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Water Filtration

Using Activated
Charcoal
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Charlotte Pearce
Partners: Ila Langelotti, Natalie Letts
Why is clean water is so important?
 844
million people live without access to clean, healthy
water
 This water crisis is actually a health crisis as well
 Every90 seconds a child dies from a water related
disease
1million people are killed by water, sanitation, and
hygiene-related disease each year

Facts retrieved from:


Water. (2018). Water.org - Water Charity For Safe Water &
Sanitation. Retrieved from https://water.org/
Purpose
• Our goal: Provide a simple, cost effective solution to obtain clean
drinking water
• Build a product that can be mass produced to fulfill our goal
• Use materials that are easily obtainable, biodegradable, and
inexpensive

Online Science. (n.d.). Microbes and the Water Supply [Map]. Retrieved from https://online.science.psu.edu/micrb106_wd/node/7685
Works of Literature
 Water Filtration Using Plant Xylem
 Xylem from sapwood of coniferous trees – bacteria removing plant
 Available, inexpensive, biodegradable, disposable
 Filtering drinking water

 Automated Measurement and Quantification of Heterotrophic Bacteria in Water Samples Based on the MPN Method
 Method to test for heterotrophic bacteria – organism that gets its energy and nutrients from organic substances
 MPN Method – Most Probable Number. Water samples are placed in test tubes to determine the levels of different substances.
 Testing drinking water

 Facile Preparation of Nanostructured, Superhydrophobic Filter Paper for Efficient Water/Oil Separation
 Cost effective
 Obtaining superhydrophobic filter paper – extremely difficult to get wet
 Material to use in our product for structure

Boutilier, M. S., Lee, J., Chambers, V., Venkatesh, V., & Karnik, R. (n.d.). Water Filtration Using Plant Xylem. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=2&sid=3cf724bc-f6fe-42d2-bae1-
14446da1c624%40sessionmgr101&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=94731430&db=a9h

Fuchsluger, C., Preims, M., & Fritz, I. (n.d.). Automated Measurement and Quantification of Heterotrophic Bacteria in Water. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=6&sid=3cf724bc-
f6fe-42d2-bae1- 14446da1c624%40sessionmgr101&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=56525889&db=a9h

Wang, J., Wong, J., Kwok, H., Li, X., & Yu, H. (n.d.). Facile Preparation of Nanostructured, Superhydrophobic Filter Paper for Eff. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=8&sid=3cf724bc-
f6fe-42d2-bae1- 14446da1c624%40sessionmgr101&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=113801906&db=a9h
Rationale
• Research Question
 Can we create a water filtration system using an activated charcoal sponge as the
main source of filtration to remove bacteria and other sediment?

• Hypothesis
 If we run water through a piping tube with an activated charcoal sponge filling up
the space of the interior, the sediment and bacteria will be removed.

• Engineering Goal
 Engineer a cost-effective bag/sponge system that works, is easy to use, and available
to countries around the world who are struggling with providing clean water to their
people. It will ease the stress and fear due to lacking a necessity to life of the people
receiving this product.

• Expected Outcomes
 We expect to produce clean drinking water after the water is finished with the
process that our device will put it through. This refreshed water will lack sediment,
debris, and bacteria.
Variables
 Independent –The design of the product was the independent variable because it
affected the purification of the water
 Dependent – The result: purification level of the water
 Constant – We purposely obtained the water from the same location each time, and
we gathered/tested the same amount each time (four cups)
 Control – Before we tested the dirty water before and after our product, we tested
already purified Publix Purified Drinking Water

