Publication Date

Fall 2018

Faculty Advisor

Heather Dillon


Shiley School of Engineering


Solar water disinfection (SODIS) is a process by which microbially contaminated water is disinfected by transmitting solar ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) radiation to the water, damaging bacterial DNA and rendering them inactive. The purpose of this project was to define a residence time after which the water is effectively disinfected. The water was contained in quartz tubes, which were held over flat and parabolic reflectors. While UVA and UVB radiation are mostly diffuse and independent of reflector style, water temperature is affected by solar concentration. Two reflector styles were studied to identify how insolation level and water temperature are related and how that affects the bacteria inactivation process. A lab strain of E.coli, DH5a, was inoculated into sterile water and treated. 5-log reduction was achieved after two hours, regardless of water temperature or insolation level. The reflector style did not have a measurable effect on inactivation of E.coli. The water temperature, however, greatly increased due to the parabolic reflectors. The parabolic reflectors were, on average, two times more thermally efficient than the flat plates.


Water--Purification--Disinfection; Solar energy--Research

Publication Information

A Summer Research Celebration Project

© 2018 The Authors

Document Type

Student Project

Included in

Engineering Commons