Group Project Proposal (Engineering)



Names: Anshiqa Agrawal, Tang Wen Yu, Yash Dixit Ashok, Koh Jin Wei

Class: S2-01

Group Reference: G

1.    Indicate the type of research that you are adopting:

[        ] Test a hypothesis: Hypothesis-driven research

e.g. Investigation of the anti-bacterial effect of chrysanthemum

[        ] Measure a value: Experimental research (I)

e.g. Determination of the mass of Jupiter using planetary photography

[    ] Measure a function or relationship: Experimental research (II)

e.g. Investigation of the effect of temperature on the growth of crystals

[        ] Construct a model: Theoretical sciences and applied mathematics

e.g. Modeling of the cooling curve of naphthalene

[        ] Observational and exploratory research

e.g. Investigation of the soil quality in School of Science and Technology, Singapore  

[  X  ] Improve a product or process: Industrial and applied research

e.g. Development of a SMART and GREEN energy system for households  

2.    Write a research proposal of your interested topic in the following format:

Title: Development of a tide simulator that follows the actual pattern of the sea tides to rear intertidal  zone creatures like crabs.

A.    Problem being addressed

The intertidal zone is the area of the shore and seabed that is exposed to the air at low tide and submerged at high tide. Organisms found there are mostly small and uncomplicated, such as anemones and crabs. (Jennifer. B) On the shore, crab feed at the littoral (the shore zone between high tide and low tide points) at high tide and are usually hidden at low tide or scavenge for food. At night they move about freely at low tide, presumably because there is no predation from birds such as the herring gull. (Naylor 1958), (B, 1957).  The intertidal zone is a tough environment for the crabs to live in. They might face boiling hot temperatures in summer or freezing cold ones in winter when exposed to air during low tide (Pashley, 2011). The amount of water the crabs receive is intermittent, the wave action might also wash them away if not properly situated and the salinity of the water here is higher. (Jennifer. B)

Tides are affected by the proximity of the moon to Earth as its gravity pulls the tides in. As the tides rise in a certain zone, adjacent areas will experience low tides due to the drawing in of water at the high tide area. This causes a bulge effect where the opposite area experiences high tide too. This happens because if we resolve the tidal forces at each point on the Earth into a local vertical and horizontal component, the horizontal components are not zero, and are directed towards the two points along the line connecting the Earth and the Moon's centers. These horizontal forces cause rock and water to feel a gravitational force which results in the flow of rock and water into the 'tidal bulges'. There will be exactly two of these bulges.(Cooley, 2002). So, if the moon was above the East, it and West would be experiencing high tide while North and South would low tide.

Singapore has two low tides and two high tides everyday. However, these tides are inconsistent as their level and timings changes everyday. Each high tide and low tide lasts for a certain time, about 6 ¼ hours (tides4fishing, 2014) before slowly receding or incoming.  

When intertidal zone creatures are captured and put in tanks, it is difficult for them to adapt to their new surroundings and this majorly decreases their lifespan as their health dwindles. Their habits and behavioural practices may also differ from in the natural habitat. This can prove to be an obstruction during experiments and researches conducted in labs and marine life parks. On a smaller scale, when sea creatures, like crabs, are kept in captivity in restaurants, it is a necessity to kill them as they cannot survive in store. With a tide simulator, where tides are brought into the meager tanks, intertidal zone creatures will be able to survive for much longer in a healthy state as well. When their natural environment can also be replicated, with the seabed and associated biological existence, their constitution will proliferate. As such, lab test and researches conducted will be more accurate due to the fact that marine biologists will be able to examine these creatures in their natural habitat live.

B.    Goals

Singapore has two low tides and two high tides everyday. However, these tides are inconsistent as their level and timings changes everyday (Tan, 2009). Each high tide and low tide lasts for a certain time before slowly receding or incoming (tides4fishing, 2014). Our goal is to simulate these sea patterns and timings under a controlled environment, which would be the set-up of the tanks.

