Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wood Water Filter

So I'm a geologist as a career/vocation/hobby/toomanyrocksinthehouse...

More specifically, a hydrogeologist - concerned with the study of ground water - its occurrence, use, movement, purity or contamination.  Water is one of those irreplaceable resources - I know this from growing up farming, I see it in the current state of affairs of the allocation of and competition for the resource, and it will become more and more the center of competition and conflict has time goes on.

That said, the primary health concern in the developing world is potable water (followed by sanitation - getting rid of what our bodies have processed).  So I follow publications or news items regarding low-tech and/or innovative water resource methods.

That said, meet the drinking stick.

"In a paper published this week in the journal PLoS ONE, the researchers demonstrate that a small piece of sapwood can filter out more than 99 percent of the bacteria E. coli from water. They say the size of the pores in sapwood — which contains xylem tissue evolved to transport sap up the length of a tree — also allows water through while blocking most types of bacteria. 

Co-author Rohit Karnik, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, says sapwood is a promising, low-cost, and efficient material for water filtration, particularly for rural communities where more advanced filtration systems are not readily accessible. 

“Today’s filtration membranes have nanoscale pores that are not something you can manufacture in a garage very easily,” Karnik says. “The idea here is that we don’t need to fabricate a membrane, because it’s easily available. You can just take a piece of wood and make a filter out of it"."

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