Campus as Lab Projects at PEI Discovery Day and Princeton Research Day

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Posted on May 8, 2017

Learn about Campus as Lab projects that have studied sustainability challenges right here on campus at PEI Discovery Day and Princeton Research Day. Featured projects include plant communication in agriculture, rammed earth construction, geothermal energy, smart-lighting systems, and electric marine propulsion. 

PEI Discovery Day

Frick Chemistry Atrium

Wednesday, May 10 from 11:30am – 1:30pm

Intraspecific Competition Mediated by Mycorrhizal Fungi Alters Photosynthetic Response to Herbivory in Soybeans

Olivia Trase '17

Olivia studied the effect of plant communication via mycorrhizal fungal networks in corn and soybean plants. Using the new growing chambers in the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Olivia's results found evidence that the fungal network can transmit signals of distress from a pest attack among soybean plants. These signals enabled the unaffected plants to prepare for attacks and thus benefit through higher rates of photosynthesis, but at the expense of the health of the pest-infected plants. Olivia is also analyzing results from a similar experiment conducted on corn plants based on research conducted over the summer on University-owned farm land.

Development of a High-Voltage Modular Battery System for Marine Environments

Benjamin Sorkin '17

Ben developed an electric propulsion and battery system to improve the sustainability of the varsity crew team’s coach boats.

Princeton Research Day

Frist Campus Center

Thursday, May 11

S3. A Slice of Princeton I Poster Exhibit

Frist 100 Level

11:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Performance and Potential of Erosion Protected Rammed Earth Walls in Princeton, NJ

Board 21, Amber Lin '19

Rammed earth construction transforms common soil into a highly sustainable building material with near zero CO2 emissions in construction and transportation. While gaining popularity in arid areas, a concern over erosion from harsh precipitation and freezing conditions prevents rammed earth from becoming prevalent in seasonal climates. This research project studies the effectiveness of three erosion protection measures on rammed earth walls built in Princeton, New Jersey throughout a winter season. Photogrammetric techniques are used to compare erosion to environmental influences. The result is a comprehensive narrative of rammed earth erosion in seasonal climates that can help guide rammed earth design and building codes.

CHAOS on Campus

Board 35, Eric Teitelbaum 'GS

Cooling and Heating for Architecturally Optimized Systems is both the acronym for the research team working with Assistant Professor Forrest Meggers (jointly appointed in School of Architecture and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment), but it also describes many opportunities to engage in research on campus. We will present projects ranging from physical outputs of class work to funded research projects exploring geothermal energy, complex fluid dynamics and unique energy exchanges happening on the Princeton Campus.

S4. A Slice of Princeton II Poster Exhibit

Frist 100 Level

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Smart Dorm: Occupancy Analysis to Reduce Light Energy Consumption in College Residence Halls

Board 15, Abby Van Soest '18

Using occupancy data from a smart-lighting pilot project implemented in Bloomberg Hall, I developed a novel method for reducing wasted energy from corridor lighting in dorms, while valuing the user experience. I found that using the local history of an occupancy sensor data can improve the responsiveness of lighting systems to real-time demand. Unnecessary energy usage can be avoided by turning the lights off more frequently for a moderate, but justifiable, impact on the subjective experience.

S5.4 Elevator Pitch II

Frist 329

1:45 PM - 2:35 PM

Development of an Electric Marine Propulsion and Battery System

Ben Sorkin '17, Kirk Robinson '17, Aarav Chavda '17

The automotive industry has recently undergone an electric revolution, while the marine industry lags behind. This is alarming because marine engines are responsible for leaving over 150 million gallons of unburned fuel in our waters every year. In addition, gas engines need frequent maintenance and can be unreliable. Based on our research over the last two years, we have set out to develop a line of electric outboard motors that outperform tradition gas engines. Our motors have zero-emissions, minimize carbon footprint and are virtually maintenance-free due to solid state components.