Project Examples

Canal Trash Cleaning Devices

Course: 25.200 – Community-Based Engineering Design Project I
Semester: Spring 2006
Instructor: John Duffy
Partner:Lowell Historical National Park (LHNP)

One student worked with the Lowell Historical National Park (LHNP) to develop trash-cleaning devices for the canal system in Lowell. The model is still under development, however, reports on the design and model have been delivered to the LHNP Facilities Director, Ted Davis. The Lowell National Park asked the college’s help in designing a mechanism for cleaning the surface of the canals in Lowell from the trash that constantly blows in. The project was used to generate ideas and to develop initial predictions of the kinematics of such a device. For example, if a boat were contemplated with a conveyor belt of screening to remove trash from the water surface, analysis would include optimizing the speed of the boat, relative speed of the trash going up the conveyor, position of container to catch the trash, energy and power needed to propel boat and rotate conveyor, transmitted forces through the members, etc. The student team met with the instructor to arrive at a conceptual design and to develop more specific objectives. The engineering students investigated ways of mechanizing removal of canal trash from historic Lowell canal system. The team developed a number of potential solutions for the community and historic urban park issue. This miniproject provided students with a chance to apply the theory and tools of engineering dynamics to an actual system and an opportunity to help the local community.