Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Design and Prototype of a Sustainable Egg-Washer

EPA Grant Number: SU835317
Title: Design and Prototype of a Sustainable Egg-Washer
Investigators: Jung, Sunghwan
Current Investigators: Jung, Sunghwan , Chang, Brian , Fox, Kemper , Kotch, Alex , Sherman, Katie
Institution: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
EPA Project Officer: Lank, Gregory
Project Period: August 15, 2012 through August 14, 2013
Project Amount: $14,986
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Agriculture , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability



Current egg washers on the market are unsuitable for small-scale farms. On one hand, large industrial washers far exceed their acceptable costs and operational needs. They are hardly environmentally sound, requiring excessive quantities of water, energy, and harmful sanitizers to clean. Likewise, small machines, like the popular immersion washer, submerge the egg which can enable harmful contaminants to leach through the eggshell. The objective of this project is to design and construct an affordable, sustainable egg washer for small-scale farms.


To begin, we plan to prototype an egg washer to maximize the efficiency and efficacy of cleaning procedures. Our design consists of a rotating mesh spiral which cleans the egg through a combination of friction, water, and a biodegradable detergent. Second, we will study the mechanics of the egg’s natural motion as it tumbles through the spiral prototype. Both experimental and theoretical analysis of the egg’s dynamics will be performed in order to optimize the effectiveness of the proposed machine. Third, novel in-situ cleanness measurements will be developed and applied to monitor the egg’s exterior. We will further verify our eggs meet USDA regulations. Finally, we will determine the materials and processes required to feasibly manufacture the washer for implementation on small-scale farms.

Expected Results:

This project is part of the senior design course for Engineering Science and Mechanics at Virginia Tech. Anticipated results will be a working prototype chosen from multiple designs. We will include test results supporting our selection. We will characterize the stresses exerted on the egg and provide details on the percentage of contaminants removed, and the combination of water volume, material abrasiveness, and biodegradable detergent that are necessary to clean. The broad impact of this research will be the reduction of toxic chemicals, water, and energy utilized in egg cleaning in agricultural settings. We will explore low-energy methods of performing tasks typically powered with electric or combustion motors and how the design could accommodate various energy sources depending on user preference. As a result of our research, we hope to provide a safe, effective, environmentally-friendly alternative for the small farmer.

Supplemental Keywords:

reduction of pesticides, minimizing water waste, energy-saving agricultural machine, thin-shell mechanics, ovoid mechanics

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report