Specify Requirements

In particular, we want  

  1. The tide simulator to follow the sea tide pattern.  

The tide timings for one day are:

 12:18 am - 7.01 am …………………….  High tide (7 hrs)

 7.01 am - 1.48 pm ………………………  Low tide (6 hrs)

 1.48pm - 7.16 pm ………………………. High tide (6 and half hrs)

 7.16 pm - 12.52 am( 2nd day) …………  Low tide (6 hrs)

Average of 6 and one quarter interval between each tide. This is the pattern that will be followed in the set up. In particular, we want  

  1. The tide simulator to follow the sea tide pattern.  

The tide timings for one day are:

 12:18 am - 7.01 am …………………….  High tide (7 hrs)

 7.01 am - 1.48 pm ………………………  Low tide (6 hrs)

 1.48pm - 7.16 pm ………………………. High tide (6 and half hrs)

 7.16 pm - 12.52 am( 2nd day) …………  Low tide (6 hrs)

Average of 6 and one quarter interval between each tide. This is the pattern that will be followed in the set up.

Alternative Solutions

Solution 1: Weight Tank


1 Pulley

1 Motor

2 Metal Weights

1 Tank

1 Arduino

1 divider with holes

a few support beams


Anshiqa - ISS Drawings copy S1.png


According to the diagram, two similar metal weights are hung on a pulley, which is connected to a motor. Programmed with an arduino, the motor would be programmed to spin clockwise and then anticlockwise, at regular intervals thus, spinning the pulley as well. This would allow the weights on either side to rise and fall. Once water is added into the tank, the rise and fall of height of the weight in the tank and the rise and fall in water level would be inversely proportionate. So, when the weight sinks into the tank, the water level would rise due to the extra volume inserted (high tide) and when the weight is brought back up, the water level will fall again as the extra volume is removed (low tide). This process will be repeated in a cycle. Simulating the rising and falling of tides.


The setting up is simple and the data collected will give a nice, smooth curve when plotted on graph as the water will rise and fall would be very smooth due to the fact that we could programme the motor.


The entire set-up is too big and bulky with two metal weights at the side and a tank. It would not be convenient when it comes to keeping in a restaurant or even a house.

Solution 2: Dual Pumps


2 tanks

2 pumps

1 Arduino

Diagram:Anshiqa - ISS Drawings S2.jpeg


Two tanks would be positioned beside each other and a pump would be going from either tank into the other, as shown above. So, water from Tank A can flow to tank B and the other way round too. Firstly, one of the pumps will start and water from that tank A will flow into Tank B, causing a low tide in A. Then, the pump will be stopped and the pump in Tank B will start so now, water will flow from Tank B back to A, causing high tide in Tank A. The pumps will be programmed by Arduino on a relay circuit so they will start and stop at certain intervals.This process will repeated in a cycle.


Setting this up is simple and the coding on arduino will also be relatively easy. Also, the set up will be easy to control and the flow of water will be gradual, thus the data will result in a smooth curve on the graph.


The tanks are placed on the same level, thus gravity will not come into play. So, more energy will be required to feed two pumps to allow flow to and fro both tanks. Thus the monetary value used to run this machinery would be very costly, especially the price of electricity. From another point of view, the use of electricity would also result in global warming due to the generation of electricity.

Solution 3


2 tanks

1 pump

1 pipe


 Anshiqa - ISS Drawings 1 copy S3.jpeg


As from the diagram, the tanks are arranged in a way that, one is higher than the other; this would play on the gravity of the earth. A pipe is connected from the higher tank to the lower tank. This would allow water to flow down at a constant rate due to gravity. There will be a pump in the lower tank, so water can also flow from the lower tank to the upper tank as well. However, the pump will be pumping water at a faster rate than water flows through the pipe due to gravity. Firstly, the pump will be started, so water will flow into the upper tank faster than it flows out of it, creating high tide. Then after a some time, the pump will stop and water will only be flowing out of the upper tank, causing a low tide in it. This process will repeated in a cycle.


Gravity will come into play in one way of water flow, so energy will only be required to start up one pump. Coding the arduino here will be simple as it is only for one pump because the flow from higher tank will be by gravity and constant.


The drop in water level during high tide will be quite sharp, unlike the actual sea tide pattern. Thus, the graph plotted will not be a smooth curve. Calibration to make sure the flow of water is constant, and accurate will also be needed, which will prove to be difficult.

Solution 4:


2 tanks

1 bell siphon

1 pump

1 Arduino


Anshiqa - ISS Drawings 1 S4.jpeg


This method works by arranging two tanks, one above the other. A bell siphon will be placed at the bottom on the upper tank, leading to the lower tank so water from the upper tank can be drained into the lower tank. The bell syphon works by allowing water to collect in the tank until the water level is above the bell and then begins draining out the water in the tank (Japan A.).

