TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - A British student Dylan Knight has discovered a simple trick to slash the weight of washing machines, making them easier to move and more environmentally friendly.
Most washing machines have a 25kg block of concrete near the top to hold the machine steady during a spin cycle. This significantly adds to the weight of the appliance when it is being delivered by transport or moved by hand.
But the simple change, discovered by a team at Nottingham Trent University, would replace the concrete with an empty plastic container, which could then be filled with water to act as a counterweight once the washing machine has been placed.
Removing the concrete reduces the weight of the appliance by a third. This change would not only save back breaking labour when moving a washing machine, but would make them lighter to transport saving on fuel.
The university estimated the invention could save 45,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide on the 3.5m washing machines sold in the UK each year. An average new car in the UK emits around 2 tonnes of CO2 every 10,000 miles.
The simple change was developed as part of a final project by undergraduate Dylan Knight, 22, with the help of engineering professor Amin Al-Habaibeh.
Knight tested the water container as a counterweight and found it just as effective as the traditional concrete weight used in most domestic washing machines.
Knight said: "Concrete is actually quite bad for the environment due to the CO2 released when it’s produced. The use of concrete is also the reason why washing machines are normally very heavy to move.
“The hollow container is left unfilled until the appliance is installed. We found it worked as good as a concrete counterweight, stopping the spinning drum from heavily vibrating the machine.”
The new washing machine was part of a project run by product design firm Tochi Tech, who are working with the university. The hope is to pitch the design to global manufacturers to change the way washing machines are made.