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Amanda Healey

on 23 October 2014

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By Amanda Healey, Jadon Kirkorian, Griffin Handfield, and Emhil Johnson
1.) Identify the need or problem
2.) Research the need or problem
3.) Develop possible solutions
4.) Select best possible solution(s)
5.) Construct a prototype
6.) Test and Evaluate
7.) Communicate the solutions
8.) Redesign
The problem that was given to the class by Mr. Wright is that we must design a package to ship through the U.S. postal service that will protect a single "Ruffles" potato chip, not allowing it to break. The package must also weigh an amount in which it is no more than $2.35 to ship. This means that it could not exceed 3 ounces.
To research how to package our chip, we searched online about what materials would be best - meaning the lightest, most protective materials that we had access to. This means that heavier materials such as clay would not be suitable for this assignment. Also, some materials would not cushion the chip enough, such as cardboard that directly surrounded the chip. Another element that we researched was how much the package would be able to weigh in order for it to cost $2.35 or less to ship.
The next step that we had to complete was to brainstorm several different ways in which we could package our chip. Some materials that we were considering were packaging peanuts, foam, cotton balls, or bubble wrap. Also, we had to decide on what size our package would be, along with what material we would use to make the box. We were considering both card stock (because it would be lighter) or cardboard (because it would be sturdier)
Next, we had to select the best options that we had brainstormed. We decided upon using a type of foam that was extremely light-weight and could easily be cut into the right shape for our chip. We also chose to surround the chip, inside the foam, with a thin layer of cotton balls. We used cardboard to make our box instead of card stock, as we needed it to be as strong as possible.
When we built our package, we started by cutting a block of our foam to the desired size. We then cut the block in half and carved out an area between the two blocks in which we would place the chip. Once that was done, we placed our chip in the foam and surrounded it by a couple ripped up cotton balls. Then, we constructed a cardboard box that was an accurate size to fit the blocks of foam, and we used packaging tape to close up the box. The finished product ended up with dimensions of 4.25 x 3.5 x 2.75 inches.
To test our package, we started by weighing it. It ended up weighing only 2.05 ounces, less than the maximum of about 3 ounces. Also, to test our package, we dropped it on the ground (with our practice chip), and it held up easily. At that point, we knew that our chip would hold up when we shipped it.
To communicate our solutions on how we packaged the chip, we made a prezi on the eight steps of the engineering design process and how we followed them, including our research, our planning, and the steps to how we built the package. Also, we communicated our solutions by presenting Mr. Wright with our completed package, ready to ship.
When we opened our package, we found out that the chip had shipped without breaking. Therefore, redesigning our package would not be necessary - but we could still have made improvements. We could have made our package lighter by putting less tape and making our cardboard box smaller.
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