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Science Simulations, Technology Simulations, Engineering Simulations, Mathematics Simulations

Lesson 1: Operating a Desalination Plant

Do you think you have what it takes to operate a desalination plant? You’ll need to know when to use vacuum pumps, water pumps, liquid pipes, and when to use gas pipes. Collect your virtual tools and start building your plant that converts ocean water into fresh drinking water.

Doing the Science

  1. Start the Desalination Simulation by clicking on the "Sim" tab.
  2. Select Surface for Warm Water Intake Depth and 200m for Cold Water Intake Depth, and then click Continue.
  3. Your tasks are listed on-screen between the Fresh Water and Cold Water Reservoirs as well as below in Table 1. Work on each task in order.
  4. In order to connect the Warm Water to the Aerosolizer, scroll over the icon of the appropriate element (pipe or pump). If you need the element to be vertical instead of horizontal, click on the R for rotate.
  5. Drag your element to the dots on the screen. No paths should overlap.
  6. Experiment connecting pumps and pipes on a path from the bottom left hand dot in Warm Water to the middle dot on the Aerosolizer. When you have the correct combination, the task will convert from the Red Incomplete to the Green Complete.
  7. When you have the correct combination, record how many of each element you used in Table 1 below

Table 1.

Liquid Pipe

Gas Pipe

Water Pump

Vacuum Pump

Warm Water to Aerosolizer

Flash Chamber
Drain to Warm Water Return

Flash Chamber to Condenser

Condenser Drain to Fresh Water

Condenser Gas Outlet (Off Screen)

Cold Water Intake to Condenser

Condenser to Cold Water Return

Do You Understand?

  1. Explain why you needed the water pumps where you put them.


  2. Explain why you used gas pipes where you did.