TrashTrapper - a Marine Litter Containment Boom

Introduction: TrashTrapper - a Marine Litter Containment Boom

About: I am a 14 year old student


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Step 1: Intro

The device we’ve created is a portable trash collector mainly comprised of tarps and PVC pipes all connected with polypropylene ropes and zip ties. Our device is a tarp that is able to wrap around a specific area in the water to contain and centralise the trash just below the surface and on the surface. There will be PVC pipes connecting to the tarps keeping the device at float will preventing the surface layer of trash from escaping. The way this device will be used is by manually surround a concentrated area of trash ideally in more open water away from boats. The two ends will connect and be brought to shore via boat so that it can be easily removed from the water. Essentially our device’s main use is to corral and centralise the trash the make the removal of it more easy and convenient.

Step 2: Brainstorming and Design

We have decided to use 6 PVC pipes and 6 tarps on the main structure to better trap foreign specimens floating on top and right below the water. Because tarpaulin material is very light and buoyant, we decided to put weights under the tarp in an attempt to hold the structure together without it collapsing. To tie our model together, we used carabiners and ropes to tie the PVC pipes and tarps together.

Please see attached our initial design.

Step 3: Materials List

  • 6 x PVC pipes (0.1m diameter, 2.75m length)
  • Zip ties
  • 30m Polypropylene Rope
  • 6 x Tarpaulin (2.75m x 1.5m)
  • 18 x Carabiners
  • 12 x PVC caps
  • PVC primer glue
  • Grommets
  • Iron rod (any type of weights that can be attached at the bottom of the Tarpaulin)
  • Grommet stamper

Step 4: Assembly

  1. Cut 6 pieces of tarpaulin with lengths of 2.75m and widths of 1.5m, using a pair of scissors.
  2. Punch holes into the tarps and insert the grommets using a grommet stamper. (4 on top, 3 on the sides, 6 on the bottom)
  3. Attach the PVC caps to the end of the PVC pipes and secure them using PVC primer glue.
  4. Tie the tarps to the PVC pipes using zip ties.
  5. Measure 0.25m of an iron rod and cut them using a metal cutting saw. (18 pieces are needed in total)
  6. Attach the metal rods to the bottom of the tarps using zip ties. (3 on each tarp)
  7. Make loops and the ends of each of the segments using polypropylene ropes.
  8. Put Carabiners on one of the ends of the tarps. (3 on one side)
  9. Make loops on the other side using polypropylene ropes.
  10. Attach all the segments together by putting the carabiners through the loops on the end of the tarps.
  11. Fold the segments in a zigzag pattern.

Step 5: 1:10 Sized Model

We used cardboard to make a smaller model of our prototype that we were going to design.

Step 6: Redesign

If we were to recreate our device It would include many improvements from the previous design. These advancements will include an addition of more weights to keep the tarp/net beneath the surface of the water. Moreover, we would use nets instead of tarps as when we tested the deployment of our device it provided a lot of resistance when being pulled by the boat. Finally, the joints holding the tarps and PVC pipes together need to be more flexible and fighting as in between a lot of the tarps there were plenty of openings which allows trash to exit the device.

Step 7: Conclusion

Our device had no problems floating which was one of our positives about our device. It also stayed together and did not fall apart. The tarps also sunk like we had hoped it too. Our prototype had its flaws as we miss calculated the amount of weights we needed and underestimated the current of the water and the force required to pull the tarp underneath the water. Additionally we had a poor deploying method which caused many of the ropes and tarps to get tangled and fold over one another. Although the outcome of our test trial was not was desired, we and everybody else attempting to do something similar to us, can learn from our failures and develop a more polished design.

Our school is CDNIS, Canadian International School.

The Makerspace that supported the Impact Invention process is MakerBay. Cesar Jung-Harada, Chicky Ajoy Bhavnani, Maria Li. We want to particularly thank Graham Price of the Aberdeen Boat Club for letting us use their pontoon and space and providing us with a boat to test our prototype. Roz Keep, artist very active in ocean and beach cleanup. Darren Catterall, Transliner Yachts. Thanks to Graham, Roz and Darren for attending the launch of the prototypes and giving feedback to all the teams. Thank you also to: Fish for Trash (Living Lamma, Plastic Free Seas, Sea Shepherd Hong Kong, HK’s Cleanup Crew, HK Cleanup, WWF Hong Kong, Eco Marine, Plastic Free Seas, Simpson Marine, Aberdeen Boat Club, Royal HK Yacht). Save Aberdeen Harbor Alliance Save Aberdeen Harbour Facebook Page

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