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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is an experimental idea I had for a bamboo water still assuming you end up stranded on a island or jungle place surrounded by mostly saltwater or have a area with allot of bamboo,so here it goes and bear with me on this one.

First off one wants to keep the bamboos internodes intact then cut a small hole at the upper part of the bamboo side and make a smaller hole in the top internode, This is where one will pour the water into the top of the still, one will want to produce a cork to seal the top hole which can be made from anything such as a sliver of bamboo to the sealing materials one is working with, which will later be mentioned.

(if it is an emergency and one messes up and only has one precious piece of bamboo one can use a smooth rock and use it as a seal on the top where water is to be poured in)

Next we must make an impoverished still caparm where there is none (the still caparm is the straw tube that vertically condenses the gas into a liquid more efficiently), also note that you never want to put the caparm or "straw" deep into the still because there is a danger of explosion you want it to just be conjoined at the openings never channel it into the still.

Here are my ideas on how we can make this impoverished caparm because there are more then one way to do it:

Note this should not be used if obviously you have some tubing already of some sort to use, always use practicality.

Method 1; Chinese finger trap as a straw, believe it or not the older Chinese finger traps are made of bamboo slivers we can use this same idea to make an impoverished straw from the materials we are working with, here are instructions of how to make a Chinese finger trap

http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Chinese-Finger-Trap

We can seal around it with anything that can act as a seal but heat will not transfer into the water we wish to purify so we might want to add long strips around it then tree sap or pulverized materials mixed with mud , this would make a rather thick straw but it would work.

Method 2; If you have a knife which I would think you would have to do most of the cutting or puncturing necessary, for this you could cut the curved bamboo along its side carefully and trim out most of the edges starting from bottom and going to the top and scraping away the inside of these internodes as well then conjoin both parts, when looking at the straws front it would look like a oval at its ends and it should be thin as possible.

Note* this wold require the hole we made in the water still part to be larger along the holes edges , one can either twine around this type of straw or seal along the edges with what ever you have.

Now one must attach a still caparm for the hole at the upper part of the bamboo side that we have previously made this can be sealed at the conjoining parts with tree sap or *mud mixed with pulverized fibers which have a high starch content or resins, ratio 2 to 1, 2 parts pulverized fibers with resin with 1 part mud

*note this must be further tested if mud is a good medium.






This idea was inspired by this video of a balloon held over a flame until water boils http://www.liveleak.com/view?c=1&i=fbd_1238947439 which I believe describes the physics of why the bamboo water still would not fail in operation

never try to make a still from aluminum,plastic or rubber when exposed to flame as it will leach toxins into your water even if it doesn't end up melting or you cant see it do so. also the solders they use in buckets or containers made from these materials even if made of stainless steal but not used for food could use lead based solder to join the edges which will cause brain damage if used as a still.
 

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Very cool and definitely looks like it would work.

The only difficulties I can see would be the amount of time it would take to get going, and cooling the 'straw'. Wood doesn't conduct heat very quickly, so once the straw heats up it may quickly get too hot for the water to condense properly in it.

It'd be nice to see how well it'd work though.

One thing I thought of for creating my own emergency still would be the use of any sort of conductor or thin material placed above the opening at the end of the straw, parallel to the ground with a slight angle to control drip direction.

I think the most ideal might be something like a cooking pot. This way rather than relying on the air to keep it cool (a heatsink), you could fill it with cold (non-potable, doesn't matter) water. The steam would come out the end of the straw and as it attempts to go straight up would have to move around the base of the pot. The steam would condense against the cold pot bottom and drip down.

This would be similar to when you are boiling water with a top on your pot - the lid gets covered in condensation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
yeah I got the general idea that the small holes in this bamboo finger trap straw would need to be sealed all around the straw by smearing the whole surface of the straw with mud or whatever but figured that would cause a little dirt in the water and be troublesome if one had to reapply it .then again if someone is dying of thirst id doubt they would complain.

it wold probably work better with a copper tube or dropping tiny heated rocks into a larger top hole might work but one would have to work around the larger top hole of it and risk burning ones self with hot water if one put a firm seal by hand on top of it with something like a large smooth rock or a pan top.

