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KATHMANDU UNIVERSITY

SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

Design and Fabrication of Potato Launcher

Submitted By: Prabin Dhital(42060) Sudeep Parajuli(42068) Sujeet Regmi(42074) Arun Satyal(42075) Saugat Timilsina(42087)

Submitted To: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bivek Baral Department of Mechanical Engineering

July 2012

Table of Contents
Abstract ......................................................................................................................................................... 2 Acknowledgement ........................................................................................................................................ 3 Background ................................................................................................................................................... 4 Introduction ................................................................................................................................................... 4 Combustion Launcher ............................................................................................................................... 4 Design of potato launcher: ............................................................................................................................ 5 Design of combustion chamber: ............................................................................................................... 5 Range calculation and optimization .......................................................................................................... 7 Construction .............................................................................................................................................. 8 Safety Measures ........................................................................................................................................ 8 Problem Encountered ................................................................................................................................ 8 Conclusion .................................................................................................................................................. 10 References ................................................................................................................................................... 11 Appendix-I .................................................................................................................................................. 12 Appendix II ............................................................................................................................................... 14

Abstract
For the fulfillment of the course Design of Thermal System a mini project Design and Fabrication of Potato Launcher was undertaken. We undertook the mini project for the following purpose; to understand the design procedure of a product from scrap, to gain knowledge in thermal system design and to study modeling and simulation procedures and techniques involved during designing of any product. Potato launcher was fabricated after modeling and simulation. During modeling and simulation the range of the potato was calculated to be 86m at projection angle of 360, so we fabricated a stand with inclination of 360 and launched the projectile, but the range achieved was 110m in average. Safety measures were adopted thoroughly as the combustion of the air fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber results in very high temperature and pressure products.

Acknowledgement
This mini project Design and Fabrication of Potato Launcher has been completed with suggestion, guidance & help from many individuals. We are deeply indebted to those who have contributed in this research study. We express our sincere gratitude to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bibek Baral for providing us the opportunity to conduct this project under his supervision, not forgetting his visionary leads and thumping encouragements throughout the project schedules. Our deep gratitude goes to Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kathmandu University for providing us the required physical resources. Our sincere gratitude goes to Mr. Ram Thapa Magar and Shyam Makhaju our lab-in-charges, Mechanical Workshop for their. We would also like to thank our friends Bishesh, Kabool, Kshitij and Arqoot for their advice and support. Not to miss are our classmates whose interest to see the product propelled us to finish potato launcher in time. Finally, we are equally thankful to all the people who were directly or indirectly involved in our mini project.

Background
For the fulfillment of the course Design of Thermal System a mini project Design and Fabrication of Potato Launcher was undertaken. Potato is one of the highly consumed and desired food all around the world, launching of potato through a launcher can be as tasteful as delicious potato dish. We undertook the mini project for the following purpose: a. To understand the design procedure of a product from scrap. b. To gain knowledge in thermal system design. c. To study modeling and simulation procedures and techniques involved during designing of any product.

Introduction
A potato launcher is pipe-based cannon which uses combustion energy of a gaseous fuel (Butane) to launch projectiles at high speeds. It is widely known as spud gun or spudzooka among the potato launcher enthusiast. There are various kinds of potato launchers based on the firing mechanism viz. Combustion Launcher, Pneumatic Launcher, Dry-ice Launcher and Hybrid Launcher [1]. For our mini project we designed and fabricated a combustion launcher.

Combustion Launcher
A combustion potato launcher uses expansion of a burnt gas in a fixed volume chamber to propel the potato through the barrel and launch it. In order to fire, the operator loads a projectile into the barrel, adds fuel to the combustion chamber and triggers the ignition source. The fuel then ignites, creating hot expanding gases, and forcing the projectile out of the barrel. Distances vary greatly depending on many factors, including the type of fuel used, the efficiency of the fuel/air ratio, the combustion chamber/barrel ratio, and the flight characteristics of the projectile. Common distances vary from 100 to 200 meters [1]. In a combustion potato launcher there are basically four elements:

A fuel system A combustion chamber An ignition source A barrel

Design of potato launcher:


Design of combustion chamber:
Consideration: Combustion chamber volume 1 liter. Initial pressure at start of combustion 1 atmospheric pressure (101 kPa). Fuel used Butane (C4H10). Expansion after combustion of the air/fuel mixture is isentropic.

