Week 2: Learning the Sensor Software and Running Trial Experiments

Taara S -

Hello, welcome back to my blog! 

Today, February 20th, I was able to start experimenting with my upright dehumidifier setup! Below are some pictures (left to right). The 1st pic is the overall module, which consists of ports in the bottom chamber to plug in the humidifier (2nd pic), power meter, air flow tube, and humidity and temperature sensors. In the top chamber, there are similar ports for a second humidity and temperature sensor, since I will be using two sensors to determine when saturation has occurred/when adsorption has completed. There is also a mesh layer below the second chamber to ensure the powder stays in the cylinder between the two chambers. In the 3rd pic, there’s the fan (on the left) which is connected to the power meter (on the right) and directly plugged into the dehumidifier. The 4th pic shows the knob of the fan, which I’ll use to adjust the speed/voltage when running experiments. The middle, in the black compartment right above the silver metal ring, is where the desiccant powder will be loaded. When the compartment is unscrewed, there is a white container with a mesh bottom to prevent the powder from seeping through. Below this compartment is the rectangular prism-shaped heater (5th pic). The see-through cylinder screws on top of the desiccant compartment and holds the humid air and water vapor when the humidifier, fan, and heater are turned on.

I am using two identical Elitech GSP-6 sensors (one pictured below) to measure humidity and temperature, so I downloaded the software to my computer and got accustomed to it over the weekend. 

I ran trial experiments of the ambient (without any desiccants) to get used to the equipment, ensure the system has no leakages, and practice loading and exporting the data. I ran three experiments to isolate temperature and humidity: one with just the humidifier plugged in, one with just the heater, and one with both (all three were run with the fan on at a constant speed). The software is very easy and convenient! After collecting data, I just plug one sensor at a time into my computer using a USB chord and it automatically loads the data into the system. In the “graph” tab, it generates a two-lined graph with the time of day on the x-axis, and the humidity and temperature on the y-axis (one of my graphs from the trial experiments is shown below). 

In the “list” tab, it organizes the data points into columns (time, temp, humidity). Because I have to load the data of both sensors separately, the software will create two separate graphs. After running experiments, I will manually plug the data from both list tabs into Python or Excel to generate a single graph that has the lines of humidities and temperatures from both sensors so it is easier to see how they compare.

I’m going to test the mesh sizes of the desiccants (hydrogels, zeolites, and absorber beads) tomorrow to ensure the powder isn’t too fine or too big to fluidize and begin running experiments using them, so stay tuned for next week’s post!

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