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).