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Holocene 911* | Projects

  • The last couple of days were dedicated to writing all of the code that would simulate the water filter. The Simulation was written in python, a general-purpose, high-level programming language. First we started writing pseudo code to begin to understand all of the key features of the simulation. We then started writing the pseudo code in python and develop the calculations needed for the program. There were different pieces of the program to simulate different things including, the most important being “graphene layer” which would do the actual digital filtering. I had not had much experience with python before the studio so it was interesting to learn it from scratch.

  • Today I just worked on finishing my powerpoint and practicing it.

    Attached is the last photo I needed for my powerpoint.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • These are my intial sketches, notes, research, and possible prototype designs.

  • On Thursday I began to model and build my first prototype.  I came up with many different ideas beofre finally designing a feasible model.  I am going to incorporate a few different elements into the product.  For starters, an atom thick sheet of graphene with microscopic holes will still be the center piece of the entire system.  The top of the filter will have a strainer to extract some of the bigger clumps of dirt, seaweed, etc.  The water will then go through the graphene, removing any salt and certain strands of bacteria.  The water then goes through the final filtering system, which will be an average clay filter thats weeds out any other live bacteria and disease.  All of the elements I just mentioned are built into a canister which is then screwed onto the top of a bucket.  Presumably, the system would stay screwed on until it needs fixing, so no bacteria would be able to get into the already clean water.  There would be a spigot at the bottom of the bucket to extract the water.  This is initial working model, and I'm sure some changes will have to be made.

  • Today I had a breakthrough in my research.  I discovered the invention of graphene with microscopic holes in it that filters out salt from saltwater.  This material would be the heart of my prototype as removing salt from saltwater is normally a very complicated process.  The molecularly modified graphene could potentially solve the world's water problems.  My prototype consists of two main parts.  The first one is the actual canister that actually purifies the water.  This canister is about a foot tall with a six inch diameter.  Onn the top there isa piece of cloth that goes across the entire opening.  This can be changed however often the user wishes.  Its purpose is to filter out the big clumps of durt, seaweed, or whatever else might be in the water. The second level of filteration is the graphene itself.  This will filter out the salt content and possibly more (waiting for a response from a researcher I emailed).  The third filteration level is the store bought filter that filters out disease and other bacteria.  This is the biggesrt filter (10 inches tall).  It screws into the next piece of the filteration system, which is the bucket provided to the consumer with the purchase of the system.  There are three bupossible bucket sizes to buy: 5 gallon, 2 gallon, and 10 gallon.  The top piece of the filteration system will work with any of the bucket sizes.  Hopefully, tomorrow I will be able to start modelling.

  •         In this studio, we were tasked with coming up with a solution to combat climate change.  There were a few different aspects that we researched in the beginning, but in the end I decided to focus on the world's water issue.  I decided to create an affordable filter that desalinates water.  I was really interested in this idea because the concept of water has always fascinated me, and I know how big of a problem it is becoming.  Before beginning to prototype the filter, I knew I wanted it to be under $10 so low income families could afford it.  I also knew that I wanted it to let out zero emissions.  With this criteria in mind, I began designing my filter.

            There are three layers to the system.  A strainer to remove the bigger clumps of things, a ceramic filter to take out the live bacteria, and a sheet of graphene to desalinate the water.  The is also a bike pump attached to the top in order to pressurize the system.  Unfortunately, the nanoporous graphene is still being designed, so I was not able to incorporate that aspect into my design.

            The filter took about a week to make.  This stems from a myriad of reasons: the parts I ordered took a long time to be delivered, things broke or did not fit, and various engineering problems arose during the building process.  In the end, however, my prototype was able to filter a dirty puddle from the street into clean water (which somebody then drank).

            After the process of building was over, I realized there are a lot of technical and mechanical components that contribute in the building of the seemingly smallest things.  Although the prototype I made does not do its purpose of desalinating water, it does clean the water.  I think this is a good first step, and when the nanoporous graphene comes into full scale production the filter will do its proper job of desalination.  For now, I am very pleased that I was able to build a relatively inexpensive prototype (I estimated it cost around $15-$20).

  • These are the notes I took before I started making the prototype to my filter.

  • Background:
    The theory behind the studio was to make a filter that could remove salt and other contaminants from water.

    The world is heating up and drought is severely effecting people, the filter we make must clean seawater for people living on the coast.

    Use graphene, a membrane with pores small enough that only water molecules can fit through.

    We started with writing pseudo code to help get the basic idea of what we wanted to simulate. The program was written in python which is a general-purpose, high-level programming language. The first feature we wanted the program to have was to create water with an amount of salinity, and pass it through a filter and be able to calculate how much salt is filtered out which we decided would be 98 percent. Other variables were added that could affect the efficiency of the filter including, pressure, volume, and area of graphene. We also added a way to know the lifetime of the filter, as the life reduces the efficiency of the filter goes down as well.

    Data, Analysis, and Results:
    The simulation  worked well although we did not know the qualities of graphene so the filter could not give accurate results.

    Although the simulation did not simulate the graphene filter, the details of graphene could be applied and the simulation would operate perfectly.