Home Store Project Ideas Project Guide Ask An Expert Blog Careers Teachers Parents Students

A Student Puts a "T" on Turbidity

How's the water?


sodis.jpg

SODIS water disinfection uses PET bottles and the power of the sun over time. Image Source: SODIS Eawag, Wikipedia)

The answer depends on a number of variables, including where you are, especially if you are considering taking a drink. As Sarah Flaherty, a 9th grader at Westdale Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario, discovered, purification strategies can be inexpensively enhanced by the strategic use of common materials. According to Sarah's science project, "Simplifying SODIS: Reduction of UV-impeding Turbidity through Macroscopic Filtration," an everyday T-shirt might offer a practical solution for eliminating excessive turbidity in water, a condition that can cause problems for solar water disinfection (SODIS).

In developing and rural areas, SODIS puts the power of the sun—and time—to work and offers an accessible and low-cost approach to improving the safety of local drinking water. The effectiveness of SODIS, however, decreases when the water is "cloudy"—or turbid.


Global Perspective

Taking inspiration from a family member who works for UNICEF, Sarah's project was an investigation seeking to improve SODIS-based water disinfection. Targeting the problem of turbidity, Sarah designed a filter that can be used to counteract the cloudiness of water. Her solution aimed to use readily available resources, like a T-shirt, and to create an enhancement that would increase effectiveness without significantly altering the cost of SODIS purification.

Sarah won a silver merit award at the 2011 Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair (BASEF), held this year in Hamilton, Ontario, and went on to participate in the 2011 Intel ISEF where she won Google's Secret Change Agent Special Award, an award that recognizes a project that has the potential to create positive impact in the student's neighborhood and/or on a global scale.


Making Connections

The quality of drinking water is directly related to the spread of disease. For example, outbreaks of cholera are often linked to contaminated water supply. According to the World Health Organization, 1.8 million people die each year from diarrhoeal diseases (including cholera), a statistic that the WHO estimates can be significantly reduced by water purification. Safer water and smart and affordable purification practices are key.

Students can investigate water purification in the following projects:


Science Buddies Science Activities

Science Buddies and Autodesk for Student STEM Exploration


thumbnail
What are your chances of getting the flu this year? Discover how your immune system and the flu vaccine work together to keep you healthy.

thumbnail
How much weight can a balloon-powered vehicle carry? Find out with this year's 2015 Fluor® Engineering Challenge. Enter for a chance to win money for your school!

thumbnail
School and family science weekly spotlight: drop candy hearts into soda for a Valentine's Day-themed chemistry exploration.

thumbnail
School and family science weekly spotlight: explore ocean currents with your own mini ocean model.

thumbnail
School and family science weekly spotlight: learn more about nanotechnology with a hands-on paper-based experiment.

thumbnail
In the days leading up to the big game, in the days after, or even during off-season, you can kick around sports science concepts with your student sports fans.



Your Science!
What will you explore for your science project this year? What is your favorite classroom science activity? Email us a short (one to three sentences) summary of your science project or teaching tip. You might end up featured in an upcoming Science Buddies newsletter!



You may print and distribute up to 200 copies of this document annually, at no charge, for personal and classroom educational use. When printing this document, you may NOT modify it in any way. For any other use, please contact Science Buddies.