Ballston Lake is located eight miles northeast of Union College and has been a site of interest for the Geology Department for several years. The water in Ballston Lake is permanently stratified and the south basin contains no oxygen but has high levels of carbon dioxide and other gases.
The Union College Electrical Engineering Department has been collaborating with the Geology Department to create a machine that will be able to automatically collect and transmit data such as the pH, temperature, conductivity, salinity, and dissolved oxygen content. When this project is finished the machine will be left in the lake for ten years to collect data. Every day the machine will take data measurements in increments of one foot; since the lake is 130 feet deep, 130 sets of measurements will be taken each day.
I first began working on this research project during the summer following my Freshman year and then continued to work on it for my sophomore scholars research project. I considered the pros and cons of a lead acid battery and a lithium ion battery and I decided that the twelve-volt lithium ion would be the best battery for this project. This battery has major advantages over the lead acid such as the long cycle and the high specific energy. Since the machine is being left in the lake for ten years, the goal is to have a battery that will last as long as possible.
Once I had chosen a battery I worked on designing the charging station for the lithium ion battery. I also worked to debug the code for the machine. This upcoming Senior year I will be continuing my research on this project by completing tests on our machine in the physics stairwell, as well as the Union College pool.