We used butane (C4H10) as a combustion fuel. The combustion equation for stoichiometric condition is: C4H10 + 6.5 (O2 + 3.76 N2) 4 CO2 + 5 H2O + 24.44 N2

The temperature of the burned gas when the fuel is burned at stoichiometric amount was calculated considering law of conservation of energy (First Law of Thermodynamics) as: hreactant = h( C4H10) + 6.5 h(O2) + 24.44 h(N2) , at 25 0 C. hproduct = 4 h(CO2) + 5 h(H2O) + 24.44 h(N2) hreactant = hproduct Where, h(Compound) denotes the enthalpy of corresponding compound. These equations were solved using Engineering Equation Solver to get the final temperature after combustion. The temperature correlates to the rise in pressure as combined gas law,

Here, combustion chamber volume is constant, V1 = V2, which reduces the equation to

Here, P, V and T represent the pressure, volume and temperature at state 1 and state 2. Knowing pressure after combustion, for the design of combustion chamber the geometry can be calculated using design consideration for thin walled pressure vessel. Stress in a thin-walled pressure vessel,

Where hoop stress, or stress in the circumferential direction is, is stress in the longitudinal direction, p is internal gauge pressure, r is the inner radius of the sphere, and t is thickness of the cylinder wall. PVC (Poly-Vinyl-Chloride) pipe was used for the construction of the pressure vessel. The pressure developed in the combustion chamber after combustion of the fuel is about 707.4 kPa. For given geometry of PVC pipe of standard 75 mm diameter and 2 mm thickness, the principle stress developed given by: Where, 12.70 MN/m2. is the principle stress developed due to hoop stress and longitudinal stress

The yield modulus of the PVC pipe is 51.71 MN/m2 [2], which is in accordance with the principle stress calculated for the design of the vessel. Thus, combustion chamber of 226 mm with internal diameter 75 mm forming volume of 1 liter is used. After the design of the combustion chamber the barrel length and diameter was arbitrarily taken as 1 m and 37 mm respectively. Calculation of the velocity of potato: The velocity attained by the potato is due to the pressure difference experienced by the potato between the pressure side in the combustion chamber and the pressure at the open atmospheric air.

Where, f is the force experienced by the potato, d is the internal diameter of the barrel, P 2 is the pressure developed in combustion chamber after combustion and ffr is the frictional force experienced by the potato which varies according to the fit of the potato but in average it was found to be 18 N.

Where, a is the acceleration of the potato and m is the mass taken as 50g.

Where, v is the velocity attained by the potato and s is the length of the barrel is 1m. The velocity thus was calculated to be 44 m/s.

Range calculation and optimization


With the velocity of 44m/s the range was calculated using Eulers Projectile method for air resistance. The range and velocity for projectile in Eulers method is given by:

Where, r0 = [0 0], is initial position of the projectile. v0 = [vcos vsin ], is initial velocity in x-direction and y-direction, projection. a = [ax ay], is acceleration in x-direction and y-direction.
,

is angle of

Where, cd is coefficient of drag,

is density of air, A is area of

projection of in the direction the projectile motion, v is the velocity of projectile and m is the mass of the projectile. ay = -g , where g is acceleration due to gravity. The range optimization was done varying the angle of projection .

Figure: Optimization of range with respect to angle of projection, . It was seen that the maximum range is 86m at 360 angle of projection.

Construction
A working prototype of potato launcher was fabricated in Mechanical Workshop. The materials used in the fabrication are: S.N. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Parts PVC pipe PVC Plug Reducer PVC pipe Gas Lighter Dimension 75mm X 226 mm 75mm 75mm to 37mm 37mm X 1000 mm Use Combustion chamber Seal combustion chamber Connect combustion chamber and barrel Barrel Ignition

Method of assembly: A PVC pipe of 75mm was cut into 226 mm length to acquire 1 liter combustion chamber volume. One side of the pipe was sealed with PVC plug of diameter 75mm. Reducer reduced the combustion chamber diameter of 75mm to barrel diameter 37mm. Barrel was attached to the reducers other end. All the piping system was glued together using PVC cement. A hole of 18 mm was drilled in combustion chamber for fuel inlet and to place gas lighter into combustion chamber for ignition.

Safety Measures
i. The pressure development inside the combustion chamber is very high with respect to atmospheric pressure, so all joints needed to be sealed perfectly thus we used PVC cement which formed a tight fit joints resistible to pressure fluctuation inside the combustion chamber. To avoid the leak from the gas lighter position in the combustion chamber we drilled hole whose diameter was equal to the diameter of the lighter (i.e. 18 mm). The potato was launched in a open empty field to avoid accident, as high speed projectile can cause fetal injuries if it hits anybody.

ii. iii.

Problem Encountered
i. For safety purpose we tried different electrical mechanisms for ignition to ignite the air/fuel mixture from a safe distance. a. A spark plug ignition was used whose ignition energy was not sufficient to ignite the air/fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber. b. A broken filament bulb was used which did not ignite the air/fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber. c. A broken filament bulb was used with match stick powder to ignite the air/fuel mixture, but during the combustion of the match stick powder used the air inside the chamber leaving insufficient air inside the combustion chamber for air/fuel mixture within combustible limit.

ii.

iii.

A non-return valve was used to introduce gas into the combustion chamber, but the pressure of the butane gas canister was very high, so we could not introduce the calculated amount of fuel through the valve. Potato needed to be tight fit in the barrel for proper transfer of pressure energy form the combustion chamber to the potato, so at the beginning we had problem with launching the potato to an optimum range. So, we started using potato of larger size which would mesh in the barrel and barrel would act as a template for the potato inside the barrel.

