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COLLABORATION BETWEEN WEST TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY, FH JOANNEUM, AND MEDICAL UNIVERSITY OF GRAZ ON WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT FOR RURAL AREAS OF INDIA

Roy J. Issa
West Texas A&M University, Canyon, TX 79016, USA

Angela P. Schoepfer
FH JOANNEUM/University of Applied Sciences, Graz, 8020, Austria

Andrea Grisold
Medical University of Graz, Graz, 8036, Austria

Andreas Schoepfer
University Hospital, Graz, 8036, Austria

DOI: 10.1615/TFEC2020.edu.031752
pages 613-622

Abstract

In this project, a group of senior mechanical engineering students from West Texas A&M University were asked to design a ceramic clay filter system with anti-microbial protection capability for purification of drinking water in rural communities in India. The project started at West Texas A&M University and concluded at FH JOANNEUM in Graz, Austria with a group of students from Production Technology and Organization Program. Students experimented with a mixture of different clay powder material and saw dust concentrations before arriving at the optimal conditions to create the porous clay filters using clay with saw dust concentrations ranging from 22.5 to 27.5% by weight. Based on that, 4 different types of clay filters were created. In addition to creating traditional clay filters, filters with silver nanoparticles were also formed by impregnating the clay-saw dust mixture with the nanoparticles before the filters were fired in the kiln. Tests were conducted on the filters for their effectiveness in reducing the turbidity of muddy water, and also for the benefit of having silver nanoparticles as an anti-bacterial agent. The filters were very effective in reducing the turbidity of muddy water from 950 to 0.45 NTU. E. coli bacteria tests showed the silver-embedded clay filters reduced the E. coli bacteria concentration in contaminated water from 6.5×107 - 5.5×108 cells/ml to 0-1.26×106 cells/ml. This international exposure provided an opportunity for the students to communicate effectively with a range of audiences, an ABET student learning outcome and an essential capability to have as an engineer nowadays.

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