A Simple DIY Air Purifier to Help Schools Fight COVID-19 Spread

A Simple DIY Air Purifier to Help Schools Fight COVID-19 Spread
Emily Storms

In today's blog post, we're sharing a note from Tahlee Baynard. Tahlee is a KLS parent who has been working on a DIY air filter project that provides a cost-effective method for purifying air and possibly fighting COVID-19 spread. Read on for more about his testing process and for instructions to create your own simple air purifier. 

This is Tahllee Baynard, father of KLS IL5 student Kingston B.  I am an engineer and have been designing instruments professionally for 20 plus years.  I used to work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) studying and modeling aerosols (small particles in the air). That was before we moved to Silicon Valley.

This summer, my former colleagues let me know about their research on aerosol transmission of COVID-19.  I sponsored an undergraduate research project at Cornell College to take the models and apply them to classroom settings.  This helped us to identify improved ventilation and aerosol filtration for indoor air quality, especially for schools as they planned to open in the fall. 

As part of the project, we designed and characterized a simple do-it-yourself filter unit you can build from components available at a hardware store.  We built several prototypes in a parking lot with student volunteers, including Kingston. 

These units reduce the concentration of respiratory particles that cause COVID-19 and the flu and smoke particles from the on-going wildfires. Kingston helped with the characterization of these units. Our characterization activities included measuring how loud they were and the amount of filtration provided for each speed setting. These units are meant to supplement the existing HVAC system of the building. 

Two of these filter units were provided to KLS for the spaces some IL1 students are in as in-person classes resume. Several additional filter units are being provided to KLS later this fall.

Instructions for building your own filter are provided here.

Thanks to KLS parent Tahlee Baynard for sharing this project!

We want to highlighting more KLS Community Voices on the blog this year. Do you have something you'd like to share here? Email emilystorms@khanlabschool.org with ideas! 

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