Publication Date

Spring 2021

Document Type

Final Report

Embargo Date


Problem Statement

This project involved designing an upgrade for the grain winnower in Dr. Mueller’s anthropology lab at Washington University in St. Louis. A winnower is a device that separates chaff from usable grain after harvesting and threshing. Many such devices exist, from industrial-scale winnowers sorting high volumes of grain to personal coffee bean winnowers. However, the constraints of the lab space and the specialized nature of the grain being winnowed presented specific constraints. An interview with Dr. Mueller was necessary to determine a ranked list of needs for use in the final product. After creating these rankings, a mock-up was used help embody the initial prototype. A morphological chart of features and a number of alternative design concepts were generated, before aspects from each concept were used to construct a prototype. From these criteria, three prototype performance goals were generated: a user can pour grain 5x faster, clean/reset the device in ¡5 min, and reduce winnowing cycles to satisfactorily winnow a grain batch.

Author's School

McKelvey School of Engineering

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Class Name

Mechanical Engineering Design Project (MEMS 411)