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Water Filtration

Lorena Santos Justin Cusmano Engineering Design & Development B-Day Spring 2014

Water Filtration
Many of the existing water filtration systems are very expensive and not attainable to many people in, say third world countries for example. Most water filters use activated carbon to absorb organic compounds and pollutants. Some carbon filters are made from coconut shells that are heat treated with steam producing pores within each grain of carbon then making microscopic tunnels and spaces that absorb and trap the contaminants from the tap water. Water filters range from $25.99 to about $399.99. The company Katadyn use filters that have a tiny structure with impregnated silver which delays the growth of bacteria.
Bacteria range in size from 0.2 to 5 micron so the pore size of the filters are 0.2 micron (0.0002 mm).

Water Filtration
One of the things learned by researching existing products is that they have a lot of natural materials. After further research gravel, sand, and charcoal came up almost every time. The gravel is present to remove large debris from the water. The sand is present to remove the smaller things the gravel could not, and the charcoal removes bacteria and chemicals.

Problem Statement
There are many situations where people can come across the issue where the water they are around is too polluted and dirty, especially in third world countries. In many developing countries clean water helps fight off hunger and disease but there are many challenges with filtering their water. Water filtration is a very important factor in water treatment processes and filtration systems can be expensive.

Team Roles
Justin Cusmano Helping with Gantt Chart Collecting materials Creating Designs Developing first prototype Lorena Santos Research Creating Decision Matrix Developing both prototypes Creating PowerPoint Creating portfolio

The design will: Be constructed from easily acquired inexpensive/free materials Significantly reduce the turbidity of the contaminated water Purify 100 ml of water in the least amount of time Be durable and require the least amount of maintenance Be easily assembled

An inexpensive way to filter water by using a 2 liter soda bottle, cotton balls, sand, gravel, wood charcoal, and coffee filters. By taking the soda bottle, cutting it in half, and filling it with the appropriate materials to filter the water properly.


Coffee filters

2 liter soda bottle



Cotton balls

Wood charcoal




Design 7

First Decision Matrix

After we built the first design it ended up being a small disaster. The sand was super dirty, couldnt wash it. The charcoal was not thoroughly cleaned and the gravel was not either. The water was not even very clear so we did not even bother to test the turbidity.

First Build

Second Design Matrix

We then took apart the old filter, cleaned all of the materials the best we could and began to build the new one.


Final Design
Our final design was the one from the second decision matrix. The charcoal, gravel, and coffee filters worked just fine. The filters acted in the way the sand would have, collecting tiny materials that the gravel could not have, which is why we added four coffee filters to our final product.

The water we tested our purifier with was about 200 NTU and it went down to 61 and 60 NTU. Normal drinking water is about 1.0 NTU. We did not run the water twice through the filter because we ran out of time but after doing that a lower turbidity is expected.

Final Results
I realized after we began testing our filter that we forgot to run water through it filter beforehand so we believe because of that our results were not as good. Our final turbidity was 68, higher than in our previous tests.

(2013, August 12). How to build a bio water filter. website: (n.d.). Filtration stages. website: (n.d.). Water filters. website: (n.d.). How do specific water purification methods work? Retrieved from Water purification steps FAQ Frequently Asked Questions website: Wolters, A. (2013, August 16). 5 steps of water purification. website: