized the average of these two numbers for food per day calculations below:

System and Environmental Requirements

Using a 39in x 58in x 24in water tank, assuming average conditions of 1.6764m/s wind speed above the tank, 55 degrees Fahrenheit air temperature, and relative humidity of 60%, the rate of evaporation is estimated to be 143.31lb/week. This is converted to gallons/day of 2.5. It is recommended that a farmer refill the system with 5 gallons every 2 days to ensure adequate replenishment. Between feeding, water replenishment, and occasional maintenance, overall required interaction should average out at 15 minutes per day.

Cost Requirements - Preliminary BOM

Cycling Requirements

Updated Primary Use Case

Industry Standards

The working document for feasibility analysis, which contains all of the information in this section, can be found here.

Additionally, the spreadsheet containing feasibility analysis calculations can be found here.

Morphological Chart


  1. Develop multiple concept options to deliver the required list of functions.
  2. Ensure that concepts (means) are available to deliver every required function.
  3. Select the optimal set of concepts that can be integrated to meet the project objectives.

Morphological Chart

The morphological chart document can be found here. It is further analyzed in the Pugh charts located in the following section.

Concept Selection

Using the morphological chart from the previous section, several alternative systems were generated.

Alternatives Generated

Pugh Chart

Each alternative was analyzed in the Pugh chart below:

Filtered Alternatives

From the Pugh chart, the lesser ideal alternatives were filtered out:

Filtered Pugh Chart

Lastly, the filtered alternatives were analyzed once again in another Pugh chart:

The working document containing all of these diagrams can be found here.

Systems Architecture


  1. Ensure flow of energy, info, material and structural forces as intended.
  2. Define subsystem functions, envelopes and interfaces.

Hybrid 1

In the event that hybrid 2 fails, hybrid 1 will be used as a backup plan:

Hybrid 2

The more ambitious of the two hybrids:

Designs and Flowcharts


Define a high-level view of the elements required to build and operate the entire system

Alternative #3

Alternative #4

Alternative #8

Risk Assessment

Risk assessment has been updated since the Problem Definition Phase.

The updated working document for risk management can be found here here

Design Review Materials

Plans for next phase

System Design Final Completed Schedule

All deadlines and milestones were satisfied during the Systems Design Phase. Close adherence to the provided scheduled allowed for transparency of expectations and understanding of predecessor/successor relationships for each group member's objectives to ensure all goals were accomplished in the Systems Design Phase.

Preliminary Detailed Design Schedule

The expected schedule for the detailed design phase is listed in the corresponding project file. Our expectations for the following phase is to focus on further development of our systems design proposal, with specific attention being made to our high-risk components, the rope pump and water wheel. We plan on expanding upon our feasibility studies for both our high-risk components as well as further development of our architecture and development of the support system for the filter and PVC piping. We also expect to further our prototyping of nitrate cycling by beginning to use live goldfish in our tests and monitor their vitality. By the end of this phase, we plan to have completed feasibility studies of our rope pump and water wheel system and have begun implementing it on our actual system by applying the knowledge we gain through this phase on further developing our systems architecture.

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