About This Project

Each year, more than 3.5 million people die from lack of access to clean water in developing countries. Our objective is to develop an inexpensive sustainable water purification system. Our method involves using chitin, a cheap and abundant material which all the crustacean shells are made of. After non-chemical extraction, chitin can be used as part of a water purification system to provide affordable clean water for people.

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What is the context of this research?

We are a team of one PI, two PhD graduate students and one undergraduate student working mainly on chitin, its characterizations, properties and applications. Our group has started to work on chitin five years ago and we have achieved a lot of success on proving the spectacular properties of this biopolymer and its potential applications in different areas. We are fully committed to the project idea we are proposing here to solve the problem of clean water globally with the help of a vast knowledge about chitin and its fantastic filtration potentials to act as biosorbent to absorb metals, dyes, microorganism, pathogens and contaminants from water.

What is the significance of this project?

People living in developing countries are suffering from a water crisis and many subsequent health issues related to that. Water is essential for life; yet millions of people do not have access to drinkable water. The lack of clean water leads to numerous waterborne diseases. Despite the sufficient sources of water available, there is still a cost associated with extracting this water and making it usable for people. Currently, there are some methods available such as boiling, chlorination, rainwater harvesting, etc. However, the bad taste after treatment and costs associated with these methods are still challenges we are facing. We are proposing an affordable sustainable method for individuals to provide the clean water for themselves in an effective way.

What are the goals of the project?

Our immediate goals are as follows:
1. Buying shrimps and crabs shells from seafood companies
2. Buying equipments and supplies to keep and process these shells
3. Extracting chitin compound from these shells
4. Treating untreated unpurified water with ground extracted chitin powders


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We buy the already extracted chemical grade chitin for our experiments from a specific supplier. However, in order to develop an inexpensive chitin-based water filter, we need the funding to extract chitin directly from the available sources such as crab shells and shrimps shells. We need to buy these from Seafood companies which are typically by the ocean not very nearby. Also, the funding will help us buy the supplies needed to process and convert chitin to more usable form to further treat water and do purification.

Meet the Team

Pegah Hassanzadeh
Pegah Hassanzadeh
Xiaolin Zhang
Xiaolin Zhang
Rachel Rosenzweig
Rachel Rosenzweig
Susan Lu
Susan Lu
Marco Rolandi
Marco Rolandi

Team Bio

P. Hassanzadeh
I joined Rolandi Research Group at University of Washington to pursue PhD in Materials Science in June 2012. My current project is investigating the mechanical properties of chitin micro- and nano structures. I have been always passionate about helping people and seeing the effects of emerging technologies in real life. This project will help me accomplish my dream.

X. Zhang
What research motivates me is that my work would potentially promote healthcare advancement in people's daily life. I am very passionate about this project, as it would provide people in developing countries access to clean drinking water at almost no costs.

R. Rosenzweig
I got into Materials Science and Engineering due to my curiosity in the science of materials towards engineering applications. This project is special to me because it will test us on our knowledge and skills as researchers to engineer a material that will provide clean water for people in developing countries

I am a rising senior at Cleveland High School in the academy School of Life Sciences. I find my interest in exploring and learning more about the newest research involved in global health. This project will help not only me but other people in need of clean water. My motivation is the difference I know I will make in the lives of others as an outcome.

Additional Information

Project Backers

  • 55Backers
  • 101%Funded
  • $2,025Total Donations
  • $36.82Average Donation
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