Electronic Fish Barrier System: Electrode Configuration Testing

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Ganesh Babu


Arts and Sciences


Environmental Science

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-23-2016


Our Great Lakes are under attack by the invasive Asian carp. If they were to establish themselves in the lakes, it would prove detrimental to the ecosystem and the multi-million dollar fishing industry. A billion dollar electronic fish barrier system was put in place to stop this, but with time its flaws were made evident. By changing the configuration of the electrodes and grounding structures, I was able to address these issues at 2% scale. To prove that this can be achieved at a larger scale, a grant from the USGS allowed me to build a 5 times larger model for testing located at the Purdue Wildlife Area. Once the 10% model was in place, creating a power source that represented the correct scale voltage and amperage and building a working sensor system was a design challenge. After the power source and sensors were installed, differing electrode sizes, shapes, and configurations (horizontal, vertical, vertical w/ cable, “L” shaped) were placed and tested. The most important finding of this project to date is that electrode configuration is important, but the voltage to amperage ratio applied to those electrodes is even more so. As testing continues, these configuration and voltage ratios will be perfected, a larger model may be built, and living fish will be introduced to see the biological effects of the new barrier design.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Brandon Benninger’s research has been on improving a barrier that is being used to stop the migration of Asian carp. He first improved the electrical gradient produced by the barrier. This project was awarded a finalist spot at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). He then redesigned the barrier to make it safer and easier to maintain. This research was awarded 4th place at the 2013 ISEF which created new interest and funding for the project. Through the USGS and Purdue University, Brandon has continued this research at a much larger scale while earning degrees at both Valparaiso University and Purdue University.

This document is currently not available here.