Control in Action: Designing a Fermenter

This is one of a series of focused units, from the Association for Science Education and the Design and Technology Association, to introduce students to important technologies and their applications. This unit features control systems and their applications to fermentation. The introduction to the unit:

* introduces the importance of biotechnology and the range of biotechnological products
* provides information about commercial fermenters and about batch and continuous fermentation processes.

In the first main part of the unit students use a simple model fermenter and yeast to investigate the optimum conditions to achieve the highest yield. The investigations cover factors such as temperature, oxygen supplies, pH, glucose levels, agitation and mixing. The students are provided with guidance on setting up the fermenter and methods for measuring the yield.

In the third part of the unit, students are provided with a process to analyse the possible control systems to use with a fermenter. They use this process to:
* determine the physical conditions that could be controlled and use the results of their research to set parameters for these conditions
* work out the type of control system required
* identify input and output transducers that could be used.

Contents
TEACHERS’ NOTES
* Plan of the unit
* By using the unit students will ...
* Links to other SwT units
* Useful resources
* Syllabus links
* Using the unit

STUDENTS’ MATERIAL
Introduction - Biotechnology
Part 1 Research
Part 2 Designing and making a fermenter

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