Purifying Air with Computers' Cooling Airflow
Larry Qian
Eric Hamber
Floor Location : J 171 E

This project is about finding an economical way to filter harmful pollutants out of indoor air using adapted desktop computers' cooling airflow. This is best suited to places where there are many computers in a room, such as a computer lab or an office. rnrnAirborne pollution is a widespread issue that can be worse in indoor conditions. This pollution can be harmful to the health of both humans and computers.rnrnComputer systems usually remove heat from components by passing airflow through the case. However, dust and dirt from the air can clog heat sinks and fans, blocking the airflow. Eventually, the components can overheat and even cause the loss of data in the hard drive. rnrnA wide variety of pollutants present in the air are also harmful to human health. They can present a variety of health concerns. The pollutants can include smoke, traffic fumes, mould spores, bacteria, viruses, asbestos fibres, outgassed emissions, and pet dander.rnrnPollutants like the above are difficult to remove using a normal filter, because most are too small to be captured. Vacuum and furnace filters are generally unable to remove them effectively, so they are just blown back out. rnrnRemoving pollutants from the air typically involves an air purifier. Most function by the use of three filter stages, which involve a pre filter, carbon filter, and a HEPA filter. Smaller units usually cannot move enough air to cover a large area, and require space and power. A decent model can also be quite costly to purchase and maintain. This makes it difficult for them to be widely adopted, especially for larger spaces.rnrnThe goal of my project is to find an effective and affordable way to purify air for offices and other places with many computers. Most computers nowadays have at least one fan inside them, which always runs when the computer is switched on. This project involves utilizing the airflow from those fans to filter the air. A special designed filtering assembly fits on the side of the computer's chassis. A fan mounts to the inside of the main compartment. It pulls air through filter media and distributor baffles, and then blows the filtered air into the computer case, maintaining a positive pressure to cool the internal components. rnrnIf such a system is installed on all the computers in a typical cubicle office, they will be able to provide clean air to the host computers, increasing the life time and performance of the hardware as well as benefiting the users' and other occupants' comfort and health.