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2017 Fall Capstone Projects

Innovate to Grow - Fall 2017

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Winners

Capstone (IDC) Teams (13)

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Team Descriptions

Team 2. T3 Energy: Green Brick

Sponsor Contact: Paul Curtis - T3 Energy

Project Background

Super Insulated Green Building Technologies LLC of Flagstaff Arizona, along with developing partner T3 Energy of Australia, is currently working on new cellular structures for highly insulated, load bearing residential construction materials. SIGBT seeks to develop the next generation product (a residential, exterior load bearing wall system) by first improving product tolerances for vertical load bearing capabilities with in kind tightening of horizontal thermal regulation. Further application of improvements to newly conceptualized roof and floor systems will net much greater efficiency gains and the opportunity to close in on net zero housing at a scalable level.

SIGBT and T3Energy apply the concept of utilizing one primary wall material as both insulation and load bearing structure in order to reduce construction materials, labor and costs required to achieve outstanding energy efficiency. When one material is used as both structure and insulation there is generally a trade-off between the two resulting in one being compromised by the other and neither being optimized.  We propose that this need not necessarily be the case.

The concept relies on the fact that in housing the desired direction of the resistance to heat flow and the desired direction of structural strength are mutually perpendicular, with insulating requirement being horizontal through the wall and the structural requirement being predominately vertical. We propose that it should therefore be possible to optimize both of these two characteristics without the direct trade off described above.

Project Description and Objectives

For the purposes of this project we suggest that it may be possible to achieve the desired outcome by design of the air cell geometry specifically for the direction of the characteristic required.

  • The air cells should be closed and have no spaces between cells in order to prevent air infiltration and thermal convection from compromising efficiency.
  • The wall material defining the air cells should be of non-combustible material for maximum fire safety.
  • We have chosen at this stage not to specify the wall thickness of the air cells or the other dimensions  and  geometry  so  that  these  can   be   theoretically optimized. However, we note that the small size (around1 mm or less) of air cells in conventional insulation is probably not optimum and more the result of material properties and processes. Double glazing air gaps are optimized at around 12 mm.  This is more likely to be a better scale for air cells.
  • The desired horizontal insulation rating for a 300 mm (12 inch) block is greater than R50
  • The desired vertical structural strength is greater than a yield load of 200kPa

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Team 3. UCCE San Diego: Hot Water Pest Eradicator

Sponsor Contact: James Bethke  - UCANR

Project Background

Insects, bacteria, and parasites are usually prevalent on any plant grown under normal outdoor conditions. Plants are typically treated with chemical pesticides in order to rid the plant of harmful pests, but these treatments are toxic to humans, expensive for growers, and harmful to the environment.

Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa have found that treating plants with hot water under controlled conditions can eliminate pests while doing little to no damage to the plant. The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is working with the Center for Applied Horticultural Research in San Diego County in hopes of using this technique to eliminate the need for pesticides used on nursery and floricultural plants.

Project Description and Objectives

The purpose of this project is to build a closed treatment container which plants can be loaded into and treated with hot water. The container will employ several dozen spray nozzles for complete coverage of the plants inside. The treatment container will also need to be equipped with a controller to control the temperature of the water and the duration of the treatment. The system will use a series of heaters, pumps, and water storage containers to make the water easily controllable. In addition, the system can employ sensors and other sophisticated technology to make the target variables more accurate and easily achievable.

Different pests were found to have different tolerances to hot water treatments depending on the temperature of the water and the length of the treatment process. Most pests that were tested were killed when using water between 113°F and 122°F for treatment periods lasting between 5 and 15 minutes. The control system for the treatment container will have to be able to control the temperature of the water and the timeframe of the treatment period within these constraints.

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Team 4. UCSF Fresno:  Gait/Audio recording Interpreter

Sponsor Contact: Mark Stecker

Project Background

Gait analysis is a common technique used in biomechanics to identify medical problems related to an individual’s ability to walk. Currently, there is an abundance of video gait analysis systems that are extremely expensive and make gait analysis out of reach for most  physician  or  PT offices. However, gait generally involves a regular set of events Heel-Strike on one foot followed by toe-off on that foot followed by Heel-strike and toe off on the other foot. The regularity of this pattern can be used to our advantage. At heel strike there is a clear contact with the floor and so generates sound. When the foot hits the ground between heel strike and toe-off there is a second sound. A quantitative analysis of these aspects can give a quick and cheap indicator of how severely abnormal a person's gait is. Listening to other things such as the noise from shuffling can provide additional information.

