Course: 22.381 Fluid Mechanics
Semester: Fall 2007
Instructor: Majid Charmchi
Partner: Village Empowerment Peru Projects
The Village Empowerment group has had a long-standing relationship with small rural villages of Peru, helping them implement new and sustainable technologies such as solar powered water pumping systems. Such a system was installed in the village of Laguna in the Summer of 2007 for pumping drinking water, but some local farmers wondered how this could be used for their crop irrigation. Therefore, the students from the Fluid Mechanics course developed a project to design a drip irrigation system that would be powered by solar energy; this design would irrigate an avocado farm in the village of Laguna.
The students used concepts such as conservation of mass, the Bernoulli Equation and fluid principles (such as friction factors and head losses) to determine the flow of water required from the system and the necessary diameters of the drip holes to each tree. Twelve students participated in this project: some presented various design solutions, and some took the initiative to use Matlab to create a program where a user can change different parameters, making the program available to “aid in the development of irrigation systems for other plantations”.