Welcome to evaporation for life, where we change the world one solar powered distiller at a time. By using entirely recyclable items, that are incredibly easy to attain, we can assist others less fortunate in their battle towards affordable and drinkable water. The group includes; Max Quinn, Jacob Sayle and Marco Loprevite. We came up with the idea after hours of contemplation, as natural IB students do, on a way to better the world around us. We were curious as to find a method of purifying water so that everything in the water would be extracted, even substances that are dissolved in the water, like salt. As such, we developed a new water purification, that is entirely powered by solar energy. Currently on the market, there is no real cheap methods for purifying water that can be easily obtained. Over 315 000 children pass away every year from diarrhoeal diseases, that can easily prevented. Oftentimes, these diseases are a result of people drinking water that is contaminated. Using recyclable materials, we developed a solar distiller that can provide safe drinking water to all, for a cheap price. This is an obvious issue which hasn't been properly addressed as of yet, and we thought it be our job to propose a reliable solution to the looming problem.
Before the entire process began, we sat down and had a small brain storm. During this period, we argued over which ideas we deemed appropriate to 'change the world'. Jacob thought that shoes made from readily avaliable rubber was an appropriate way to help those less fortunate. However, there was an issue, the rubber was not able to be gained and there needed to be a change of plans. Both Marco and Max thought that making a water purification system the best way to go as we both had materials that were easily accessible to make the distiller. That was further supported by Jacob as it seemed like the best option in order to assist as many people possible. As such, this is how we came up with the idea for the water purification system that we created, as seen below.
- 1 x old tomato can
- 1 x 2L bottle
- 50 x scewer sticks
- 1 x 30cm wire
- 1 x bunsen burner
- 1 x plastic tub
- 1 x 500mL paint (preferable black)
- 30cm x 500cm aluminium foil
- 1 x clear tape roll
- 1 x white tape / duct tape roll
1. Slice off the bottom of the 2L bottle.
2. Heat wire with bunsen burner until glowing red.
3. Melt four holes in the bottle, around the base, that are equally and oppositely spaced around the bottle, with the red hot wire.
4. Paint the bottle and the can with two coats of black paint.
5. Once the paint has dried, fill the can with brackish water.
6. Lift the can up inside the bottle and slot the two skewer sticks in the holes in the base of the bottle, underneath the can. They should cross over in an 'X' shape and be able to support the bottom of the tin can.
7. The two skewer sticks in the bottle should extend about 10cm out from the bottle from each hole. Rest the skewer sticks on top of the plastic tub so that the whole bottle, with the can inside it, is suspended above the tub and the ground.
8. Leave the contraption outside in the sun (a warm day is preferable).
9. Condensation should build up inside the bottle and flow down the sides to collect in the plastic tub. Remember to tap the bottle gentle to loosen any left over condensation. This liquid is pure water and is perfectly drinkable.
10. By using the skewer sticks, create a scaffold in the shape of a square shaped 'bowl'.
11. Finally, cover the scaffold in the aluminium foil and fasten it down with sticky tape.
11. ENJOY :)
In this project, many scientific applications had to be utilized to make sure the water distiller was as efficient as possible. To do this, a significant knowledge of science, from all aspects and types, needed to be thoroughly integrated into our building efforts. The main principle for the solar water distiller is the physical processes that water undergoes. Only the pure water from the dirty water supply, sitting in the can, is able to evaporate using the energy from the sun. This energy from the sun was intensified in the bottle through the use of a concave reflective mirror and a black bottle. The concave mirror acts like a satellite dish, catching as much solar energy as possible and then concentrating it back onto the bottle. The black paint on the bottle means that more of the sun's energy is absorbed rather than reflected back out. Once the water has evaporated, it will condense onto the inside of the bottle and then run down its sides. This pure water will collect in the plastic tub at the bottom, ready for drinking.
All in all, our construction worked, slowly but surely, to provide clean water. However, it only provided a small amount of water for a very long time out in the sun. In the real world scenario more water is needed, so perhaps a bigger water distiller should be used, or a 'farm' of water distillers might be used. Also, perhaps we shouldn't have painted the whole bottle black, as it effectively created shade for the water. Instead, we should've painted just the sides black, so the sun's energy could still enter the top, but be retained better inside.
The experiment as a whole has been an incredible experience. Not only has the group 4 project brought the group closer together, but also it has made us work through problems that arose during the process. Each group member had their own input to bring to the table, providing a range of creative possibilities to improve our model. For example, we came into a small problem in which the can was not secured properly, so the group came up with the idea to create a small structure, which kept the can in place and away from the bottle. As small as these problems where, it still showed the group's perseverance as a whole. The group was also constantly trying to improve the idea. On the last day, we decided, despite time constraints, that by creating a concave reflecter out of foil, it would increase the rate of evaporation since the energy from the sun will be more concentrated on the bottle. Our strive to be better was exhibited at all stages of the group 4 project. We hope that our model has the potential to provide cleaner, healthier and happier lives in the future.