Project Description and Objectives

Design and test a system to analyze human gait using only sound sensors instead of video. The system should be able to acquire and process data from the sound sensors and present it in a comprehensible way as a basis for diagnosis. The system should use off-the-shelf components, be relatively portable, inexpensive, and easy to use. It should also be able to analyze a wide variety of gaits under the same conditions. A feasibility analysis, implementation plan, list of parts and components, drawings and schematics, and preliminary tests are expected.

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Team 5.  BART:  Emergency Tunnel Ventilation Fan

Sponsor Contact:  Lori Lovett, Assistant Chief Maintenance & Engineering Officer Gary Fleming, Electrical & Mechanical Engineering Group Manager; Patrick Quinn, Senior Engineer

Project Background

Underground stations and tunnels over 1,000 feet in length are required to have mechanical ventilation for a fire emergency as per NFPA 130. These fans are typically operated and monitored remotely by the Operations Control Center, (OCC) however, local operation is possible. These fans have two operational modes, supply and exhaust. Supply is when air is drawn in from above ground and blown into the tunnel system. Exhaust is simply the reverse of Supply where the tunnel system air is discharged to the atmosphere.

During an emergency, numerous fans will be activated in a supporting combination of Supply and Exhaust modes. If one or more fans are operating in the wrong direction the loss of life and property can be high. Therefore, it is imperative that the air flow direction indicated on the OCC display screen accurately displays the field conditions.

BART and other agencies in the U.S. have been known to have had OCC display screen discrepancies with respect to actual field conditions. Therefore, an air flow sensing and monitoring system is needed as a source of verifying air flow direction.

Project Description and Objectives

Design an air flow sensing and monitoring system that will indicate air flow direction, motor rotation and provide input into our local SCADA system. Design and submit, for approval schematic diagrams and Equipment Drawings. Provide all drawings and schematics in AutoCAD readable format (.dwg). Develop proto-type drawings and commissioning procedures. Coordinate with BART staff for installation and commissioning. This project will allow BART to ensure that the equipped fan is operating in the correct mode.

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Team 6. BART:  Train Washer Nozzles Plugging

Sponsor Contact:  Lori Lovett, Assistant Chief Maintenance & Engineering Officer Gary Fleming, Electrical & Mechanical Engineering Group Manager; Patrick Quinn, Senior Engineer

Project Background

BART currently has 4 train washers that service 669 train cars. Approximately 200 train cars are washed daily at each location. The purpose of cleaning the trains is multifaceted. The main however is for customer satisfaction and overall appearance. Washing also helps to prevent corrosion by removing rail dust, brake dust and other corrosives collected while in service.

The train washer solution is mainly comprised of Sodium Hydroxide with a pH of 13. This solution is sprayed onto the cars via 20 stainless steel eyelet type nozzles. As these nozzles wear and become clogged the spray pattern has diminishes such that virtually no solution is being emitted resulting in streaking on the car body.

Therefore, instead of replacing the old nozzles with the same nozzles we would like to completely remove and replace the old with new.

Project Description and Objectives

Design a new chemical delivery system for BART’s four train washers. Provide a design such that the proper flowrates and spray coverage are achieved. Provide recommendations on nozzle types and material that do not clog or erode due to the harsh chemicals. Provide recommended preventative maintenance procedures. Design and submit, for approval, all new nozzles, material specifications, mounting brackets and locations, and tube routing. Prepare commissioning procedures. Provide all drawings and schematics in AutoCAD readable format (.dwg). Coordinate with BART staff to install proto-type and commission. This project will allow BART to proceed in the exterior cleaning of its fleet.

