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Research Independent Study on Developing a Compact Arsenic Water Filter 

One of the highlights of the opportunities I've had as a freshman at Duke was to be able to pursue my own research independent study in a lab that I wanted to work in. I was so surprised at how receptive the Duke professors were to having me be able to work and follow through with my research proposal. I wanted to build upon my research concerning the affordable water filters I've been working on in Bangladesh. Currently, there is a filter manufacturing plant overseas which makes filters and distributes them to local rural villagers in need. After starting up the manufacturing, I've learned a number of things which need to be further improved to certain barriers to implementation - such as size and weight . The current filters , despite being lighter and more compact than existing filters before my research, were STILL too heavy and could benefit from being smaller. I wanted to look into ways of making such filters smaller and lighter, by experimenting with how much sand I can removed to still ensure the functionality of the filter remained by replacing the lost sand with fine sari cloth (a 100% cotton cloth ) at the nozzle of the filter. 
I started this independent study around February of second semester. The project is still a work in progress - I over the semester, I was involved in project design and then bringing in the relevant materials that were necessary to build the filters. At the end of this semester, I've managed to build 6 filter shells of different sizes. The filter bodies are made of a translucent PVC so as to be able to see the contents inside the filter. Next semester, I intend on adding various types of filter media into the filter bodies in varying amounts to determine the effectiveness of various medias, such as sand, sand with iron, sand with sari cloth, sand with sari cloth coated with antibacterial ionic silver , and sand with modified calcium carbonate. These are the plans I have in place to move forward with next semester. Hopefully all goes well! I am definitely looking forward to it.