Our group, G2, is trying to find out how plants respond to different conditions, including alternation rates of light, color frequency of light, temperature of lights, and nutrient gradients. We hope to set up independent terrariums in which we can modify any of the variables mentioned. These terrariums will have sensors data logging during the whole experiment. We will also take qualitative and quantitative data in terms of the health of the plants. We hope to control any automated processes using an arduino microcontroller. This data will be used to determine the best conditions to control in our final design.
We planted 10 types of fast growing plants, along with spinach, and radishes this past class. When we returned, we had several problems. The first problem was that the styrofoam which the seeds were placed in, had begun to melt due to the heat of the lamps. To fix this, we raised the lights by 15 centimeters, making them 45 centimeters above the plants. Another problem that we faced was keeping the lamps in place. The lamps are attached by a clamp to a metal pole, however, the clamp is not proving to be very effective. We are working on getting fluorescent bulbs in place of the incandescent light bulbs for our second round of testing. The fluorescent bulbs in the school already are held up, while the bulbs we are currently using need to be clamped. The other reason we are choosing to use fluorescent bulbs is that they produce less heat energy in exchange, and more light energy than incandescent bulbs, making it a better choice for this experiment. We will continue to monitor these plants until they are fully grown. Once the fast growing plants are ready, we will begin a second round of testing using better equipment.