• Kate had designed a large cone shaped diverter, but when we tried pumping water with it attached not enough water got out and it was too heavy. We wanted to design a device that spread the water out equally when it exited the top. We cut off the bottom of the old diverter making a very small cone, which we attached to the top with a wire.

  • I haven't had much to photograph the last few days of this project. Since I decided, much more logically, to use cactus to feed cattle, there wasn't much to physically do. I have been doing a lot of research and economic modeling. It hasn't been the most entertaining but I have become more organized with my arguments and I feel much more knowledgeable about what I'm talking about. The VENSIM modeling has been a struggle for me. my model went from being fairly straightforward to being pretty complex, with a LOT of help from Ammar. I was able to help a bit, but I don't know what I'm doing on the program enough to be helpful. I tried to add the weather as a variable and now the model won't work at all. Whoops! It worked long enough before the attempt to add the weather for us to get sufficient data. The model was very helpful. It told us that you would have to produce 68 million pounds of cactus in order to be profitable.

    The idea is possibly economically feasible. It is also difficult to predict the price of cactus, as not many places produce cactus in such quantity. However, as time goes by, the price of corn goes up as there becomes less and less available. Likewise, if a trend in favor of cactus continues, the price of cactus would go down as it becomes more plentiful.

    I never ended up figuring out exactly how long it takes cactus to grow. I would have guessed that it would take a very long time for the cactus to grow, but the information I did find said that 60,000 lbs of cactus could be grown per acre annually. Therefore I would guess it takes around a year for cactus to grow.

    The cooking really did not go well... I'm glad I didn't continue with that part of the project. I'm not sure how to incorporate that into the presentation.  I'll go do some more work on the presentation.

  • When the filter arrived yesterday I was presented with a problem.  The filter works great in its function of getting out the dirt and other contaminents out of the water, but it is very slow.  I needed to figure out some way to pressurize the system in order to maximize the efficiency of the filter.  From the beginning, I knew I wanted it to be all man powered (some sort of hand or foot pump) and not an electronic air pump.  I also wanted to pump to be "user friendly," so they could continue cooking, for example, while still pumping the water.  The only thing that fit this criteria, in my mind, was a foot pump.  Unfortunately, it was the second to last day in the studio and all I had accessible to me was a bike pump. This turned out to work pretty well.  I would not want to have a bike pump in the final prototype because using the bike pump uses your whole body, and takes a lot of work for only a little bit of water.  However, for the purposes of this experiment it worked wonders.  The only problem was that lid to the top bucket kept leaking.  When I took it off I saw the air pressure had actually warped the plastic, and I now was not able to put the lid on the bucket with its original seal.    I also noticed that the water filters a lot faster when there aren't big clumps of dirt or mud (not surprising).  When pressurizing the system with relatively clean water on top, there was a steady stream of water coming out the bottom.  WIth the dirty water, there were two drips of water a second.  I think adding more pressure would continue to increase the efficiency of the system.  Maybe in the next prototype I use a metal bucket and lid in hopes of completely sealing the lid.

  • The morning started out with a lot of research. I had to find the answers to some questions that are essential for the powerpoint. Some of these questions were hard to answer because they were about the future and there isn’t a lot of information about it yet. Some of the information that was interesting to me was how much money the US has spent in the last decade due to hurricane damage.

    In addition to do research the group had to work on putting the prototype together. This was the hardest part. The cone that was designed by Kate was too heavy and too big to work so we cut the tip off and use this instead to distribute the water. S

    Some minor problems our group had was the foam was it kept snapping. We needed to cut foam that would fit around the P.V.C pipe. We needed to attach the foam to the side of the pipe because we had already glued the top and bottom to material. We needed to make sure that the foam was dense enough to keep the prototype up straight and balanced.

  • I worked on Adobe Illustrator to make a logo for our pump which we are calling PumpIT. We also worked on our presentation, adding images and simplyifying the slides.

