UC Engineering student designs affordable 3D-printed water filters
University of Canterbury Master of Engineering student Benjamin Houlton is researching how water filters can be 3D-printed to remove trace metals from wastewater streams and other polluted waterways. The 3D-printing process would mean that the filters would be more affordable and have the potential to improve water quality in developing countries.
His main focus is using computer simulations of water flowing through filters to determine the most effective structure. The conventional view is that randomly packed filter structures have the best performance, however modern 3D-printing technologies enable the creation of finer structures, which challenge the performance of randomly ordered models of filter.
Benjamin explained: “The benefits of 3D-printing mean we can simulate and predict the different flow characteristics before the filters are made. It also means we can recreate the same filter over and over.”
Benjamin finishes his Masters programme next year and after that Scion, a Rotorua company who initiated the project, and their industrial partner will experimentally test the filters for effectiveness. Benjamin is planning to study a PhD.