Engineering for Healthy Fish
There are many applications of Automatic Control, as a large number of physical variables can be controlled. Examples of variables controlled in everyday’s life are car speed in automatic cruise control, focus in an automatic camera, torque in an automatic transmission car, etc. But can we control an unusual variable such as the PH level of a fish tank? Sean Turner, a student of Electrical Engineering, answered to this question by designing and implementing a PH control system for a fish/reef tank. Such was the topic of his Senior Design Project, which he completed under the supervision of Dr. Julio González.
The PH control system that Sean designed features a PH sensor, and electronic circuit and an actuator valve. When the sensor detects that the tank water is becoming too acid, the electronic circuit “orders” the actuator valve to release drops of a basic substance to correct the PH level. An electronic display shows the tank PH value at all times. There is also an alarm system that would alert a human operator to act in case the actuator valve failed to deliver the basic substance.
Without an adequate PH level in the tank, fish would die. Sean’s project protects animal life in an automatic way, without the need for the permanent presence of a human being. Engineering has been defined as “the application of the laws of physics for the benefit of mankind”. Sean’s work makes us think of expanding the definition to “…and for the wellness of the environment”.