  • Yesterday we had our prototype working great, but as we continued to improve it today, it slowly started to self-destruct. It is a little frustrating, because when we start fixing one aspect of it, another falls apart.

    Currently we have all the parts of the prototype, just not put together.  While half of the team puts the prototype back together, the other half is making a logo for our pump and working on the presentation.  I think our priority should be getting the prototype done. If we don't have a prototype built to present, the Powerpoint and logo will be useless.


  • Today we ran into a few minor problems. Our first minor problem occurred in the morning. Last week we had cut out a circle to use as a valve but it did not cut all the way through because the plastic was too thick. There was a long line for the laser cutter because the other studio needed to use it as well; this delayed making the product.

    Another problems we ran into was the box. The box was filled with water and the water was pushing the sides of the container; this was making the container crack a little bit. We needed to fill another type of container with water. This new container needed to be circular this would prevent the water from pushing hard against the sides. I ended up going to the store and buying a big trash can.

    Since we changed the shape of the container filled with water, the base of our product did not fit (diameter wise). We drew a circle around the P.V.C. pipe and used a jigsaw to cut on the line. This was not perfectly circular but circular enough to work, balance in the water and fit in the trash can.

  • Today I changed the top section of my design.  I realized that if I needed to pressurize the system, the sytem would have to be able to be closed on all sides.  This forced me to have two buckets on top of each other.  This actually is an improvement because no the top bucket can hold more water while waiting to be filtered.  Once the cermaic filter comes, I can see if the system is water-tight so far.  I also attached the spigot to the bottom bucket.  I used a sealant in an attempt to make that part water-tight.  When it dries I will see if this actually works, or if I have to use another washer.

  • Yesterday I had a surprisingly very productive day.  The filter I had receieved in the mail was accidentally broken, so I had to figure out what to do before a new one came.  The answer was literally lying right in front of me.  All over the floor were these black particles.  At first I was alarmed thinking some toxic chemical was scattered all over the floor, but then I realized that it must be perfectly harmless if it were part of a water filter.  Thankfully, about half of a cup of the carbon was resting peacefully in an unbroken section of the clay.  I was able to gather those particles up to use for experiments.


    Initial observations: The activated carbon is black in color.  It has no odor, and feels like sand.  After doing some research I learned that hospitals sometimes use it with patients who have overdosed on something (mostly drugs) because it absorbs foreign contaminents (like the bacteria in contaminated water).  I tried a little pinch of it, and discovered that it had no taste and was very crunchy.  The feeling was like getting a faceful of sand at the beach.


    Experiments:  I was able to perform four different experiments.  The first thing I did to the carbon was attempt to burn it.  I stress the word attempt here because this did not work out very well.  Absolutely nothing happened when a flame was submerged into the particles.  This was somewhat of a disappointment, but I kept experimenting.  The next thing I did was mix a little bit of water into the particles, and then I froze it.  I was hoping that this would ellicit some sort of reaction, but nothing unusual happened.  Next, I gathered a cup of water from a dirty puddle outside and tried to clean it using the carbon.    I cut a whole at the bottom of a plastic cup and then lined it with a paper towel.  I then poured a good amount of the remaining carbon on top of the paper towel.  The first time I poured the puddle into the cup, the water came out just as dirty on the other side.  I then put a cloth liner before the graphene before pouring in the puddle a sceond time.  This seemed to help the cleaning process tremendously as the water came out pretty clear on the other side.  This gave me hope for the outcome of the water in the filter I make.  The final experiment I did was to add red food coloring to the activated carbon.  I was curious to see if the carbon would absorb the red color as well.  It might have done so slightly, but nothing really changed on the paper towel.  I would have liked to have done more experiments to the activated carbon, (boil it, pressurize it, send eletric waves through it, etc.) but this was all I had time for.

  • While it may take more cactus every day than other foods such as hay to feed a cow, the eating of cactus drastically decreases cows' daily needs for water. So cactus not only takes less water to grow but eliminates a lot more water that cows need to drink.

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