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Team 7. BART:  Industrial Waste Water

Lori Lovett, Assistant Chief Maintenance & Engineering Officer Gary Fleming, Electrical & Mechanical Engineering Group Manager; Patrick Quinn, Senior Engineer

Project Background

Over the past decade industrial water regulations have tightened the acceptable limits allowed to be discharged to sewer treatment plants. Currently our maintenance facilities collect industrial waste water from multiple locations on the properties and pumps it into evaporating plants. This water is then heated and evaporated off leaving behind salts and metals. During the evaporation process, neighboring residents and businesses have raised complaints regarding smell. This process is not a long-term solution as the operational and maintenance cost are prohibitive

Project Description and Objectives

Design and propose alternatives for handling industrial waste water issues at our maintenance facilities. Provide life-cycle cost analysis including, capital costs, maintenance costs and energy consumption.

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Team 8. Turlock Irrigation District:    Lower Lateral 2 Pump Back System

Sponsor Contact: Michelle Reimers, Assistant General Manager, External Affairs

Project Background

The Turlock Irrigation District has a complex system of canals used to convey water via gravity flow from our reservoirs in the foothills. Because the water is gravity fed, manually operated, and highly complex, fluctuations in flow rate and water level develop as water moves down the system. These fluctuations cause what is referred to as “operational spills” to the various natural waterways surrounding the District. Given the increasing importance of conserving water, the District is committed to reducing these spills. One established method of reducing these fluctuations has been to locate what the District refers to as a pump-back reservoir at the end of a canal. This reservoir captures what would normally spill from the canal and, when needed, pumps that water back to a location farther up the canal where it can be used. This can help prevent shortages on the canal system and insures that all water goes towards its intended use.

Project Description and Objectives

Given a pre-selected location at the end of the District’s Lower Lateral 2 canal, design a pump- back reservoir that will capture spill from the canal and use it to stabilize flows upstream. Determine the critical specifications of the reservoir such as storage capacity, cost of construction, time to construct, spill water saved, and intake and discharge capacity. Develop conceptual drawings of the reservoir for   presentation to the Irrigation Capital Planning team.

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Team 9. Turlock Irrigation District:     Upper Lateral 4 Irrigation Canal Flow Modeling

Sponsor Contact: Michelle Reimers, Assistant General Manager, External Affairs

Project Background

The Turlock Irrigation District has a complex system of canals used to convey water via gravity flow from our reservoirs in the foothills. Because the water is gravity fed, the district relies on drop structures in each canal to regulate water level to a sufficient height to serve surrounding agricultural ground. Over the last century that the District’s canals have been in operation there have been many changes to both drop structures and canals, each modification designed to achieve a specific goal without reference to the operation of the overall canal or system of canals. While not affecting current operations, these spot changes have often led to unequal flow capacity on the canal system. In many locations it is possible to improve performance of the canal system by locating and removing “choke points” that have been created.

Project Description and Objectives

Create a hydraulic model of the District’s Upper Lateral 4 canal including a canal profile and identify locations where reasonable improvements can be made. Collaborate with water operations and construction staff to create conceptual design drawings and cost estimates of these improvements for submission to the Irrigation Capital Planning team.

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Team 10. Turlock Irrigation District:  Ceres Main Regulating Reservoir

Sponsor Contact: Michelle Reimers, Assistant General Manager, External Affairs

Project Background

The Turlock Irrigation District has a complex system of canals used to convey water via gravity flow from our reservoirs in the foothills. Because the water is gravity fed, manually operated, and highly complex, fluctuations in flow rate and water level develop as water moves down the system. These fluctuations cause what is referred to as “operational spills” to the various natural waterways surrounding the District. Given the increasing importance of conserving water, the District is committed to reducing these spills. One proven method of reducing these fluctuations has been to locate a regulating reservoir at a point farther down the system to act as a “flow reset” point. The reservoir draws water out of the canal system when flows are higher than they are supposed to be and discharges water into the canal when flows are lower. In this way, it balances the flow in the canal and removes water that would ultimately spill, using it to improve customer service by preventing shortages.

Project Description and Objectives

Given a pre-selected location on the District’s Ceres Main canal, design a regulating reservoir that will divert water from the canal and use it to stabilize flows. Determine the critical specifications of the reservoir such as storage capacity, cost of construction, time to construct, spill water saved, and intake and discharge capacity. Develop conceptual drawings of the reservoir for presentation to the Irrigation Capital Planning team.

