Principia Prize 2020



Principia Prize 2020

  • 09:00 - 17:00
  • Drienerlolaan 5, 7522 NB Enschede
  • Enschede

Come up with a solution with small dams, with which the water in a potato field does not flow away but is preserved. On Thursday 19 November, Mechanical Engineering students from the University of Twente will consider this question during the second edition of the Principia Prize. The winning team earns 3000 euros.

Principia Prize: Mechanical Engineering students come up with a solution for Dewulf

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Erosion-Stop by Dewulf

Organizing this year principle, the alumni association of mechanical engineers of the University of Twente, this brainteaser together with the high-tech companies of Innovationcluster. High-tech company Dewulf introduces the case, on which the students can work their brains out for a day. A jury, consisting of representatives of Innovatiecluster Drachten and members of Principia and the University of Twente, assess the smart solutions.  

The case

Areas with hilly plots of potatoes suffer from runoff during heavy rainfall. A lot of soil is then washed away with the result that roads and ditches are blocked. In a number of countries, this has resulted in the obligation for arable farmers to prevent runoff. Dewulf has developed a system for this that creates small dams or thresholds between the sandy ridges with potatoes. These thresholds prevent water and nutrients from being washed away. Dewulf calls the system the Erosion-Stop.

The Erosion-Stop is mounted on the agricultural machine that makes the ridges in which the potatoes grow. The system works with a central shaft driven by a hydraulic motor. One shovel is served for each row. 

There is now a demand for a system to create thresholds that can be switched on or off per row. Especially the outer rows can be switched on and off via GPS. This prevents double thresholds from being created on the outer rows. Due to double thresholds, the outer wheels of the planters and the tractor no longer drive over thresholds. The result is that the machine runs more stable and the comfort for the driver increases. 

Research question 

Think of a system that can create barriers between potato ridges and can be switched on and off per row. It must be possible to adjust the height and distance between the thresholds. Focus on a 4-row system. 

To demand 

Dewulf imposes additional requirements on the system that the students have to take into account. The most important are that it must be possible to switch on and off remotely, that the distance between the thresholds can be set, that the system is not too heavy and that the cost price is a maximum of 10 percent higher than the current system.

Principia Price 

The Principia Prize has been revived since last year. Together with study association Isaac Newton, Principia is organizing this substantive competition for Mechanical Engineering students. Read more about the Principia Prize 2019.