Water filter from trees created by scientists

Interesting Engineering
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When it comes to purifying water we have been making great strides, however all of this isn’t any good as for the majority of time the tech is far out of reach in the parts of the globe where it is needed the most. Many people today have water purifiers in their homes and even in their fridges, but filters such as these are not viable in some parts of the world as they are not affordable or readily available. However it is in these places that filters such as this could improve the quality of many lives and in some cases save lives. Now it seems that a team of scientists at MIT could have created just the solution that is needed in developing countries.

[Courtesy of Image:Boutilier et al]

MIT scientists have been able to create a solution that may just be able to save the lives of many people as they have taken the sapwood of white pine trees and been able to make a water filter that is said to remove around 99% of E. Coli bacteria. This of course is the number one cause of deaths from water that has been contaminated. The sapwood from the trees seems to act as a natural filter as this is the part of the tree that allows water to pass while at the same time holding back bacteria. The wood features small pores each with a diameter of around 70 microns, which makes it an excellent material for filtering out bacteria, as the bacteria typically has microns that are around 200 microns in size and they cannot pass through.


[Courtesy of Image:Boutilier et al]

Of course there are some viruses that could still pass through this natural filter, however it was said that the natural wood method works the same as any of the modern day equipment that is used for filtering water. The co-author of the study, Rohit Karnik, said “Today’s filtration membranes have nanoscale pores that are not something you can manufacture in a garage very easily. 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.”

Karnick went on to say that the team is continuing to look out for other plants that they could use as a more effective way of filtering water. However the study is a great step in the right direction towards saving many lives each year along with improving the lives of thousands of people around the world in developing countries and regions. The ultimate goal of the team is that one day those who need access to clean water can simply take the bark from a tree and filter the dirty water through it before drinking it.


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