A cooking pot you could cut a groove at the top edge of the pot then cut a small slightly vertical groove into the metal straw half way closest to its end so it hangs a little into that pots groove but doesn't conflict with allowing the pots top to be on top of all this then put some sealing material around it and then put a flat top on top of the whole pot, assuming its a worst case scenario with minimal tools

Added image of what im saying by use of knife without drill in a thin metal pot and thin metal tube
 

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Maximus
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I think it will work. Trying it has still been on my "to-do" list. This was the design that I came up with:

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=160847

It is similar to yours but I like the way you have the tube coming up the side and not the top. That would actually work much better, but it is harder to drill the side out of a piece of bamboo than the top node.

Also you might not need to use create a tube though and just use smaller diameter bamboo and punch the nodes out.
 

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This is what I'm talking about. The darker water with brown streaks is dirty water. Blue circles are drips of water. The light water is distilled.

The problem with the "straw" is that there is no way to cause it to cool the steam - wood is an insulator. So what I am suggesting is to hang a pot of cold water just above the exit to the straw. Any excess steam should strike the bottom of this pot and be instantly cooled and condensed.

still.jpg
 

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To make a straw, you can easily use the same techniques that natives used to use to make flutes.

Cut a piece of wood in two (lengthwise!) - bamboo or something with a soft pith. Scrape out the pith or break the little segmentors. Tie it back together - seal it if you want with some sap or whatever you have.
 

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Maximus
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The problem with the "straw" is that there is no way to cause it to cool the steam - wood is an insulator. So what I am suggesting is to hang a pot of cold water just above the exit to the straw. Any excess steam should strike the bottom of this pot and be instantly cooled and condensed.

View attachment 53651
One thing about bamboo though is that it has nodes. Even if you punch a hole in it, part of the node ring remains intact. In essence, even though the bamboo "straw" is made, it is actually still a chambered straw with small holes in it. I have a feeling that the steam will build up in these chambers and condense. I there are 2 chambers, even better.
 

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One thing about bamboo though is that it has nodes. Even if you punch a hole in it, part of the node ring remains intact. In essence, even though the bamboo "straw" is made, it is actually still a chambered straw with small holes in it. I have a feeling that the steam will build up in these chambers and condense. I there are 2 chambers, even better.
If the holes are small then pressure will increase due to the heat and insulation and you'll just end up with more strain on your seals + steam blowing faster out the straw. Any additional heat (kept insulated in by the fact it's made of wood) will keep the water from condensing within the straw. It'd be preferable for the steam to pass slowly through the straw so that the straw has time to conduct/emit heat and cool the steam.

But what we really need a little demo built to see how it goes :)
 

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..

But what we really need a little demo built to see how it goes :)
I have been wanting to try for long while now. I haven't come across the large bamboo I wanted to use for the project. The only ones here grow 1-2 inches in diameter. It would be better to have the 4-5 inch species.
 

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I have been wanting to try for long while now. I haven't come across the large bamboo I wanted to use for the project. The only ones here grow 1-2 inches in diameter. It would be better to have the 4-5 inch species.
I don't think there will be any trouble at all with the bamboo container - it will heat up enough to create steam. The straw is the only thing I question - so you could make a test still out of any container that'd work and try a bamboo straw.
 

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Maximus
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I don't think there will be any trouble at all with the bamboo container - it will heat up enough to create steam. The straw is the only thing I question - so you could make a test still out of any container that'd work and try a bamboo straw.
Hmm great idea! Ill try it this weekend! Post up the pics.
 

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here is the revised more practical version three I came up with based on the help here



There you go. I don't know why yours didn't show up....

