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(10,949 posts)
Sun May 26, 2024, 10:44 AM May 26

2 teens won $50,000 for inventing a device that can filter toxic microplastics from water


Two teenagers from Woodlands, Texas invented a device that could help address one of the most pervasive and challenging forms of pollution on Earth: microplastics.


Huang and Ou's device is remarkably small, about the size of a pen. It's essentially a long tube with two stations of electric transducers that use ultrasound to act as a two-step filter.

As water flows through the device, the ultrasound waves generate pressure, which pushes microplastics back while allowing the water to continue flowing forward, Ou explained. What comes out the other end is clean, microplastic-free water.

The two teens tested their device on three common types of microplastics: polyurethane, polystyrene, and polyethylene. In a single pass, their device can remove between 84% and 94% of microplastics in water, according to a press release.

Much more at the link.
15 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies


(17,884 posts)
1. This post spurred me to google Brita filters regarding micropastics
Sun May 26, 2024, 11:20 AM
May 26

The gist is that while Brita makes no claims to remove microplastics, some of their filters (including the faucet filter) are rated and 99.7% effective against particles sized smaller than microplastics.


I would expect Brita's major competitor(s) have similar results. I checked Brita because I have used it for years.

(Posting this because with the recent focus on microplastics, I may not have been the only one wondering about whether my filtering system is protecting me and how much.)

I expect these young people's invention has potential uses for water other than drinking water, so it is a great achievement and valid award for sure.

Bernardo de La Paz

(49,656 posts)
3. Might have application on industrial scale purifying municipal water
Sun May 26, 2024, 12:18 PM
May 26

It might be cheaper in the long run than constantly replacing filters.


(15,974 posts)
7. Good research. While you're checking, it might not be a bad idea to find out if the Britta filters
Sun May 26, 2024, 01:22 PM
May 26

(and other brands) are certified to not be leeching their own plastics into the dispensed water.


(5,180 posts)
5. The companies that apply this technology will reap billions....
Sun May 26, 2024, 12:53 PM
May 26

and the teens get $50,000. Even though I love how teens get highlighted in these inventions, I cringe at how they're being taken advantage of....


(6,830 posts)
8. That all dependents on how patent rights are handled...
Sun May 26, 2024, 01:47 PM
May 26

...& whether the teens choose to sell or license those rights.

If this truly is a unique "first" it should be impossible for any company to produce prior art proving they did this before the teens, & the teens would own the intellectual property rights.


(92,331 posts)
9. The press release link is wonderfully informative in its way. The kids are from all over the world...
Sun May 26, 2024, 01:52 PM
May 26

In the case of the many cited who live in the US, our more recent waves of immigration are well-represented, which really tickles me. Once again I reflected on how enriched and revitalized we are by letting people in, and not keeping them out.


(36,463 posts)
10. couldn't read the article at the link
Sun May 26, 2024, 04:27 PM
May 26

So I'll read the press release instead. The article at the link makes you register and until you do that, you have this big popup blocking the story. Thanks for mentioning the press release.

Here's what I've done about microplastics since it became known as a problem. First, years ago I posted a number of articles on how certain tea bags have microplastics in them, so I urged everyone to use tea bags made with another method. If you have some with microplastics as part of their production, then just open the tea bag and boil it as loose tea. Thanks to IrisBlue for that suggestion.

For water, I filter through a Brita filter. Then I boil it, because there was an article here saying how boiling the water gets rid of around 90% or more of the microplastics. I don't think my filter gets rid of the microplastics, so until I can get the kind of filter mentioned above, I'll continue with this.

I even use the boiled water for my ice cubes, which I make instead of letting the machine make it.

Can't wait until this process/design in the OP is ready for the marketplace.


(10,949 posts)
13. Archived for people who for whatever reason can't access it.
Mon May 27, 2024, 11:48 AM
May 27

When you run into one, try archive.ph, archive.md, archive.is (there are several)
Copy the article’s URL
Go to the archive site
Paste the URL into the text box

You’ll usually get the article you want.
Sites let Google and others access the articles to drive clicks but keep the paywalls for everyone else.
They can’t have it both ways.

This site lets you try various forms of archive.

Sometimes, it just involves disabling javascript or running a “readablilty” script to get past nags.
Some of these sites do just that.


(36,463 posts)
14. interesting
Mon May 27, 2024, 07:14 PM
May 27

I always wondered how people did that. I'm gonna' try that a little later on tonight. Thank you for writing that out; hopefully it will help more people than just me.


(10,949 posts)
15. Hope they do so!
Tue May 28, 2024, 11:38 PM
May 28

If it scales, it can do a lot of good. I don’t know how to follow up on this.


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