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This project goes into the build a simple survival water distillation system to turn your salt water into drinkable fresh water. This setup can be made with little more than two glass bottles, some metal trays and some sand. So the primary components of this setup are two glass bottles, the wider the bottles are in diameter ,the better and a pair of metal trays.

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The first part of this process will be to prepare an area such that the two bottles can rest mouth to mouth. The important part is that one of them needs to be suspended over a heat source. This could be done over an open campfire, you just need to find a way to suspend the bottle above the flame either using rocks or logs.

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Cut a small notch on one side of the pan so that the neck of the bottles can sit a little lower in the pan. This is by no means necessary, but it will make the setup a little more secure. With the trays secured in place, both of them are now filled with sand. The sand will allow the trays to more efficiently act as heat sinks, one tray to cool one of the bottles and the other tray will be used to very evenly heat the other bottle so that it doesn’t shatter from being heated too much on one side.

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The bottle is pressed firmly into the sand so that it gets good thermal contact and will be heated evenly. The second bottle is adjusted such that its mouth will meet up with the first and it is also pressed into the sand to obtain good thermal contact. Another reason that I’m using sand for this is because it makes it very easy to adjust the bottles angles and it is best to make the bottles meet up as evenly as possible so that there is not much room for water vapor to escape.

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We want it all to make it into this second bottle where it can condense as freshwater. As an additional measure to keep the cold half of the bottle cold, we wet the sand on this bottle with water or cover them with a wet cloth to allow evaporative cooling to take place.

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With such a large quantity of sand in this tray it does take a little while for it to reach the boiling point and get this process started. But once the sand has reached that point, it stays hot for a long time. So it is a pretty quick process as the water boils dry in this first bottle to simply refill it and you can continue on with the distillation process as long as you want.

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Rotate the bottle so that the top portion becomes hot from the steam, it is rotated into the cold sand below. And in that way the entire bottle maintains a cold temperature which causes the distillation to go much faster.

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