Marco Baez


The demand for food is increasing with the growing population. The pork industry is currently thriving and will continue to prosper as long as sows continue to reproduce. However, the reproduction of pigs is currently facing the problem of heat stress. Environmental temperatures are reaching extremes, and lactating sows produce less milk for offspring when they are in hot weather. The main reason that they produce less is because of undernourishment. Sows eat less when hot, because when they do eat, it actually causes them to heat-up. The goal of the overall cooling pad effort is to reduce the heat stress on the sows by allowing them to eat more and improving their performance. Researchers have developed a cooling pad made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), copper piping, and an aluminum plate. These materials allow for easy waste heat transfer away from the sow. Cool water is pumped through the piping. When the hot sow lays on the pad, the water begins to warm and is eventually flushed with cool water. Various coolant flow patterns were tried in order to find the most effective way to use the pad, either by time interval or temperature threshold control. The primary goal of the summer research was aiding in the development of a cooling pad in resolving the problem of heat stress in sows and improving the manufacturability of multiple units to aid in large scale testing of the device.