Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project

First Advisor

Bahram Nassersharif


Team Defender was tasked under the sponsorship of Neptune Benson to design a device capable of automating the transfer of their filtration media of choice, perlite, from the packaging into their varying Defender ®Regenerative Filtration system models. The current process used for this media transfer is time consuming, inefficient, labor intensive, and leads to overexposure to the perlite media.

There were a multitude of parameters that needed to be considered during the concept generation of this particular design in order to properly solve the task at hand. In addition to the aforementioned automation of the feed process and inherent compatibility with the existing Defender design, the product needed to be cost efficient, compact, mobile, and have complimentary safety features. After consultation with the project sponsor, it was determined that the principal issue that would be encountered during the design process would be flow stagnation brought on by the jagged interlocked structure of perlite media.

Due to the properties of the perlite media, it was concluded that a mixer would be the most viable, and cost efficient solution as a primary option for ensuring continuous flow. In the first generation prototype, the team weighed the options for mixer designs, and led to the design of a mixer that used arms of various lengths to create a contact with the edge of the conical section of the hopper. This mixer was attached to a rotational motor that was fed through the outlet assembly and into the bottom of the container. After testing at the Neptune Benson facility, it was determined that this stir design was incomplete in its functionality, and that some sort of other contacts would have to be added to the arms in order to produce a viable design. The final design implemented a larger hopper with a steeper cone angle. The new mixer was also added to this design, which included extra rubber flanges to the ends of the stir arms for added contact points on the edge of the container. This setup was placed on a mobile rig, allowing for easy maneuverability. While the final redesign has not yet been field tested, the initial prototype design yielded extremely positive results for the team. While there were still stagnant zones along the edge of the container that created build up of perlite due to incomplete design of the stir; but the overall mass flow rate calculated during the field test was much better than initially anticipated during engineering analysis, as it was found to be 28.86 lb/min. Given on these results, this system is calculated to increase efficiency of the current process by over 500 percent. with the final redesign, a product can be produced that can appeal to consumers as a viable attachment to their Defender units.


Sponsor: Neptun Benson

Sponsor Representative: Nicholas DiRocco