‘Aquamenti’ is an all-terrain water purification device for sub-Saharan Africa. The function is to purify 40 litres of water in 20 minutes on the average journey of 1.75 miles home from the water source.
The key innovation is the ability to harness the kinetic energy from walking and transfer it into purifying water within 20 minutes. The water passes through a 60um pre-filter to remove any large particles from the water. The ‘dirty’ chamber is filled with 40 litres of water. The user straps on the harness and walks home, in doing so, the barrel rotates, compressing the chamber and forcing the water through a 0.02um ultrafilter which removes all bacteria, viruses and protozoan parasites.
The waist harness gives the advantage of a less strenuous journey than traditional methods of transporting water, e.g. jugs on the head. Pregnant women use the ‘X’ straps instead of the waist strap, thus the barrel is pulled from the chest rather than the waist, preventing harm to the baby bump.
My inspiration for this project stems from family holidays to developing countries. In all the countries visited, there was a constant sight of women and children carrying huge quantities of water on their heads and backs on round trips averaging of 10 miles. This always tugged at my heart strings and I wanted to know how I could help. With this in mind I designed and developed ‘Aquamenti’, Latin for ‘water for the mind’, for my final year university project, combining the ability to purify water whilst transporting it, allowing more time for women and children to spend earning an income and receiving an education.
Research concluded that 328 million people in sub - Saharan Africa still use unimproved sources of water. They have little or no sustainable access to safe drinking water, contractions of microbes that cause such things as; typhoid and cholera, with diarrhoea being the most frequent and fatal as it causes more child deaths per year than HIV, malaria and measles combined.
A half scale aesthetic prototype was manufactured to give a 3D visualization of the aesthetics of the product. A functional prototype was also produced to test and evaluate the internal mechanism design for filtering water. The prototype specifically demonstrates the concertina being expanded and filled with muddy water, the rotation of the barrel causing the nut to travel down the leadscrew which in turn compresses the concertina, forcing water out through the ultrafilter, please see uploaded video.
From tests carried out on the functional prototype, results have shown that the internal mechanism design does work. If the barrel is rotated whilst the lead screw is held still, the concertina is compressed and muddy water is filtered into clear water. The functional prototype was also tied to the harness and a test to see whether the barrel would rotate whilst being pulled along with the internals working concluded that it does rotate and the internal mechanisms do work.