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Illustrating Engineering Concepts With A Household Water Filter Pitcher

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session


Page Count


Page Numbers

10.714.1 - 10.714.6



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Paper Authors

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Rajinder Chauhan

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Gukan Rajaram

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Devdas Pai

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

ILLUSTRATING ENGINEERING CONCEPTS WITH A HOUSEHOLD WATER FILTER G. Rajaram, D. M. Pai and R. S. Chauhan Department of Mechanical Engineering North Carolina A&T State University 1601 E Market Street, Greensboro, NC 27411

Abstract Filtration and other methods of treatment of household drinking water supplies have become common in order to prevent the potential health hazards that can be caused by the untreated tap water. Filtration is been done at several stages based on the requirements from the government body, using different types of water filters. The most common small scale water filters used in homes use activated carbon filtration along with an ion exchange resin. In this paper, we discuss several mechanical and materials engineering concepts that can be demonstrated using an inexpensive household water filter pitcher. This experiment is developed for a sophomore level engineering audience. A commercially available filter used in water pitchers is analyzed in this experiment. The filter consists of activated carbon and ion exchange resin enclosed in a cylindrical body. The pitcher and its filter element are used to perform flow rate calculations, particle size measurement and pH calculations. Also, the experiment helps the student to learn about the purification processes and the importance of activated carbon and ion exchange resins in the field of separation and purification.

Introduction The use of everyday life experiences serves as a great pedagogical tool for students being exposed to engineering concepts for the first time - much like a gourmet chef’s description of the preparation of their favorite dishes with "a little bit of this and little bit of that."1. This kind of flexible approach helps the students to develop their critical thinking skills. Pithers and Soden2 found that college graduates are expected to learn not only the content and methods of a discipline but also to develop 'generic' abilities. These generic abilities include a heavy emphasis on critical thinking skills. Potential employers also place a high priority on critical thinking skills. In a survey of industry experts and faculty, Maricle3 found that critical thinking was the highest rated competency expected of new college graduates. We describe here a simple but effective experiment targeted at sophomore level engineering students to engage them in critical thinking by the use of active learning methods.

A commercially available pitcher-style water filter is used for this experiment. The replaceable filter element or candle consists of activated carbon particles and ion exchange resin particles in a cylindrical plastic container that fits into the clear body of the plastic pitcher. Carbon and resin particles are most widely used in separation and purification purposes. The activated carbon particles work on the adsorption principle, the trapping of impurities by strong physical bonds within the porous structure of carbon A formal definition of adsorption4 is “The adhesion of the

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Chauhan, R., & Rajaram, G., & Pai, D. (2005, June), Illustrating Engineering Concepts With A Household Water Filter Pitcher Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14953

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