The Gaia Milk Dryer is a mechanically powered milk dehydrator meant for dairy farmers in Guyana. The initial concept was the result of brainstorming products with the theme of food. As one of the two system integrators for a team of eighteen, I was involved on a higher level on every aspect of the project. The final prototype was able to produce powdered milk under ideal conditions, although not at the efficiency we had hoped for.
After an initial feasibility study, we worked to identify, research, and test different impementations of the main components of the dryer. In addition to my duties as system integrator, I was in the sub-group that designed and tested the idea of using pressurized steam to maintain a constant temperature.
After several designs, we decided to make the pressure vessel double as the drum drying surface. We conducted some initial tests with a pressure cooker to determine whether the application of a liquid would significantly change the surface temperature of the vessel. We used an air tank as the pressure vessel and sanded it for a smoother drying and scraping surface.
The dryer went through several iterations of the full assembly, which I worked on with another teammate. We explored eventually settled on a two person system in which one person would pedal and the other would manage the fire and refill the milk.