Firstly, the pump will start pumping water from the lower tank into the upper tank, causing a low tide in the lower tank. Then, once the water level in the upper tank hits the bell siphon level, the pump will stop and the siphon will begin draining out the water from the upper tank into the lower tank, creating high tide in the lower tank. This process will be repeated in a cycle.


The set up is very easy with the addition bell siphon and setting the two tanks at different heights. The pump would pump water from the lower tank from the higher tank while the siphon would drain out the water from the higher tank into the lower one.


The decrease in water in the tank would be too abrupt, leaving a saw tooth pattern if the data were plotted on a graph, whereas a sin graph is needed.

Solution 5:


2 tanks

1 Claber Male threaded two-way Tap connector 

1 pump

2 relays

2 arduino-based water sensors

1 Arduino


Anshiqa - ISS Drawings 2 S5.jpeg


There are two tanks, A and B. A pump in tank B will be leading to tank A, allowing water flow from B to A. There will also be two arduino-based water sensors, one at the maximum water level (high tide) and one at the minimum water level (low tide). The two pipes will be connected by a claber male threaded two-way tap connector, which allows water to flow both either way by turning an internal ‘dam’. The pump, tap and water sensors will be connected to one arduino board. The water level in tank B will be touching the first water sensor and because of this Arduino will trigger the Stepper motor to turn, stopping flow of water through the tap and then start up the pump. Water will now flow from Tank B to A, creating a high tide in Tank A. Once the water level in Tank B drops to the lower water sensor, Arduino will trigger the stop of the pump and the turn of the stepper motor, allowing the flow of water from Tank A to B. Now, water will flow out from Tank A into Tank B, creating low tide in Tank A. Once the water level in Tank B reaches the higher sensor again, the process will be repeated in a cycle.


The increase and decrease in the water level in the tank will be gradual and slow. This will result in smooth graph when the results are plotted.


We will need to program arduino to control four appliances. The sensors, measuring the water level, will trigger a reaction in the arduino to turn on the tap and the pump at certain intervals. This will definitely prove to be a challenge to code as this set up is quite high tech.

Best solution and reason

The best solution is solution 5. This is an innovative solution that will allow us to learn extensively. The disadvantage of not being able to program arduino can be overcome easily as we can pick up the relevant skills. This is unlike the disadvantages of the rest of the solutions that will not be as easy to solve because they require us to change an entire element of the design. Once the disadvantage is overcome, the advantage will greatly benefit us and help us achieve our desired results. After looking at the diagram again, we realized that the positioning of the sensors would result in a more complicated code in Arduino and the whole project is mojorly dependent on Arduino. Thus, to simplify it, we decided to rearrange the sensors, such that there is one in each tank, so the water will not be touching two at the same time. Also, instead of a Tap connector, we will be using another pump, so there will be one pump in each tank.

The arduino-based water sensor is used to detect when the water has reached a certain level. It has three parts: An Electronic brick connector, a 1 MΩ resistor and several lines of bare conducting wires. The circuit in the water sensor will work with the arduino to detect the amount of water that has been in contact. It also has low power consumption and high sensitivity, allowing it to be highly efficient in aiding with the project. The water sensor can judge the water level through a series of exposed parallel wires stitch to measure the water droplet/size. We will be constructing a water sensor with a similar concept. The important idea is that salt water conducts electricity. So, we will be connecting a wire to each end of a battery without connecting the two wires together. This will result in an open circuit and when water closes the gap, the circuit will close, causing electricity to flow through. This clearly indicates that water has reached the circuit, and thus the level needed. When the lower sensor detects water, it would instruct Arduino to stop the pump, start the stepper motor, which would turn the tap connector, allowing water to flow through to the other tank. Once the water reaches the higher water sensor, it will instruct Arduino to close the stepper motor, turning the tap connector again, so water cannot flow through to the tank, and start the pump. The cycle will repeat as the water level would keep hitting the sensors alternatively. This saves a lot of human effort as we do not need to be there to manually switch on or off the pump and stepper motor.

C.    Description in detail of method or procedures (The following are important and key items that should be included when formulating ANY AND ALL research plans.)

