Robby Kasten '19 recently presented the results of his independent study on erosion. In addition to the Academic committee and other guests totaling more than 30, Robby also presented with ease to our Trustees last week.
Robby spent countless hours researching erosion, gathering data points from his hand-crafted wave pool. As part of his independent study Robby extended his learning to a multitude of areas he had not originally thought of. From mechanicals to algorithms to sea soil and waves to time management and customer service, each was covered in his body of work. Learning how to deal with setbacks was a particularly important result of his overall experience. In the end we see a variety of lessons learned; all of which came from a leisurely stroll on the island of Nantucket.
Robby's first exposure to the damaging effects of erosion occurred while visiting his uncle in Siasconset, he could see the many erosion issues facing Nantucket. Over the last 20 years the island has lost over a mile of coastline.
To explore erosion further and investigate possible solutions, Robby made his own complex wave pool in the Wachtmeister-Bates Science Building greenhouse. He repurposed an old planting trough to mimic his mini ocean and host the tide pool, handling both the software and hardware aspects of the project himself. Impressively, he taught himself how to program and use an Arduino uno computer chip with a few servos to create the high wave pool.
The wave pool is 1.5 inches deep and creates small waves that hit a shoreline made of sand and rocks. The servo rotates the paddle back and forth to create the waves in the tide pool. After many experiments he found that tube sand is the best material to make shorelines as it is not uniform and allows the mock shoreline to random like a real shoreline.
Robby then documented the effects of the waves on his sand shorelines by using a time-lapse camera which runs for 6-8 hours at a time then plotted the data using special algorithm software.
To view Robby's full presentation, click here.