Design of a Testing Apparatus for a Remote, Solar Powered Cooling System

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  • Spring Creek, South Dakota, suffers from trout die offs when the water gets too warm.
  • Tasked with designing an apparatus to test different cooling system prototypes.

Project Description

Objective: Replicate the fluid dynamics of stream based on measurements taken by South Dakota Game Fish and Parks.

Constraints (partial list)

  • Model size less than 6 ft by 6 ft
  • Accurately replicate the flow of the stream
  • Instrumentation for temperature and velocity
  • Fit 1.5 ft by 1.5 ft prototype


  • 1/10 scale was determined most feasible
  • 70% cut off of upstream and downstream sections
  • Reynold’s number held constant


Stream Bed

  • Spray foam between plywood cross sections
  • Cheap, lightweight, easy to form


  • “Boil Box” to deliver water in a manner more similar to the stream
  • Two 250 gallon reservoirs
  • Gas powered water pump


  • Pitot-static tubes to measure velocity
  • Thermistors to measure temperature

Finite Element Analysis

  • Max Stress: 889 kPa
  • Factor of Safety: 2
  • Max Deformation: 0.086 in
  • Factor of Safety: 6


  • Frame adjustable from 0 to 7.5 degrees
  • Flowrate 75-380 gallons per minute
  • Able to measure minimal temperature changes
  • Depth changes geometrically with flowrate as expected


Mentors: Dr Adam Gladen Dr Yan Zhang
Builder: Michael Backer
SD Game Fish and Parks Contact: Jeremy Kientz
Senior Test Engineer: Rob Sailer


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