How a water still works

Water stills are used in many third-world and un-developed countries to provide clean, safe drinking water for thirsty residents. They function on the simple basis of evaporation, and they have the incredible ability to make brackish and saltwater drinkable.
Water stills are able to clean non-potable water through evaporation because water evaporates more readily than other molecules. For example, water (H2O) is able to evaporate much more easily than the salt ions in it (Na+ and Cl-). Water stills can also be used to filter sediments out of water when it comes from contaminated sources.
To make a small still for fun, get a small tray such as a pie tin. If you have something that is similar and darker in color, that will work better. Make a cone out of plastic, and place it over the tray. Tilt the cone so that one edge is lower than the other, and place a cup or other water-tight container below it. Fill the pie dish or other container with water and place the entire container in the sun. Check it after a few hours and there should be condensation on the cone. If it is hot enough outside, there might even be some water in the cup.
For more information on water-related topics, visit
Brian O’Neill


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