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Conclusion
A potato launcher was fabricated after modeling and simulation. During modeling and simulation the range of the potato was calculated to be 86m at projection angle of 360, so we fabricated a stand with inclination of 360 and launched the projectile, but the range achieved was 110m in average. The inconsistency in the simulated value and actual performance is because of the assumptions that were made during the simulation. The difference between the simulated value and actual performance can be minimized by approximating the actual scenario. Safety measures must be adopted thoroughly as the combustion of the air fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber results in very high temperature and pressure products which can cause accident of high degree burn to the operator.

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References
[1]
[2]

Wikipedia- A Free Encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spud_gun#\ Combustion_launchers, July 7, 2012.


PVC-Polyvinyl Chloride, Plastic Distributers, Distributors to the World.7600 Anagram DriveEden Prairie, MN 55344.

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Appendix-I
EES program to simulate combustion process and calculate the velocity of the potato

"C3H8 +x(O2+3,76N2)----> 3CO2+4H2O+3.76xN2+(x-5)O2"

"Subprogram to calculate the temperature of the burned mixture" "******" SUBPROGRAM UBT(x : T) HR=enthalpy(C3H8, T=25)+x*enthalpy(O2, T=25)+3.76*x*enthalpy(N2, T=25) HP=3*enthalpy(CO2, T=T)+3.76*x*enthalpy(N2, T=T)+(x-5)*enthalpy(O2, T=T)+4*enthalpy(H2O,T=T) HP=HR End "******" "Function to calculate the pressure knowing the temperature of the gas" "******" Function PRESS(T) P2:=(1/1000)*(273+T)/298*1000 PRESS:=P2 End "******" "Function for iterating for pressure with x" "******" Function Check(A) x=5 12: CALL UBT(x:T1) P=Press(T1) x=x+.1 p_ref=6895*8*.003/.05 If (P>p_ref) Then GoTo 12 Check:=x End "******" "****** Velocity on the potato

"PRESSURE CHECKING FOR MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE PRESSURE"

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*******" Function velocity(P) F:=(P-101)*1000*(pi*.05^2)/4 -18 Acceleration:=f/.05 vel:=(2*acceleration*2)^(1/2) velocity:=vel End "******" X= Check(1) equ=5/X CALL UBT(X:T2) pre=press(T2) "Velocity=velocity(pre)" "Frictional Force of 18N"

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Appendix II
% MATLAB Program to compute the trajectory of a potato using the Euler method. clc; clear all; %* Set initial position and velocity of the potato %y1 = input('Enter initial height (meters): '); y1=0; speed = input('Enter initial speed (m/s): '); % Iterating for the optimum value of theta for maximum horizontal range theta =20; fprintf('Angle \t \t Time of Flight(s) \t \t Range(m) \n') while (theta<=45) r1 = [0, y1]; tau = .01; Cd = 0.35; area = (pi*0.0375^2)/4; grav = 9.81; mass = 0.05; rho = 1.2; % Mass of projectile (kg) % Density of air (kg/m^3) % Initial vector position

v1 = [speed*cos(theta*pi/180), ... speed*sin(theta*pi/180)]; % Initial velocity

r = r1; v = v1; % Set initial position and velocity air_const = -0.5*Cd*rho*area/mass; % Air resistance constant

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%* Loop until potato hits ground or max steps completed maxstep = 1000; % Maximum number of steps for istep=1:maxstep

%* Record position for plotting xplot(istep) = r(1); % Record trajectory for plot yplot(istep) = r(2); t = (istep-1)*tau; % Current time

xNoAir(istep) = r1(1) + v1(1)*t; yNoAir(istep) = r1(2) + v1(2)*t - 0.5*grav*t^2;

% Acceleration of potato accel = air_const*norm(v)*v; % Air resistance accel(2) = accel(2)-grav; % Gravity

%* Calculate the new position and velocity using Euler method r = r + tau*v; v = v + tau*accel; %* If potato reaches ground (y<0) if( r(2) <= 0 && yNoAir(istep)<=0) xplot(istep+1) = r(1); % Record last values computed yplot(istep+1) = r(2); break; end end % Break out of the for loop % Euler step

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%* Print maximum range and time of flight

fprintf('%f \t \t %f \t \t \t %f \n',theta,istep*tau,r(1));

% Mark the location of the ground by a straight line xground = [0 max(xNoAir)]; yground = [0 0];

for j=1:1000 if (yplot(j)>=0) xplot1(j)=xplot(j); yplot1(j)=yplot(j); else break; end end % Plot the trajectory and parabolic, no-air curve plot(xplot1,yplot1,'--',xNoAir,yNoAir,'-',xground,yground,'-'); hold on; theta =theta+2; end legend('Euler method','Theory (No air) '); xlabel('Range (m)'); ylabel('Height (m)'); title('Projectile motion');

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Appendix-III