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Approximately 90 million people in Africa lack access to safe drinking water, despite having water infrastructure installed in their community. The India Mark II and the Afridev handpumps are among the most widely used handpumps in the world. Sadly, studies show that approximately 30% of these handpumps are non-operational due to failures of the bearings, seals, head flange, and other common components. The Better Pumps team of the Collaboratory provides engineering support for partners who are working to improve handpump sustainability. We partnered with Tony Beers and AlignedWorks to validate a bearing test methodology for the India Mark II handpump. By modifying the loading conditions in our handpump test machine, we were able to replicate failures observed by AlignedWorks in a field trial of their bearing design. We partnered with Matt Schwiebert and Living Water International to test new seal designs for the India Mark II and Afridev handpumps and to measure head flange deflections in the India Mark II handpump. Seal performance data collected by the team was used to validate a new design in advance of field trials by Living Water International. Head flange deflection data was collected for partner benchmarking of their computational analysis. Test methodologies and results are reported.

Publication Date

Spring 2021


Messiah University, Messiah College, Engineer, community, service




The work presented in this document has been provided solely for educational and edification purposes. All materials are composed by students of Messiah University and are not certified by any means. They do not constitute professional consultation and require the examination and evaluation by a certified engineer through any product development process. The contents documented are the produced work by the student design team but do not necessarily represent the as-built or as-assembled state of a complete and tested design; faculty, staff, and other professionals involved in our program may have augmented the student engineering work during implementation, which may not be recorded within this document.

Messiah University, the Collaboratory, nor any party related to the composition of this document, shall be liable for any indirect, incidental, special, consequential, or punitive damages, or any loss of profits or revenues, whether incurred directly or indirectly, or other intangible losses, resulting from your access to or use of the provided material; any content obtained from the provided material, or alteration of its content.

Better Pumps: Reliable Handpump Infrastructure

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