The Engineering Process

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The Engineering Process

I am in the Biotechnology program at West Tech and I have come to realize that we are constantly using the engineering process when we conduct our labs. One lab we did called the Bacteria Everywhere Lab, seems to be a good example.state your question - where is bacteria growing?do background research - prior to conducting this lab, we were taught how to correctly streak petri dishes with our samples in order for the bacteria to grow in a certain pattern. we also had to learn about sterilization since we were dealing with bacteria.specify requirements - we were required to swap items around the school and streak the samples onto petri dishes to examine their growth.alternative solutions - we were given three petri dishes and assigned to swap 12 objects. so, if one of the swaps wasn’t strong enough to yield bacterial growth, we could examine the growth from the other 11 samples we solution - we thought it best to swap objects we knew would be infested with bacteria--objects that people touch all the time and never get cleaned.development work - we took our gloves, goggles, swaps, petri dishes and headed out onto campus. we made sure prior to going out that we knew exactly what we wanted to swap so we wouldn’t waste time walking around trying to decide what to a prototype - in this case, our prototype can be seen as the petri dishes that would cultivate our bacteria. we placed them in an incubator for 2 days to allow the bacteria to grow in its optimal temperature. from there, we examined what areas had the most bacteria.test and redesign - from getting our results, we found areas of the school that didn’t yield as much bacteria as we had expected. if we were to perform the lab again, we would probably avoid those areas and try to find other bacterial colonies to examine elsewhere.

As for right now, my aspiration is to become a dermatologist. This lab relates perfectly to that field as dermatologists deal with bacteria on skin. I can apply this same engineering process technique when investigating types of bacteria that may be irritating the patient’s skin and different ways to go about curing it. I’ve learned that the engineering process doesn’t necessarily have to deal with engineering actual devices but can be applied to my medical field interest as well!


define problem - the challenge for this project was to create a catapult that could launch a cotton ball into a target 3 meters away.background research - we investigated types of catapults by looking at diagrams and characteristics of three different catapult models. specify requirements - we chose a Ballista catapult which required material to create a crossbow-like front and a cord that would attach to the projectile.alternative solutions - we were only to complete it during class so finding time at home wouldn’t be an issue. supplies were also provided for solution - we chose the Ballista since its design seemed the easiest to recreate without having to use too many materials.development work - we decided to build the Ballista completely out of popsicle sticks which were already provided. we did not use any outside materials in order to finish our Ballista in a prototype - we stacked four popsicle sticks and taped them together for the ramp. we then took a popsicle stick and broke it in half. The flat side of each half was taped to the front of the ramp in order to create the crossbow-like structure. We then taped rubber bands to the “wings”. Taped to the rubber bands was a small paper cup that we had previously cut in half horizontally in order to use the bottom of it. This would hold our cotton ball.test and redesign - when launched, the cup did not make a smooth transition off the ramp so we put a piece of tape on the ramp to create a smooth surface. We cut an opening in the top of the cup so that the cotton ball could fly out. We brought in a platform with a nail that was driven into the wood at an angle and secured the catapult to it. We taped string with a paperclip to the cup for the string to be pulled back to the nail and hooked with the paperclip. It built up the rubber band’s maximum potential energy to make the cotton ball fly.

define the problem - the challenge for this project was to create a car powered by the air of an inflated balloon that would travel a distance of 5 metersbackground research - we learned about types of forces including important ones like frictional force which is what ultimately makes the car move. it became apparent that with less friction, the car will go a further distance.specify requirements - we were to be creative in this project which meant coming up with materials that could be used for the body, axle, and wheels of the car alternative solutions - a balloon could be our only source of power so we didn’t have to be creative in coming up with a way to power the carbest solution - we decided to use a toilet paper roll for the body, straws for the axle, and bottle caps for the wheels.development work - we started out by hot gluing the axles of the car to the wheels in order to ensure that the axles didn’t interfere with the turning motion of the a prototype - the axles were put inside straws that were hot glued to the body. two straws on either side of the body were also hot glued so the balloon had something to rest on once it was blowed up. test and redesign - there were minor tweaks in fixing the car in order for it to travel its designated speed. we had to fix the position of the wheels so they didn’t wobble when they spun. we also had to reposition the balloon so that it rested properly on the straws.




In physics, we were challenged to construct three devices that had to do with the unit we were studying: a catapult, a balloon car, and an egg drop. Each had different requirements for different purposes but they share one thing in common: the use of the engineering process in their construction.


define the problem - we were to create a type of device that would be able to catch an egg as it fell without cracking it.background research - we learned about collision safety prior to constructing this model. in order to create the egg drop that we wanted, we were to find a way to increase the time of impact for a smaller force on the egg.specify requirements - we had a limited supply amount of 10 pieces of paper and 1 meter of tape to build this egg drop.alternative solutions - we were to create the egg drop during the class time Mrs. Strobel gave us plus also leaving time to test them in solution - we ended up deciding to create ‘springs’ that would cushion the egg as it dropped.development work - given the 10 pieces of paper, we started rolling up 6 of them to create the ‘springs’ that we envisioned for the egg to drop on that would be able to cushion the downward force. build a prototype - the setup of this egg drop was fairly easy. we taped the 6 paper rolls into two rows of three which formed the basis of our egg drop. we realized that it needed walls or else the egg would’ve bounced or rolled off. with the four paper walls, we also used the remaining paper to create confetti that we put inside the paper rolls. test and redesign - we didn’t really get to test our device since we only got one egg. we dropped the egg from 1 meter and from 1.5 meters. However, too much force seems to crack the egg by 2 meters and our mechanism was done for.












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