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Team 11. Del Monte:  Peach Pit Recycling

Sponsor Contact:  Doug Van Diepen, Del Monte Foods, Inc.

Project Background

Del Monte Foods Modesto plant is the flagship plant for Del Monte fruit, producing over 25 million cases of fruit each year.  Adding value for the consumer is a key to our success.  For peaches, we pick them ripe, size them, peel them, and slice and dice them.  Keeping costs low and being good stewards of the environment support our goals.

One by-product of peach processing is the pit. Historically pits were dumped into the SF bay (pre-1939), dumped into landfills, used to make charcoal filters in WWI, re-purposed into fire logs, or burned in biomass plants.

With the elimination of state incentives, biomass plants are closing in California.  With more supply than demand, this by-product may end up, once again, filling our landfills.

Project Description and Objectives

Explore alternate uses for peach pits that reduce the financial and environmental burdens of landfill disposal. The supply, in the San Joaquin Valley, is approximately 15,000 tons annually. They have a very high heat capacity and can be stored outdoors for years after a simple drying process.

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Team 12. E&J Gallo:  So2 Additional System

Sponsor Contact: Andrew Luong, E&J Gallo Winery

Project Background

As the largest winery in the world, E&J Gallo bottles over 70 million cases of wine each year at our Modesto Campus. Processing this amount of wine requires precise addition of an antibiotic and antioxidant agent, sulfur dioxide (SO2). This addition ensures the highest quality products to our consumers. The primary method of adding SO2 is manual injection into our processing tanks. This method is susceptible to error due to a variety of factors. If SO2 targets aren’t met this requires an additional injection of SO2. This additional injection time impacts the cellar throughput and first-pass-quality. Gallo would like to find a solution for automating our SO2 adjustment system to minimize misses.

Project Description and Objectives

Research, develop, and design solutions for adding SO2 into our processing wine tanks. The design should be focused on minimizing capital investment and manual involvement, while also keeping ergonomics and efficiency in mind. The design(s) should have a complete cost estimate for implementation including projected return on investment with respect to safety, quality, and schedule attainment impacts documented.

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Team 13. E&J Gallo:  Powder Delivery System

Sponsor Contact:  Mark Dunkel, E&J Gallo Winery

Project Background

As the largest winery in the world, E&J Gallo bottles over 70 million cases of wine each year at our Modesto campus. The Modesto Cellar has to filter on average 5 million gallons of wine a week to keep up with this demand. A majority of filtering is done with cross flow filtration, but approximately 1.3 million is still filtered on Industrial Filters which utilize DE (Diatomaceous Earth) powder. There is a DE powder delivery system that moves the powder from a silo to the filters. The DE powder delivery system utilizes augers and compressed air to transport the powder and is susceptible to wear that causes powder loss and downtime.

Project Description and Objectives

Research, develop, and design solutions for the DE Delivery System to minimize system wear, reduce powder loss, and reduce down time. The design(s) should include a complete cost estimate for implementation including the projected return on the investment for the system and safety / risk implications quantified.

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Team 14. UC Merced SE2 Outdoor Seating Environment

Sponsor Contact: UCM Faculty Mentor - Dean Mark Matsumoto

Project Background

The Science and Engineering Building 2 (SE2) opened in the fall of 2015 with a LEED Platinum rating. The building features many open public areas that are well lit and inviting for students and staff alike to use as study, meeting, or lounging space. Some of the amenities include shelter from the elements, and access to power for charging electronic devices. As the campus expands and reworks some of its existing space there are plans to transform a portion of the 1st floor/lobby area of the building by installing a coffee and snack bar. In order to accommodate the increased foot traffic the School of Engineering would like a detailed plan for an outdoor public area that would integrate seamlessly with the current, indoor area and provide the same kind of amenities

Project Description and Objectives

Design and evaluate an outdoor public area on the ground floor outside SE2 for common use. Some of the required features for this area are shelter from the environment conditions throughout the year (wind, rain, heat, sun, etc.), some degree of climate control, and access to power to charge electronic devices. The goal is to provide an outdoor area that is comfortable and protected such that students and staff will be inclined to use it regularly. The proposed solution should be visually appealing and in keeping with the overall visual look of the SE2 and the campus. It should also continue the efforts of minimal environmental impact.

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