P16411: Pulsed-Corona Water Purification

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

In this phase we are working with the customer to define the problem accurately and come up with a set of deliverables that are feasible given the time and resources of MSD1 and solve the problem.

Our Problem Definition Review presentation can be viewed here.

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

Project Summary

Current water treatment methods rely on filters, heat or ultraviolet light to destroy pathogens. This project's aim is to develop a prototype pathogen elimination system that utilizes a spark-discharge, or non-thermal plasma streamers. This prototype is intended for personal use in the format of a portable design.

This design is to be based on existing automotive components and powered by an automotive battery. A system for biological analysis of water also must be developed. The prototype must be able to process one gallon of water per hour.

Use Cases

The customer wants a highly scalable solution that can apply to everything from backpack sized portable filtration systems up to large scale municipal water treatment plants.

Product integration with various use cases is detailed below:

Project Goals and Key Deliverables

The customer wants a proof of concept that reliably sterilizes water while minimizing energy use. The product must be compatible with the customer's existing research and testing equipment.

Customer Requirements (Needs)

An up to date version of this spreadsheet can be accessed here.

The notes from our first customer interview can be found here.

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

An up to date version of this spreadsheet can be accessed here.

Risk Management

An up to date copy of this spreadsheet can be found here.


Factors, usually system-level, that limit your design space (e.g., cost, total weight, total footprint, total power available). Are your constraints measurable and testable, and can they be traced back to customer requirements? Have you considered economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability constraints, for example?

Design Review Materials

Include links to:

Plans for Next Phase

At our next review, we intend to have chosen an feasible design concept, that meets or exceeds our benchmark requirements. We will achieve this through functional analysis, morphological table creation, and concept generation.

Home | Planning & Execution | Imagine RIT

Problem Definition | Systems Design | Subsystem Design | Preliminary Detailed Design | Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep | Subsystem Build & Test | Integrated System Build & Test | Integrated System Build & Test with Customer Demo | Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation