RES.LL-004 | Spring 2022 | Non-Credit

LL EduCATE: Introduction to Engineering Concepts

Filtration Lab Motivation

As mentioned in the introduction, the practice of engineering is all about solving real-world problems. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic presented an endless supply of challenges for the United States’ scientific community. MIT Lincoln Laboratory has worked with its partners to study and engineer solutions to help the nation address the coronavirus.

While many of the problems the pandemic presented were hard to see in our day-to-day lives, such as supply chain issues, one problem became apparent through scientific study: a need for particulate filtration. Through advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control (CDC), the nation learned that different materials like cloths and fabrics can stop the spread of viral particles, and people living in the US started wearing masks.

At the same time, less visible filtration systems, such as the filtration efficiency of indoor HVAC systems, were studied; the connection between increased filtration efficiency and the removal of airborne particulates was also brought to light. Filtration became a global interest.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory helped address that issue in the United States by working with New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). A multi-disciplinary team of researchers from Lincoln Laboratory’s Biotechnology and Human Systems Division studied the spread of safe, water-based aerosols on public transportation. They mimicked how viruses spread when people cough or breathe in order to understand the effect of ventilation and air-filtration systems on reducing the spread. These types of studies demonstrate the application of engineering and research skills to urgent, real-world problems and show how you could one day have an impact on the lives of millions.

Filtration lab introduction by Janice Crager.

Test Your Knowledge on Filtration

  1. What is the purpose of filtration?
  2. Where do you use filtration in everyday life?
  3. What types of things would you want to filter out and why?
  4. What types of filtering materials can you think of?

Test Your Knowledge on Filtration Answers

Learning Resource Types