Archive for the ‘PROJECTS’ category

Spiral Tube Ink Refilling

October 4, 2011

ballpoint pen is a writing instrument with an internal ink reservoir and a sphere for a point. The internal chamber is filled with a viscous ink that is dispensed at its tip during use by the rolling action of a small sphere.

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There are two basic types of ball point pens:

  • Disposable
  • Refillable.

Disposable pens are chiefly made of plastic throughout and discarded when the ink is consumed; Refillable pens are metal and some plastic and tend to be much higher in price. The refill replaces the entire internal ink reservoir and ball point unit rather than actually refilling it with ink, as it takes special high-speed centrifugation to properly fill a ball point reservoir with the viscous ink. The simplest types of ball point pens have a cap to cover the tip when the pen is not in use, while others have a mechanism for retracting the tip. This mechanism is usually controlled by a button at the top and powered by a spring within the pen body, but other possibilities include a pair of buttons, a screw, or a slide.

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Think about it, instead of having a straight tube ink refill, how about fashioning it as a spiral? Agreed it occupies a bit more space so the pen can’t be sleek and slim, but it holds double the amount of ink! There’s a reason why our DNA is structured in a double helix. I guess it will work like a charm for those disposable types, making them last longer.

Artificial Leaf Solar Power

October 3, 2011


Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, some bacteria, and some protists use the energy from sunlight to produce sugar, which cellular respiration converts into ATP, the “fuel” used by all living things. The conversion of unusable sunlight energy into usable chemical energy, is associated with the actions of the green pigment chlorophyll.

They release molecular oxygen and remove CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) from the air.

ATP: Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP)  Here the energy is stored in living systems; it consists of a Nucleotide (with Ribose sugar) with Three Phosphate groups.

Why is photosynthesis important:

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Nearly all living things depend on the energy produced from photosynthesis for their nourishment. Animals need the plants for food as well as oxygen. Only green plants are able to change light energy into chemical energy stored in food, thus they are vital to life on Earth.

Solar cells:

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Conventional solar cells are also called as Photo Voltaic Cells. These cells are made out of semiconducting material, usually silicon. When light hits the cells, they absorb energy though photons. This absorbed energy knocks out electrons in the silicon, allowing them to flow. By adding different impurities to the silicon such as phosphorus or boron, an electric field can be established. This electric field acts as a diode, because it only allows electrons to flow in one direction. Consequently, the end result is a current of electrons, better known to us as electricity.

Drawbacks of Solar cells:

They can only achieve efficiencies around 10% and they are expensive to manufacture. The first drawback, inefficiency, is almost unavoidable with silicon cells. This is because the incoming photons, or light, must have the right energy, called the band gap energy, to knock out an electron. If the photon has less energy than the band gap energy then it will pass through. If it has more energy than the band gap, then that extra energy will be wasted as heat.

Artificial Leaf:

Mixing of Photosynthesis + Conventional Solar Cells + Hydrogen Fuel Cell

26 Sept. 2011, Cambridge, MA - MIT professor Daniel Nocera has developed an artificial leaf chip that can split water molecules using light. Photo by Dominick Reuter

This Leaf device combines a commercially available solar cell (Silicon) with a pair of inexpensive catalysts made of Cobalt and Nickel that split water into Oxygen and Hydrogen. The hydrogen can be stored and used as an energy source. (For example to power a fuel cell).

The collection and storage of the sun’s energy as hydrogen fuel is a key step in overcoming one of the limitations of solar power — it generates energy when the sun is shining, but it needs to be stored somewhere to be useful at night and in cloudy weather. Batteries are one place to store the energy, but it is limited. Storing solar energy as hydrogen fuel could be an answer for producing the electricity continuously.

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Using this approach, a solar panel roughly one square meter bathed in water could produce enough hydrogen to supply electricity for a house.

Remote controlled material handling equipment (RCMHE)

September 29, 2011

Prior to the introduction of the so called “Material handling equipment” humans had to perform physical labor to carry out heavy duty tasks. This could be made possible by employing a huge number of workers. However, when the goods came in bulk unloading and loading turned out to be a very time consuming affair. The use of Material handling equipment in logistics has played a significant role in making the loading and unloading activities easier and faster.

Ask yourself the question “Why are ‘Remote controlled’ material handling equipment used?” and almost instantly you arrive at the logical answer that the chief benefit would be allowing personal to control their machine from a safe distance.

Remote control can be achieved by two different modes:

1)     Radio frequency (RF) Signals

RF signals are further divided into two categories.

a)     Narrow-band system  b)  Spread spectrum system.

2)     Infrared light

Infrared method works by transmitting a beam of light

Infrared mode of radio control is preferred over RF signals because of the safety and precision that it offers. Since the infrared method works by transmitting a beam of light, once the beam is out of sight, the beam is obstructed and the controls turn off.  That is, the operator must always be in view of the RCMHE, which in turns aids safety as the full visibility of the operator over the machine is critical. Precise, in the sense that with the use of RF technology there is always a chance of interference with other signals and might lead to accidents, Infrared remote control makes this type of mistake impossible.


1)      Transfer of components from one container to another especially fragile objects

2)      Transfer of  hazardous/explosive objects

3)      Operation in high temperature environment


Although it is advantages to use RCMHE, proper training for the staff handling the RCMHE is a prerequisite to ensure safe working.

Remote controlled aircraft

September 29, 2011

This mechanical engineering project is about the construction of a flying model of an air craft controlled by a remote control. The materials for construction include light weight materials like wood, plastic and foam.

The tasks included in this working project are:
1. Building the body of the RC plane.
2. Building the RC plane controls.
3. Building the Electronic controls.
rc airplane controls
The four primary controls of an RC plane, collectively called control surfaces, are:

1. Throttle
2. Elevator
3. Ailerons
4. Rudder

The flight of the plane is directed by the movements of these control surfaces. The control surfaces are controlled by small servo motors which are in turn controlled using the remote control.

Even when the plane is made it is not easy to control it without crashing your model several times. So it is better to take a flight video each time you try to fly it, so that if the model is destroyed beyond repair, you may be able to present the video during your project evaluation.

Useful references: