1. Introduction

Our project is developing an air quality sensor and an air quality purifier. We will be mostly focusing on detecting haze/smoke qualities, as well as purify them. However, our purifier is a miniature version of the purifier, and will not really purify a reasonable amount of air unless its size is increased. Also, we will be doing a lot of discussion such as which type of air sensor and filter system to use, as well as effectiveness. Last but not least, we will conclude with our reflections, bibliography, and others.

1.1   Engineering Problem

Being a dilemma in many countries, haze causes many problems to us. Haze is a phenomenon when dust, smoke and other particles fill up the air which makes the sky unclear and usually plagues certain parts of  the world at certain times and seasons and can be very hazardous to the young and old. Despite being a taboo in many countries, many people cannot run away from the fact that the haze in their vicinity will always pose problems and they will have to fix it sooner or later. A more recent example is the haze in Singapore. Haze from Indonesia blows off to Singapore and broke the record from  PSI 296 in 1996 to PSI 401 in 2013. Many Singaporeans complained and tried to protect themselves from the haze by buying the N95 masks but most could not acquire one when needed. The haze became less serious by the end of June.

People suffering from asthma are much more vulnerable to the haze and its effects. Many will encounter difficulty breathing when walking out in the open. Taking a leisurely stroll might just be life threatening to them. At very high psi, the haze will still pose a health risk to the general public. Many people might suffer medical conditions from the particles in the haze. Illnesses related to haze includes conjunctivitis, asthma, upper respiratory tract infection and bronchitis.(Mr Gerald Tan Soo Yong,_) The smoke particles will damage the ecosystem because birds and other animals might not be able to take the smoke for a long period of time. They will often die and their corpses will lie all around. The food web will get disrupted and there will be many undesirable outcomes. (_,_)
As stated earlier, haze causes health related issues when people faced prolonged exposure to harmful particles and gases in the haze such as , PM 2.5, PM 10, ozone, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and other harmful gases.(_,_) Haze also causes a reduction in visibility, thus increasing the chances of traffic-related accidents to increase due to the fact that it would be harder to see while driving.(_,_) Also, many tourist attractions have been affected during the haze in June 2013 due to the fact that it would be hazardous or would be unhealthy for staff to operate.(_,_) This would affect our economy and our reputation of being a clean and green county and foreigners would be discouraged to return to Singapore in the future due to their bad experiences they had during the period when the haze struck.Despite the haze in June, many construction workers still had to continue working and this might have caused illness for the workers if they had not had taken the appropriate steps. Around 600 schools in Malaysia had been closed down since it was too hazardous for the students to attend school.(_,_)

Hazes are caused by many actions and events.Forest fires are the more widely-known cause of haze. Forest fires are caused by either humans or nature. Farmers who use the ‘slash and burn’ method are the main cause of forest fires which produce the haze. Most of the time, farmers know that their actions are wrong but they do not have a choice because of the benefits the method towards their own crops. In terms of forest fires produced naturally, they are mostly common during summer, when temperatures get very high. It is still partly due to global warming, which is mostly associated with human activities, but will still be classified as naturally-caused. This is the main cause of haze that we would be focusing on. The other ways of producing haze, would be volcanic haze and industrial haze. Volcano haze are formed when volcanoes get active and smoke from the lava floods the nearby area around the volcano. This kind of haze is the most dangerous kind. They contain very toxic particles that can easily kill you. Industrial haze is usually caused when there are too many vehicles and/or too many factories polluting the air. It is more common in the city areas. Forest-fire related haze is still the main object of this project.

There a few amendments which have already been taken by the countries affected by the haze. Firstly, Indonesia tried to stop the haze by stopping the main source of the haze, the forest fire. They did this by extinguishing the fire and by preventing their citizens from further burning the forest. Singapore on it’s part tried to provide masks for their citizens, such as N95 mask to protect them from breathing in harmful gases and particles. However, most department stores quickly ran out of masks and most people had to go without masks or stay indoors.

1.2  Engineering Goal

To develop a system to detect air quality levels as well as purify it

1.3  Specific Requirements

Our design must meet the following requirements:

o Must be cost saving
This is one of our requirements since we do not want to spend too much money on developing an air sensor and purifier, not like any others which cost way too much, making it unaffordable. An example is making a PM 2.5 sensor, which cost over a hundred thousand. The sensor itself will not cost as much as the PM 2.5 sensor, but maybe just a cheap light sensor, not radioactive or any sort.

We would also maybe like to make it available to the public use, where not only really wealthy people use. This way,  everyone would not need to have a television wherever they are just to find out what the quality of the air
they are breathing is.

However, there are cons. Since we cannot make a PM 2.5 sensor like the NEA, the way we are using will not be as accurate as NEA’s reading.

Still, the pros overpower the cons, and we will want to make our project cost saving.

o Must be durable
This is one of our requirements since we want people to be able to use it for a rather reasonably long time, and such that it does not wear out very fast, like some cheap item where you buy from unprofessional stores. Since we might be promoting this to the public, we want it to last long, not like some items bought very cheaply which spoils really quickly.

Secondly, since this is not a cheap project to start with, we need to make use of our money as smartly as possible.
We will want to make it a value for the school’s money, and not throw it away as if it was for granted. The school gave us this chance to do this project and we will treasure it and not let this go to waste.

Lastly, if it is not durable, we might have to fix it or replace some parts every now and then. This will be a serious problem since we have certain time and money constraints. We rather make one nice and durable, so as to avoid problems in the future.

However, since it is durable, we might need to spend a little bit more of our budget so as to maybe strengthen the materials of the device, or other things.

Still again, the pros overpower the cons, thus we will want to make it durable.

o Must be efficient
Building an efficient device is crucial to the project. No one wants to wait an hour or two just to get a reading from a haze sensor. No one would want to wait another hour just for the air to be filtered. We would want it to be sensed and filtered on the spot, as accurate and fast as possible. Efficiency is so important in order for our project to be usable.

Also, if it is not efficient, people might not even want to use the device, and would rather turn on the television or the air-con to check the PSI of the air and to breathe in fresh air.

However, since it is durable, we might need to spend a little bit more of our budget so as to maybe strengthen the materials of the device, or other things.


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