3 Creative Ways To Fix Water Infrastructure
Tuesday Mar 20, 2012
What can the way our blood clots teach us about fixing water leaks? Apparently quite a lot.
According to a new article in Popular Science, a Scottish company is using “Platelets,” rubberlike cubes and balls that range in size from less than a millimeter to almost two inches wide, to fill water leaks. Once a leak is detected, the Platelets are pumped in and the pressure pulls them to the leak. As the water pulls them into the leak, they fill the crack, forming a “clot” and the leak is fixed without any digging or disruption to service or traffic flow.
A Missouri company is also tackling the issue of broken pipes with its InsituMain liner. The company drills two access points on both sides of the broken pipe. Then a flexible liner made from glass fibers and felt is soaked in resin and pulled through the broken pipe. Once in place, steam or hot water is pumped through the liner to stiffen and seal it, according to the article.
And the third innovation looks to plants for inspiration on how to clean water. A Danish company has built a membrane that extracts pure water from saltwater, just like plants pull water into their roots by osmosis. The membrane uses tiny protein channels to allow just the water molecules to pass through. And the best part? It needs no pumps to force the water through. This results in a cheaper and more energy-efficient system than traditional reverse-osmosis systems, according to the article.
These are three really innovative ideas. While only some of these technologies are available today, you know people will be looking to move forward with them.
Source: Popular Science, January 2010