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
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2018 | Information Technology