Equipment list:

  1. Tank x 2
  2. Relay x 2
  3. Wires x 4
  4. Battery x 2
  5. Water pump (200L/H) x 2
  6. Arduino x 1

Procedures: Detail all procedures and experimental design to be used for data collection

  1. Buy all materials and equipment in a good working condition.
  2. Place a water pump in Tank B, with the pipe leading into Tank A.
  3. Place a water pump in Tank A, with the pipe leading into Tank B.
  4. Create a open circuit with 2 wires and a battery.
  5. Place the gap in the circuit in the Tank A at the required level and tape it to the tank’s side.
  6. Repeat Steps 5 and 6, placing the water sensor in Tank B this time.
  7. Open the pumps plug and connect the positive and negative wires to the relay units.
  8. Connect the relay units to Arduino.
  9. Connect the water sensors to Arduino as well.
  10. Code Arduino to time the pump startings and endings, such that each tide lasts for 6 ¼ hours.
  11. The pump in Tank A should switch on first. The pump will work in this sequence: work for 230, rest for 230s, work for 230s, rest for 460s, work for 230s, rest for 690s and so on for 3 ⅛ hrs (11250s). This will create a high tide in Tank B in a sine curve.
  12. Once the water level in Tank B reaches the water sensor, Arduino will switch off the pump and begin the one in Tank B instead.
  13. The pump in Tank B will work in the same sequence as that in Tank A for another 3 ⅛ hrs. At the end of the 3 ⅛ hrs, Tank B should have a low tide. This way, each tide last for  3 ⅛ + 3 ⅛ = 6 ¼ hrs.
  14. When the water level reaches the sensor in Tank A, the pump in Tank B will be switched off and that in Tank A will turn on, repeating the process in a cycle again.
  15. After the process is confirmed, label the tanks at certain water levels so it will be easy to identify the water height at any time.
  16. Take a video and pictures of the entire process from the 1st hour to the last.
  17. Record down all data collected in a table. The water level in tank B at each hour will be easily seen from the video and the marks.
  18. Transfer the data onto a graph for analysis.


iss diagram.jpeg

• Risk and Safety: Identify any potential risks and safety precautions to be taken.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 7.03.51 PM.png

- As we are dealing with water, we have to be careful not to slip on any spilled water.

- We have to be careful when carrying the tanks as they have sharp edges or might break.

- We will be using tools, such as a drill, so we will have to be careful around those.

- As electricity conducts water, we have to ensure that the water doesn’t touch any uncovered wires or switches and not to touch any electronics with wet hands.

 Data Analysis: Describe the procedures you will use to analyze the data/results that answer research questions or hypotheses

We will set up a video camera near the tanks to record how the water level changes. The tanks will be marked at various levels so we can tell how much the water has risen or fallen from the video. The video will also be properly timed. We will then watch the video and record what the water level is at certain intervals on a table. The tabulated data will then be transferred on to a graph. The graph will have the y-axis labeled as the “height of the water” and x-axis as “time”. We will plot the graph and join the crosses up to plot a curve. The curve should be a smooth one with gradual rises and falls if the engineering is up to standard.

Data collection table: 












Water level(cm)

With the data filled in the table, we will be able to plot a graph that looks like the one below. A smooth sine graph with each high tide at a difference of 12/13 hours.


D. Bibliography: List at least five (5) major references (e.g. science journal articles, books, internet sites) from your literature review. If you plan to use vertebrate animals, one of these references must be an animal care reference. Choose the APA format and use it consistently to reference the literature used in the research plan. List your entries in alphabetical order.

Bove, J. (n.d.). Intertidal zones. . Retrieved , from

 B, L. (1957, January 1). Tidal rhythm behaviour in the shore-crab Helice crassa (DANA, 1852).. . Retrieved , from

Harris, T. (n.d.). How Wave Pools Work. . Retrieved , from

High Sensitivity Water Sensor -Arduino Compatible. (n.d.). . Retrieved , from

Nurul, A.A. (2014, May 13). Fourth Resorts World Sentosa dolphin dies. . Retrieved , from

Pashley, H. (2011, January 18). How Do Tides Affect Marine Animals?. . Retrieved , from

Tide Chart: high tides and low tides in Singapore . (2104, July 15). . Retrieved , from

The Rise and Fall of Tides. (n.d.). Know all about Tides, school project.. Retrieved July 15, 2014, from

St-Charles, A. (n.d.). Japan Aquaponics DIY Aquaponics Guides Autosiphons - Bell Siphons & Loop Siphons. . Retrieved , from

 W, M. (n.d.). Littoral. . Retrieved , from