Marshmallow Measurements

Student in 2.671: Measurement and Instrumentation at MIT

Lee, MA

September-December 2020

2.671 is the MIT MechE "junior capstone," which aims to teach students experimental techniques for observation and measurement of physical variables. It culminates in the Go Forth and Measure projects, where students design and conduct a research study of an everyday phenomenon from start to finish independently, applying various measurement tools and techniques. 

Background

During this remote semester, I lived in Lee, MA with 3 friends. In our backyard, we enjoyed roasting marshmallows over the fire pit to make s'mores. However, due to technical issues with Instacart, we were left with far too many marshmallows to eat after it had become too cold to roast them outside. I thus made it my mission for the semester to determine the best way to microwave marshmallows for indoor s'more enjoyment.

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Happily roasting marshmallows by the outdoor fire pit 

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A disappointing first attempt at microwaving a marshmallow

Verifying Homogeneity of Microwave Heating

I microwaved a segmented bowl of water to validate that the microwave, with its rotating plate, uniformly heated its contents, so that the location of the marshmallow in the microwave could be ignored.

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Segmented bowl

FLIR E6 IR camera

Microwave

I implemented the Hough transform in MATLAB to identify the 4 quadrants of the bowl, captured using a FLIR E6 infrared camera.

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Experimental Measurements

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Puncture test

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Temperature test

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Compression test

Final Report and Poster