As an efficient, inexpensive, low-tech way to treat water, Dr. James Amburgey’s research could bring clean, safe drinking water to potentially millions upon millions of people.
Simplicity is the primary objective of the rapid sand filter system Amburgey is developing. “The idea is to make it as simple as possible,” he said. “All that is needed is some PVC pipe, sand and inexpensive treatment chemicals. The only way to practically deploy a system to the people of less developed countries is for it to be inexpensive and simple.”
Amburgey, an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, specializes in drinking and recreational water treatment. He has done work in the past with slow sand filters, but his latest research with rapid sand filters is demonstrating the ability to clean water much more effectively and 30 to 50 times faster.
“One significant challenge with sand filters is in removing Cryptosporidium oocysts,” Amburgey said. “One ‘crypto’ is five microns in diameter, but the gaps between grains of sand are approximately 75 microns. So, we have to get the crypto to stick to the sand grains.”
To achieve this, Amburgey has developed a chemical pretreatment scheme based on ferric chloride and a pH buffer that is added to the water. In its natural state, Cryptosporidium is negatively charged, as are sand grains, so they repel one another. The chemical pretreatment changes the Cryptosporidium surface charge to near neutral, which eliminates the natural electrostatic repulsion and causes it to be attracted to and stick to the sand grains via van der Waals forces.
In research using a prototype of this system in his lab, Amburgey and his students have done preliminary tests on waters from local rivers, creeks and wastewater treatment plants. Their results are typically greater than 99 percent removal for Cryptosporidium-sized particles.
“A common problem in drinking water treatment facilities is that changing water quality requires changes in the chemical pretreatment dosages,” Amburgey said. “Our tests, so far, have shown that this system utilizing only a single set of chemical pretreatment dosages is effective on all waters tested to date.”
Another advantage of the system is that it can be adapted by using local sands or crushed rock that are indigenous to a particular region of the world.
Paul Nowell | Newswise Science News
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences