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  • looking for advice re a middle school science project

    Discussion in 'The main mechanical design forum' started by jenfrazzle, Aug 3, 2015.

    1. jenfrazzle

      jenfrazzle New Member

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      Hi all,
      I stumbled across this forum while trying to figure out a new project for my science classroom. I need to find a way for my students to build a simple 'clinostat' that would slowly rotate a small (like plastic film-canister size) plastic vial (containing an agar substrate and a seed) to simulate a kind of microgravity, to test how that affects the germination & growth of the plant.

      The project info sheet that I'm working off of suggests using something like a 110 VAC motor with a rotation rate of 1 to 4 RPM. When I search for low RPM motors, I come up with something like this, and am wondering if that would do the trick. I have no sense for whether this particular motor would be easy to use, like just attach some alligator leads and go, or whether it's strong enough to rotate the plant.

      Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as I have no idea what I'm doing! :p
      Thanks,
      Jennifer
       
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    3. s.weinberg

      s.weinberg Well-Known Member

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      Looks like you're on the right track.

      Not really familiar with clinostats, but here's my semi-informed opinion:

      The first question I'd ask is if you plan on running off a wall outlet or a battery. I'm thinking that a battery makes sense, so the DC motor you found should work great. The info sheet you have suggests an AC motor.
      To run the motor you've found, you'll need a 12V battery that will last as long as you want the experiment to run, and can put out enough current. While motor control runs the gamut from very simple to fairly complicated, to run at a steady (near) 1 RPM, you'll just need to attach 2 wires from your battery terminals to the two motor wires. Couldn't be easier. Looks like a pretty beefy motor for what you have in mind, so I don't think you'll reduce the speed much below 1 RPM, and you definitely shouldn't stall it.

      Good luck.
       

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