Multifunctional Nanomaterials for Emerging Contaminant Removal from Drinking Water

Project Summary

Research Advisor:  Nirupam Aich (Environmental Engineering)

Project Theme:  Pollutant Source Control

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), highly fluorinated aliphatic compounds used in various manufacturing industries, pose serious environmental concern due to their high resistance against environmental degradation processes. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), one of the mostly used PFASs, also has high persistence, toxicity, and bioaccumulation potential resulting in high environmental and human health risk. Although few conventional water treatment technologies (adsorption by activated carbon, ion exchange resin) have been found to remove PFOS from water, the recalcitrant nature of the contaminant has stimulated further research on developing advanced treatment techniques specifically tailored for PFOS removal. In this study, we will employ a multifunctional nanohybrid made of carbon and metallic nanoparticles to remove PFOS removal from water. The nanohybrid is expected to provide both adsorption and catalytic properties to potentially remove and degrade the PFOS compounds from water, while conventional technologies cannot. REU students will employ wet-chemistry based techniques for conjugation of two or more nano-scale materials. Physicochemical properties of the NHs will be evaluated using nanoscale characterization techniques e.g., transmission electron microscopy (TEM), dynamic light scattering (DLS), zeta-potential measurement, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area analysis, X-ray diffraction (XRD) spectroscopy, UV-Visible spectroscopy. PFOS removal efficiencies from drinking water using this nannohybrid will be determined. 

Primary Activities:  Wet-chemistry; Materials Characterization; Data Analyses

Skills/Courses Recommended:  Basic knowledge in general chemistry; Introduction to environmental engineering/chemistry

Anticipated Conference Participation:  Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization; American Chemical Society