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Student - in Engineering, USMC 1341 E4

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An artificial sun / moon lighting system for inside gardens, that mimics a natural Circadian Rhythm.

There is something about the natural cycle of plant life that allows the Earth itself to grow plants with more grace and purpose, over an artificial environment. Well all know about it as the Circadian Rhythm.

I am creating an artificial environment for an indoor garden, and I am struggling with finding out an appropriate lighting system that is energy efficient and effective in growing vegetables. Right now, I simply turn the sun lamps and the moon lamps on and off at appropriate times. I thought – wouldn't this shock the plant, and take a lot of energy away from its growth cycle? This introduces the "shock" variable which I did not account for earlier.

I wanted to eliminate this shock variable, because it was too unpredictable. I don't have the means to measure the amount of shock a plant sustains. As a result, I drafted an idea to make my lighting more natural by following the Circadian Rhythm of the planet, based on a map of astronomical cycles programmed into a computer, controlling an artificial day and night sun / moon cycle using high pressure sodium lighting.

With this, I began to think further: Should I also mimic the humidity, temperature, and pressure changes during day and night cycles? When the artificial sun rises, should the temperature increase, and the humidity and air pressure decrease? When the artificial moon rises, should the opposite happen?

I hope to hear what interesting interpretations has on my idea. My name is Taylor, thank you for reading this.


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  • Jun 22 2013: So you want your garden to be isolated form the outside world, well, I still think for the lighting problem reflective optical tubing is a much better solution than artificial light, there are parts of the spectrum that plants need and I'm not sure artificial light can provide, besides converting light to electricity and then back to light is a very inefficient way of doing things. Sealing the tubes don't need to be a problem, just put a light refractor at the end of the tube and seal it with silicon, that will spread light throughout the room and won't bind people, also cover the outside with a transparent acrylic bowl or glass and also seal it with silicon. There are solutions available out there just research a lite bit. I would save the solar panels for the pumps, fans and all other stuff you're going to need.
    • Jun 22 2013: That's a good idea. Light is very easy to accumulate from natural resources, rather than putting through a conversion process.

      And the things that do need that conversion process, such as the pumps and heaters and fans, should be solar-powered. Brilliant!
    • Jun 22 2013: Update:

      There's a product out there called Solarspot, which is a natural form of lighting a home room using reflective tubing. But I really wonder how affective that might be in transferring the natural solar energy?

      • Jun 22 2013: I am sure there is data available on the product or similar from other brands that may help you to make an informed decision, but don't overlook optical fiber either. Maybe a specialized engineer can give you better advise, but if I were you and the light had to travel more than a few yards, or if due to the building's structure it had to make several turns I would rather use optical fiver. I'm sorry I don't have the reference, but I remember back in the 90's there was this Japanese guy who equipped his building with artificial sunflowers to drive sunlight to the basement, as far as I remember he said he had plants there and they grew better than in direct sun light because the optical fiver filtered the UV rays.
        • Jun 22 2013: That's an extremely good piece of information. I'll see if I can find a periodical on that.

          So the optic fibers filtered the UV rays, which are normally slightly harmful to plants just like they're harmful to us. Do you think that it would be any different with high pressure sodium during a flowering stage? High pressure sodium lamps are usually created specifically to emit little or no UV radiation.

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