As I started researching environmental issues within my area, the issue of water pollution came to my attention. As places like San Franciso Bay become polluted, it can be a detriment to the wildlife inhabiting this area. Pollution like trash, pesticides, oil, toxic pollutants, and chemicals enter the bay with no filtration. After observing this issue I sought to find a low-cost solution to this problem. I wondered if I could use the Bay Area's naturally sunny environment for water filtration. From there, I would come to learn about something called a "solar still". These devices date back to the 1500s and offer a great option for water filtration. I took inspiration from these tools and started brainstorming. Finally, I got to work on my project.
What it does
My project utilizes the natural process of condensation to cleanse water. First, water enters through a black charcoal-activated filter. Then, as the sun shines through the glass top the water begins to condensate within the container. Because of the model's slanted top, the new water droplets drip through the tubing and are now purified!
How we built it
To test the basic thesis of this project I decided to create a prototype at home. I asked the question, is it even possible to cleanse water via condensation? For my project, I used a Tupperware container, hot glue, black paint, a wooden log, plastic tubing, scissors, plastic cups, and tape (I would've loved to use a carbon filter as well, but didn't have any lying around my house). First, I painted the top of the Tupperware black and attached it with hot glue. Then I attached plastic tubing to input and output the water. I placed it upon a piece of wood because it had to be positioned at an angle. After leaving it in the sun for a few hours, I concluded that my project was a success.
Challenges we ran into
The biggest challenge I ran into was creating my digital model. I have no experience working in digital art so it was entirely new to me. Because of this, my digital design may not have been as good as It could have been. However, I learned a lot and will be far better prepared in the future!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
I am proud of my ability to complete this project by myself. I am very enthusiastic about learning, and this was an excellent opportunity for engineering exploration. I am very happy with the way my project turned out, and overall I had a lot of fun.
What we learned
I learned a lot about environmental issues (specifically water pollution) in my area. I learned how to assess an issue and find the most fitting solution to the problem. I learned a lot about water filtration, and how water pollution affects biodiversity.
What's next for Condensation Purification
The next step with my project would be to have my design produced. This next step would put my plan in action!