291085 Why Size Matters: Quantizing Size Distribution for Adsorption Studies 

Monday, October 29, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
Sierra Garbett, Milad Esfahani and Holly A. Stretz, Chemical Engineering, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN

In a world of seven billion people and counting the water resource is precious. The ultimate goal of this research is to aid in the advancement of water filtration systems. The specific goal is to quantitate the size distribution of a powdered Solvay polysulfone (PSF), so that adsorption studies of a model emerging pollutant (humic acid (HA) and nanoparticles) may be compared with adsorption by granular activated carbon (GAC). Currently ultrafiltration membrane supports made of polysulfone. The method needed to create the PSF powder was challenging due to the impact resistant nature of the polymer. Since mechanical methods (even cryogenic grinding) are ineffective, a system of solvent and anti-solvent fractionation was used. Polymer pellets were dissolved in dimethylacetamide (DMAC) and then the mixture was poured into ethanol. The next step in adsorption studies is to characterize the size distribution of the powder particles. To be comparable to GAC the particles must have a number average diameter of approximately 50 nanometers. Data collection will be done using an optical microscope and digital image analysis of multiple images. Once a uniform distribution can be confirmed, adsorption studies will be initiated in which the HA in the filtrate is detected by fluorescent spectroscopy and the nanoparticles (gold, TiO2, silica) will be detected by various means. Anticipated adsorption models for the HA in particular include modified Freundlich.

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