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.
Mechanical Engineering Design Project (MEMS 411)
Jack, Seth; Finer, Matthew; Maggioni, Alex; and Nilsen, Kristian, "MEMS 411: Lost Grains Winnower" (2021). Mechanical Engineering Design Project Class. 142.