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Solar Powered Desalination

Postby Cecilandanthony » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:54 am

My son is doing a science project in which the sun is able to turn salt water into drinking water (desalination). However, it's still very cold and not sunny. Can this project be done by using heating lamps instead of the sun? Or is their a different source we can try all together? For instance what if their is no sun in an area where there is no drinking water, is there then no hope for creating drinking water? Please explain...

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Re: Solar Powered Desalination

Postby 324B21 » Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:14 pm

Hi there. This is such a great and ambitious project! Natural light is the best way for certain types of desalination (like solar). But with that said, there are other ways to set up a project that don't require sunlight. A heat lamp that is hot enough could do that. The reason why it needs to be so hot is to evaporate the water over time. Sunlight is the most efficient of ways to do that since it doesn't require as much "work" (this is a physics term he will come across later). But to answer the question. Yes, it would indeed suffice for this experiment. Please ensure that no one touches the light source as it will get really hot. Also, ensure that you are not using anything that can melt like a plastic bowl. If you are using plastic wrap (which, you didn't specify one way or another) this is going to make things tricky. The light needs to be hot enough to evaporate the water and have the vapor cling to the wrap in condensation while avoiding the wrap melting. This is going to take some trial and error.

I hope this helps! Good luck to you both. Remember that whether or not this experiment succeeds the journey and learning is the most important part! Please contact us back if further questions arise.


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