Publix. (n.d.). Publix Water, Purified [Photograph]. Retrieved


from http://www.publix.com/pd/publix-water-purified/RIO-PCI-101948
Materials
 Built product by using
 4 cups of unfiltered fresh water from a natural source Charcoal sponge
 4 cups of Publix purified water (Control)
 1 17.5"x 11.8"x 0.4" Aquapapa Activated Carbon Media Pad Cut-to-Fit Sponge Filter Foam
Sheet for Aquarium Fish Tank Pond Reef Canister
 2 PastryGear Grip-Pro 21-Inch Anti-slip Ultra Thick Disposable Pastry / Piping Bags with
Dispenser
 Cheese Cloth 9×9
 16 in of basic twine/string
 1 needle
 3in of crafting wire

 Tested water using


 2 First Alert WT1 Drinking Water Test Kit

First Alert Drinking WT1 Drinking Water Test Kit


Procedures
 Build
 Mark piping bag
 Construct filtration system
 Secure filtration system

 Test
 Using the First Alert Drinking Water Test Kit, we conducted the eight different
tests
 We tested the Publix Purified Drinking Water, fresh creek water, and filtered creek
water
 The tests took between one minute – 48 hours
Data
Lead Bacteria Pesticides Nitrates/Ni Water Chlorine pH Hardness
trites Color

Clean, Below 15 - Below 3 Below 10 Clear Below 4 6.5 – 8.0 50 ppm or


purified ppb ppb ppb ppm less
water

Water
before
- + - 0 ppb Brown 0 ppm 6.5 120 ppm

filtration
through
product
Water after
product
- + - 2.0 ppb Slightly 0 ppm 7.5 120 ppm
Yellow

The healthy, normal levels are represented by the clean, purified water
ppb: parts per billion
ppm: parts per million
Data Analysis
 Data did not match hypothesis: water still contained bacteria, water was
still murky and had a yellow-tint

 Bacteria found before and after charcoal water filter

 Changes: pH increased, Nitrates/Nitrites increased (preservatives helping to


prevent the growth of harmful bacteria)

 Other areas of testing such as lead, bacteria, pesticides, chlorine, and


hardness remained the same
Results
In conclusion, our product unfortunately did not meet our
expectations in removing all bacteria from the creek water and
purifying it. However, it does have a lot of potential. In
months/years to come, this product can be improved in order to
make it useable and benefit a population. It has potential to
reduce these numbers in the map below and provide a safe,
healthy situation regarding water for deprived countries

International Business Times. (n.d.). World Water Day [photograph]. Retrieved from
https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/world-water-day-2017-60-powerful-photos-make-you-think-twice-about-leaving-tap- Pinterest. (n.d.). Areas Around the World that Lack Clean Drinking Water [Map]. Retrieved from
running-1612594 https://www.pinterest.com/pin/183381016047211773/
Mistakes
 Procedure/Material Changes
 We changed the brand of water test kit throughout the project due to lack of
finance, but for the test that we collected results with, we went back to the original
First Alert WT1 Drinking Water Test Kit because its results were consistent and it
contained all of the tests we needed to perform
 Added cheesecloth to catch large debris in water
 Added a string net to hold up the charcoal sponge and cheesecloth

 Design Flaws
 Lack of sturdiness
 Did not stand up on its own
 Not all materials were biodegradable
 Not as reusable as expected

 Lack of Research
 Charcoal contains Carbon and Carbon grows bacteria
Improvements and Next Steps
 Use PVC Pipe rather than piping bag to help with sturdiness
 Provide a container for water to finish in after it has been
filtered by product
 Create an air tight, vacuum environment for carbon sponge, so
it cannot grow bacteria
Thanks and Recognition
I would like to give a special thanks to the following people who assisted me along the way:

 Ms. Allard - Sponsor, constant help and support

 Ms. Johnson – Mentor

 Ila Langelotti - Partner

 Mr. and Ms. Langelotti - Provided an environment to work in

 Natalie Letts – Partner

 Ms. Miller – Mentor

 Mr. O’Neill and the STEM Program - Presenting us with the Best Research Questions, Design and
Methodology Award

 Lori and Craig Pearce - Purchasing materials, support

 Ms. Stanford – Reviewing our work

 Ms. Tarvin – Mentor

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