How to make water filters with tree branches according to MIT - Green Ecologist

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How to make homemade water filters with branches

Around the world, around 3 in 10 people lack access to drinking water In the home. Translated into clearer numbers worldwide, around 2.1 billion people according to the WHO, almost nothing!

Obviously, we are facing a serious problem that needs practical solutions to make a water filter for home, cheap, useful and easy to do.

We know that technology is contributing its grain of sand with projects such as extracting water from the air to make it drinkable. Good! But they are still expensive ideas and not so easy to build.

Can you imagine that from a tree branch you can make a water filter?… Well yes. The engineers of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have put all their knowledge so that we can make a homemade filter in a simple way, already used in the real world and with detailed instructions (at the end of the article) so that anyone can do it.

This idea is conceived in the project Xylem Water Filter. Inspired by nature, MIT researchers created a called water filter "Xylem". Use the ducts xylem (plant tissue) and the microscopic pores found naturally in wood and tree branches.

Taking advantage of the properties and structure of the xylem found in trees, we can create filters to purify water at low cost.

Umm … What's that about xylem? Inside the trees that do not flower, for example, the pine, in the young part that corresponds to the last rings of the wood (sapwood), the Ducts that carry sap, water, mineral salts and other nutrients from the roots to the leaves of plants are called Xylem.

Here's the catch, this plant structure serves as a filter for water bubbles and sap in trees It is the perfect membrane to purify water!

But… Is it really capable of filtering water well? Well, according to research, the pores of the xylem they are much smaller than various contaminants in water, such as dust, protozoa, Escherichia Coli, and rotavirus, the virus that causes gastroenteritis.

Actually, proven filters remove more than 99 percent of contaminants. At the level of water treatment, it complies with the category of "Comprehensive two-star protection" established by the World Health Organization.

For two years the MIT team worked together with NGOs from different parts of the world to develop a project that is really useful.

The definitive test was established in India, a real case and with more than a thousand users using this technique. Riding homemade water filters with local trees and obtaining a purification at a rate of one liter per hour.

Knowing that we are facing a viable solution. The researchers have created the Xylem Water Filter website with all the details to be able to make a water filter in our house, with simple materials and in an easy way.

Cool. And now, How can I create my own home water filter? According to MIT indications …

  • A section of tree branch without flowers is needed (such as pine, cedar, etc.). It must have a minimum thickness of more than 0.60 centimeters.
  • From the cut branch, carefully remove the bark.
  • Find a hose - tube to mount inside the tree branch. If it is a little elastic, the better, because it will adapt to the piece of branch and has to be a little longer than the actual branch.
  • Clamp to seal the branch inside the hose - tube.
  • A reservoir to feed the tube with water. And another to store clean water.

On the page that we have commented on the project for mount a domestic water filter there are instructions for its maintenance. When the filters are dried, the xylem - by its structure - seals the side walls and will produce a lower performance to filter the dirty water. There are three methods to keep water filters in better condition:

  • Alcohol treatment: Immerse the cut filters in alcohol (ethanol, isopropanol, etc.). Alcohol must be food grade. It will preserve the structural integrity of the membranes and provides a useful life of at least two years.
  • Check the thickness of the filter. It is better to use branch filters with a thickness of about 7 millimeters and to stack several fine filters in series. This method is useful in areas where access to alcohol is difficult, although quality control can be difficult.
  • Over time, the xylem "self-blocks" and does not let water through. The useful life of the water filters can be lengthened if we soak them for an hour with hot water at 60º.

As we have seen on our blog, it is made with materials that are abundant and cheap. Filters that have realistic performance and can be made anywhere in the world.

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