Date of Award
Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2020.
Traditional plant characteristic improvement techniques are accompanied by certain disadvantages. Most notably, it takes several seasons in order to breed for favorable characteristics such as crop yield and disease resistance via deliberate selection. In order to expedite this improvement process, grafting - a method in which two separate plants with individual, desirable qualities are physically combined, may be used.
This report explores the development of a regulated environment as a solution to many of the problems associated with the grafting of plants during their recovery stage. The grafting chamber model necessitates: (1) an ability to maintain the specific temperature, humidity and ambient light necessary to produce healthy grafts, (2) ease of use including setup and operation, (3) system portability and an extended lifetime.
A review of scientific literature discussing the current state of typical grafting processes yields multiple requirements. The first of these requirements is a regulated environment that maintains a temperature between 72°F and 85 °F and a humidity between 85% and 95%. Also, the environment must be very dark and gradually increase to ambient conditions. The light, temperature, and humidity need to slowly taper to ambient conditions over the ten-day healing period in order to match the external environment. Due to the specificity of these conditions, grafting has historically been a labor-intensive process. Small-scale agricultural operations, those with less than 10,000 USD in annual sales, are impacted most severely by these constraints. The agricultural industry is often space-sensitive so collapsibility and portability are significant concerns.
Here, the proof of concept of a grafting chamber capable of satisfying the market need defined by the above, is developed and presented. Stages of the product design process are evaluated individually within the scope of the project.
Gescher, Brendan; Jansky, Molly; Margolis, Jack; and Pattawi, Kaleb, "GraftThis: Modernizing Organic Farming" (2020). Mechanical Engineering Senior Theses. 98.