3D printed water testing sensor will reduce risks of waterborne illnesses

University of British Columbia Okanagan campus’s researchers created a 3D printed quality sensor device which aims at monitoring drinking water.  

The device is a low-cost and reliable way to get drinking water. By giving feedback in real time, it is intended to be used anywhere there is a water distribution system.

Current water safety practice involves only periodic hand testing, which limits sampling frequency and leads to a higher probability of disease outbreak,” said Professor Mina Hoorfar, the director of UBC’s School of Engineering,. “Traditional water quality sensors have been too expensive and unreliable to use across an entire water system.”

This highly portable sensor system is capable of constantly measuring several water quality parameters such as turbidity, pH, conductivity, temperature, and residual chlorine, and sending the data to a central system wirelessly,” she adds. “It is a unique and effective technology that can revolutionize the water industry.”

Notice is to be made that many purification plants have real-time monitoring sensors and therefore upstream distribution systems. The only problem is that the water pressure supplied to the customer is often higher than what the majority of the sensors can withstand. However, the advantage remains the direct installation of the sensor in a customer’s home.  

If this testing sensor appears to be a magic solution in developing countries, it must be said that it also remains a solution to the water issue in developed countries such as Canada.

Last, Professor Mina Hoorfar developed this project in the Advanced Thermo-Fluidic lab at UBC’s Okanagan campus. Tiny devices used are reliable and sturdy enough to provide accurate readings concerning water pressure or temperature. “Sensors are wireless, reporting back to the testing stations, and work independently—meaning that if one stops working, it does not bring down the whole system.” And the fact that they are manufactured using 3D printers make them fast, inexpensive and easy to produce.

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