Date of Award

Summer 2023

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Rafael Rodriguez

First Committee Member

Marc Compere

Second Committee Member

Marwa El-Sayed

College Dean

James W. Gregory


The global population has grown by 6 billion people over the last century and is trending toward 9.7 billion people by the year 2050. Agriculture accounts for 70% of global fresh water usage. Technology must be developed to accommodate the increase of food production demanded by the growing global population and the subsequent increase in water usage. Aeroponic technology is a water-efficient vertical farming technology that can reduce water usage by 90% by suspending plant roots in air within a controlled chamber and supplying atomized droplets of a water-nutrient solution directly to the roots.

This study simultaneously tests six droplet sizes of 10 πœ‡m, 28 πœ‡m, 46 πœ‡m, 64 πœ‡m, 82 πœ‡m, and 100 πœ‡m in an experimental aeroponic system by growing butterhead lettuce over a span of 12 days under controlled conditions. After conducting three experiments, the findings indicated that the droplet range of 64 πœ‡m to 82 πœ‡m experienced the most growth under the reported test conditions by evaluating the change in total length and change in number of leaves growing from the plant stem.