After much blood, sweat, and tears, I’m proud to announce that we finally fully set up the CDI system (of course, it leaked the first time we ran water through it, which took a couple tries to figure out). We ran about 1 volt through the system and successfully reduced the conductivity for about 5 minutes, at which point we assumed that the electrode became saturated and could no longer desalinate the solution. Then we reversed the polarity of the carbon electrodes to dump the collected ions into a concentrate stream, which took a while most likely due to the significant amount of collected ions. We are still trying to figure out the quirks of the system, but the future looks promising; however, it’s all a bit bittersweet, since the project feels like it’s just beginning.
On another note, LabVIEW coding has not been going so well. After extensively reading different manuals and trying my best to figure out the new language, I discovered that the program is relatively easy to use and navigate…if it’s set up correctly. Focus had been shifted mainly toward acquiring materials to complete the CDI system, so once I could direct my attention more fully to learning the software, I quickly ran into quite a few problems while actually trying to write a code connecting different instruments to the computer. Fortunately, Dr. Walker was able to clear most everything up once back from his trip delivering water filters to those in need in Ecuador. However, we ultimately discovered that the LabVIEW software would not measure data due to an installation error, which we are currently still trying to figure out so that we can finally get the ball rolling on this automation.
As my time here comes to an end, I can’t help but feel saddened by the eventual goodbye to this wonderful place and the people that have truly made this entire experience worthwhile.