But looking at your design and what I just tried at home.... the tube needs to be much longer. Also you might have a problem with the bamboo "paper" inside. See down below...
 

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I don't think there will be any trouble at all with the bamboo container - it will heat up enough to create steam. The straw is the only thing I question - so you could make a test still out of any container that'd work and try a bamboo straw.
OK!! here it is!

I used this small diameter bamboo. About the size of my finger. It was a yellow and dry piece. Might be different if I used green. Though this is what I had on hand.

I removed the nodes by splitting it and tying it back together. I figure this was more "realistic" since I won't have a 2 foot long drill bit :D: I tied it back with twine.









Fired it up and after about 10 minutes I started to get steam out the end. There was a lot of steam leaking from the pot end though. The aluminum wasn't good enough to keep all the steam from escaping. Steam also escaped from some of the splits in the bamboo. But some more twine helped that and it was only a small amount:





Too much steam was escaping out the end so I turned the heat down a bit. That helped. After about 25-30 minutes... still no water out the end but notice all the water dripping from the twine ties:







After about 40 minutes I shut it down to see what was going on inside the bamboo. You can see how wet the twine ties were:




Here is where it gets interesting... You can see the inside of the bamboo is soaked. Apparently I forgot about the "Bamboo paper" inside the stalk. This seemed to have absorbed all the steam and might have been the reason nothing was coming out the end but at the twine ties instead. My finger is scraping some of that wet paper off:







Conclusions: Steam was working and traveled down the stalk. It did condense into water but did not come out the end. Scraping the paper off inside might help a bit. You did get water... but it took a lot of resources and time. It works... but not really effective. Drink the bamboo water, use the bamboo to collect rain. Solar stills etc. This would be more of a last resort thing I think...
 

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You absolutely must have a way to cool the vapor in your lead off tube. It is not enough to have salt water vaporize. That vapor has to be turned back into liquid water or it will just be forced down the tube and out as vapor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
thanks for tested it, im going to be further testing this later when I get some bamboo as well (not very plentiful around here as most of the species here is to thin) I will try to make it as primitive as possible
 

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You absolutely must have a way to cool the vapor in your lead off tube. It is not enough to have salt water vaporize. That vapor has to be turned back into liquid water or it will just be forced down the tube and out as vapor.
Yea I was thinking the chambers in the bamboo would slow it down enough to cool. If the tube was longer (like 3 feet or something) I think it might work. It did condense at the wrappings though. It was just inefficient.


thanks for tested it, im going to be further testing this later when I get some bamboo as well (not very plentiful around here as most of the species here is to thin) I will try to make it as primitive as possible
Yea I might try again also with a longer stalk, sanded down inside, and better bindings. Maybe even a greener piece.
 

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Awesome work!!! :thumb:

Okay, so the wood is too much of an insulator!

I don't think making it longer will help enough. I think there needs to be something at the end of the tube, just above it where the steam would be going up. Perhaps a pot of cold water so the steam hits the bottom of the pot, as in my diagram.

Or, the cordage getting wet gave me an idea - a heap of frizzled up cordage would work (like a giant ball of cotton). The amount of surface area should keep it cool enough to condense the steam. Not as efficiently as a proper still, but I think it'd work enough.
 

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Awesome work!!! :thumb:

Okay, so the wood is too much of an insulator!

I don't think making it longer will help enough. I think there needs to be something at the end of the tube, just above it where the steam would be going up. Perhaps a pot of cold water so the steam hits the bottom of the pot, as in my diagram.

Or, the cordage getting wet gave me an idea - a heap of frizzled up cordage would work (like a giant ball of cotton). The amount of surface area should keep it cool enough to condense the steam. Not as efficiently as a proper still, but I think it'd work enough.
It did seem to create water... just that the wood seemed to have soaked it right back up. That paper I scraped out of the inside had a lot of moisture in it. You squeeze it and drops would come out. But I think your right, that a longer tube would just be all that much more wood to soak up the liquid.
 
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