Surface Tension exhibition at the Science Gallery in TCD

Water Is Life: Amazzi Bulamu contribution

Surface Tension - The Future of Water is an exhibition which is running at the Science Gallery in TCD from Oct 2011 to Jan 2012. This exhibition brings together work by artists, designers, engineers and scientists to ask the question ‘what is the future of water ‘?

Above: Dr. Consolata Kabonesa, Makerere University, Uganda who attended the VIP preview of the exhibition.

One billion people lack access to water in its most valuable form, as clean drinking water. Clean water is running out – and around the world it is used as a weapon of power and a tool in political conflict. We can create drinking water by removing the salt from seawater – and in the process we may devastate our marshes and poison the soil. What are the risks and benefits of other such schemes to address water shortages?

This exciting exhibition features one aspect of the research which is ongoing under the Water Is Life: Amazzi Bulamu project (hand pumps & pump seals). Mr. Kimmitt Sayers (DkIT), Dr. Brian Corcoran (DCU), Mr. Andrew Clarke (DkIT) with Lar Boland's images from Uganda worked together to produce an exhibit called Water Wear.

Water Wear aims to improve the viewer’s understanding of the issue of clean water provision in the developing world. The simple suction handpump provides an essential lifeline for millions of people but broken and poorly performing pumps are a common sight. Maintenance is frequently neglected due to resource constraints. Up to now this vital device has undergone relatively little design analysis. For instance, as the suction action of the pump draws groundwater to the surface, small solid particles are contained in the water. These particles can act as abrasives. As the repetitive cycling of the pump plunger continues over time in combination with the solids the seal surface wears back. The effect is that the women and young children who typically collect water expend longer time periods and more physical energy on this task.

Above: WIL members with Dick Ahlstrom (centre), Science Editor of Irish Times and Ralph Borland Curator of the exhibition at the VIP preview.

Visitors are encouraged to operate the pump to experience the workload that young arms must endure. Video images are sequenced in step to help the visitor narrow their perception of the physical distance between the research laboratory and real world setting for the pump.

For more information on this exhibition see: http://www.sciencegallery.com/surfacetension/water-wear

Above: Dr. Brian Corcoran, DCU; Mr. Kimmitt Sayers, DkIT; Dr. Edel Healy DkIT; Dr. Consolata Kabonesa, Makerere University and Dr. Eleanor Jennings, DkIT at the VIP preview.