Farewell to cbl
Unfortunately, this will be our final blog post. Over the course of only one month, our group was able to measurably impact our community with a positive sustainability. At the forum this week, (a place where all of the groups in our grade shared what they did) we presented our project and ourselves well, which brought in a good amount of traffic at our station. At some points we split up into two groups because there were so many questions. With all of our visual aids and our interactive presentation most people really understood how and why we did what we did. Many people seemed interested in doing it themselves, and a couple of people pointed out that our idea was affordable, unlike other filters like the Brita water filters. We were all very satisfied with our performance at the forum because we were able to get our ideas across to the community.
Success at last!
The past few weeks have been a bit of a struggle for our group because most of our project relied on our water filters and the benzene detectors. Since we have gotten all of our materials, our group has made great strides in implementing our solution. This week we have done some exciting things! Including getting our first comment/question on our blog, our pageviews had doubled from Wednesday to Thursday! Phoebe also brought some laundry detergent containing benzene (Tide) to class (many laundry detergents don’t contain pure benzene. Normally, it contains benzene in the form of alkylbenzene sulfonate), so we mixed it with water and decided to test the levels of benzene in it. We got some very positive results! Before we had put our laundry detergent mixture through our filter, the levels of benzene was 12 ppm (parts per million), and after we put the mixture through the filter, the levels of benzene lowered to 10 ppm. We immediately graphed our results, which you will soon be able to see in the Photos and Videos section on our weebly site. We hope that from here, our group will get more followers to our project, and could possibly help us spread awareness about benzene. There is so much that our group could do to move further, but unfortunately next week will be the last week that we have to work on this project. We have been so lucky to be able to get our views across, spreading awareness to people both in our school community, but in other communities as well. Even though the project will be over, we hope that people will still view our weebly page, recreate our filters, and become involved with spreading awareness about benzene.
Decisions regarding implementation
The results are in! We finally have found out about how much benzene there is in the school’s drinking water. There is approximately .25-.5 ppm (parts per million) in the water from the test we did. This means that in ppb (parts per billion) there is approximately 2.5 or 5, the limit. At the end of last week, Sam created a thingiverse account. We hope we can use this to spread awareness about benzene and make it possible for people to recreate our filter. On Monday, Jackson and Sam made another filter to test the levels of benzene after the water goes through. On Tuesday, our 3rd prototype was finally finished. When we got it, we were a little surprised about the outcome. It was much smaller than we had suspected it would be, and part of it was very flimsy and broke off. From this, we went straight back to Tinkercad and changed the dimensions. We also did a couple of changes to the design, so that the top part would not break off. Our next, hopefully last, design should be printed by Wednesday morning. After, we looked closer to our results from the test, and we realized that the level of benzene in the tube was practically the same as the level from a tube that hadn’t been used. At first, we all looked at each other wondering what happened. From there, we hypothesized that the gas collected from the previous week probably evaporated. Unfortunately, we don’t know for sure, so we came up with a new idea. Phoebe offered to bring in laundry detergent, so we can put it in the water, and test the benzene levels. (Many laundry detergents, such as tide, contain a form of benzene called alkylbenzene sulfonate.) Hopefully on Wednesday, we can test two samples: one with laundry detergent, and one with laundry detergent that went through our filter.
On Tuesday, we also went to meet with Joan, an advisor around school who wrote a book about kids who use 3D printers at school. So far, we have three prototypes of our filter. We showed them to her, and after we explained our goal of it filtering out benzene, she understood what we had done. She gave us advice about how we could improve our models, and she also took a picture with our group and our models to bring to a conference in June for her book. We are very excited about this because it will spread awareness about our idea, and it will be a part of sustainability for our filters.
The Next Steps In Creating Our Sustainable Water Filter
This week, we worked on creating the prototype of our water filter. After lots of planning and problem solving we figured out a way to create an effective water filter. Our prototype was done with a water bottle, but Sam also designed a 3D printed model of our filter, which Phoebe printed at lunch on Wednesday. We made two different designs to measure the difference. The first design we created was a layered filter. We layered it with fine sand, activated carbon, coarse sand, and gravel. We tested to see if our first filter was successful and we figured out that in order for the water to travel through the filter at a normal pace, you have to in a way “massage” the filter. We also had another problem. The water color was really dark and did not look appealing at all. We thought that this was because of the amount of sand we put in or the dust from the rocks. This also could happen because the sand layer was right next to the cloth at the bottom of the filter. To fix this, Sam and I decided to use only coarse sand and rinse the rocks before we put them into the filter because we used a lot of sand, gravel, and activated carbon in the first one. We also will use more cloth, so the sand doesn’t seep through, hopefully solving the problem of the unappealing water. Our second filter will have most of the same ingredients, but in a different order throughout the bottle. It would also not include fine sand. On Wednesday we made our second water filter model and it was successful! We put more rocks at the bottom and used less sand and the water traveled through at a normal pace. The water color was also really clear. We believe that this was because we cleaned the rocks before we put them in the water filter. On Friday we tested the level of benzene in our schools water. The maximum for benzene in public drinking water is 5 ppb (parts per billion). In our schools water supply that we tested, there was evidence of benzene in the water, but we are waiting for the exact results on Monday. Our plan for next week will be to test the level of benzene in the water after it goes through our filter. Phoebe also created a new and improved 3D print model for our water filter. This one will be able to fit on the sink so it can filter water right from the tap. We hope that when we print the next prototype, it will not print with holes in it, unlike the other printed prototype.
As we did further thinking, we realized that selling our filters via weebly would be too difficult for our group to accomplish. This is because printing many filters would take a lot of time, and it would waste a lot of the school's printing materials. In result to this, our group asked Ernie what to do. He gave us the amazing idea to download our design to thingiverse.com. It would allow people to redesign it to accommodate their faucets, and it would help our group spread awareness about benzene exposure. We also put a link to our weebly page showing steps for how to fill and create the filter. (If you would like to view our design and learn how to create your very own, all of the information will be posted up on the water filters page very shortly)
Filtering Out the Problem, and Figuring Out the Solution
We have finally found a way to bring our solution to life! After days of research and many different ideas, we figured out exactly how we would create an activated carbon water filter, to remove even the smallest amount of benzene. Through research Phoebe found out that there is a maximum level of benzene allowed in public water facilities, which is five ppb (parts per billion of benzene). Our goal is to limit our community’s exposure to benzene, which lowers the possibility of later developing leukemia. Our current plan is to buy benzene detectors to measure the current amount of benzene in the school’s water. Next we will put the water through our water filter and measure the before and after amount of benzene in the water. If it does work and lower the ppm (parts per million of benzene), we hope later try different models based off the same “blueprint”, so it will be able to accommodate different water bottles, glasses, and faucets. On Wednesday in class, Phoebe had a GENIUS IDEA! She said that once we make sure our filters work, we will make and sell the filters through our weebly. Then all proceeds made will go to the cancer and blood diseases program at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA). Charlotte gave us the idea that when we present at the forum, we should make it possible for community members pre-order filters, or help donate at the CHLA. We wanted to expand the awareness of benzene to communities near the Inglewood Oil Field because there is a possibility that they could have benzene in their water supply. Phoebe has started to create flyers, and we are hoping that we could give them out somewhere in Culver City. We have ordered benzene detectors, and we are hoping that they will arrive next week because our whole project is relying on these plastic tubes. If we get them, we hope to be in the create studio next week, so we can follow through with solving the problem of benzene exposure.
Could a Carcinogen Lead Us To Our Solution?
This week, we put our main focus on narrowing down our broad topic to a specific problem that we can later positively impact in our community. On Monday, we decided on four sub topics inside the main topic of fracking, hoping that the next day we would be able to find a specific problem. The next day, after thorough research, we still had no idea how we could narrow down our subject. When we shared all of our findings from the previous night, Jackson, Sam, and I had decided to forget about air pollution, but Charlotte was still for air pollution. As she shared her research, the rest of us realized that there are many chemicals from fracking waste that can impact both our air and water supply. From the list of chemicals that Charlotte showed us, we had unanimously decided on Benzene. Benzene is a carcinogen made up of hydrogen and carbon. It can contribute to cause non infectious diseases such as anemia, leukemia, and cancer. We learned that it could be found in household items such as laundry detergent. In class on Wednesday, six adults around school came in, and each gave us advice based on where we were in the process of finding a solution. All of the adults gave us very similar (and very helpful) advice. The adults gave us tips of how we could make our solution something new and innovative that would have a positive and sustainable impact on the community. This was a major eye-opener to where we are in the process of finding a solution. The following night, with the advice in our minds, we did more research on Benzene. We specifically did research on the types of household items that contain benzene, and based on the advice from Larissa, we decided to do a bit of research on the Inglewood Fracking Site in Baldwin Hills. During our research of benzene in household items, we found out that activated carbon can remove benzene in water. On Friday, we talked to Ernie, and he gave us an amazing idea that could combine all of our interests for a solution, a water filter that can filter benzene out of the water supply. In class, we started researching water filters, and we found an activated carbon water filter that we could redesign it to accommodate most household faucets. Even though there may have been a few bumps in the road, we are now on the right path to impacting our community with activated carbon water filters.
From Pollution to Fracking: Narrowing Down Our Topic
At the beginning of this project, we all were interested on the how pollution can cause non-infectious diseases. One of our first challenges was to decide which type of pollution we wanted to research (water pollution, air pollution, light pollution, etc.). After doing some research and discussing with Ernie, we finally decided on water pollution. On Tuesday in class, we created mind maps to help us narrow down our topics. During this, the conflicts of Flint Michigan and fracking came up. We were hesitant at first about fracking as a topic, considering no one in the group knew too much about it.
That night, we each read a different article on a subtopic of water pollution. The next day, after we shared all of our research, we finally decided on the topic of fracking. Now that we had our topic, we needed to figure out how we can relate to non-infectious diseases. Charlotte found an article from the Natural Resources Defense Council that solved the answer to our problem. It clearly stated that respiratory problems, cancer, nervous system impacts, birth defects, and blood disorders can all be in response to chemicals in fracking waste.