Design Improvements for a Ceramic Water Filter for Use in Nepal

iDE Nepal Team: Sicong Ma, Amanda Nadeau, Diane Kayitesi, Sage Brown

2012-2013: In collaboration with iDE Nepal, this student team developed design improvements for iDE Nepal’s existing household ceramic water filter.  Clean water is central to iDE’s mission to improve global health through small business development; iDE Nepal seeks to improve its point-of-use water filter in Nepal and create a supply chain for the filter’s production and distribution.

The team reviewed ceramic water filter technology and iDE Nepal’s motivation for an improved design.  Given design requirements related to water quality and the filter’s weight, capacity, manufacturing complexity, distribution, usage, and aesthetics, the team generated multiple conceptual design improvements for the ceramic water filter.  The team also conducted experiments on the filter medium to quantify flow rate, water quality, and the influence of variations in material.

While visiting Nepal in January, the team met with potential customers and manufacturers and solicited feedback on their designs.  This visit influenced the team’s design development, which culminated in plans for three different designs (a cylindrical shape for rural manufacturing, and a round shape and hourglass shape for urban manufacturing); all three designs represent an improvement in weight, capacity, packaging, and usability.  iDE Nepal will work with urban and rural potters to produce, distribute, and evaluate the proposed designs in Nepal.