Junhong Chen, Ph.D.
Zhen He, Ph.D.
Shrinivas Joshi, Ph.D.
Fabien Josse, Ph.D.
Ying Li, Ph.D
Pradeep Rohatgi, Ph.D.
Daniel Zitomer, Ph.D.
Year 2012/2013 Research Projects
Industrial Members voted to invest $300,000 in seven projects.
Hybrid nanomaterials for low-cost detection of chemicals and bacteria in water
Junhong Chen, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, UW-Milwaukee
The objectives of this project are to investigate the use of hybrid nanoparticle-carbon nanotube (CNT) structures for real-time sensing of various chemicals (e.g., phosphates, residual chlorine, mercury, and E-coli) in water and to integrate the nanosensors into existing water equipment (e.g., water meters) to monitor the water quality.
Novel hybrid nanomaterials consisting of nanoparticles distributing on the CNT surface will be synthesized. Novel water sensors based on such materials will be fabricated and tested in the laboratory. Methods to integrate the nanosensor into the existing water equipment will be developed and evaluated in the real water system. In particular, the lifetime of the sensor will be evaluated. Dr. Chen’s group has extensive experience in nanoparticle synthesis, assembly, and sensor design and characterization.
Photo-Electrochemical Water Treatment Device
Zhen He, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, UW-Milwaukee
The objective of the research is to develop an innovative photo-electrochemical water treatment (PEWT) device for residential or small community drinking water treatment. The proposed PEWT device can soften water, conduct disinfection and remove organic contaminants. This one-year project is to investigate the technical feasibility of the PEWT device and develop a bench-scale prototype to examine its performance in hardness removal, microbial disinfection and organic degradation.
Miniature high efficiency transducers for use in ultrasonic flow meters
Shrinivas Joshi, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Marquette University
Flow meters based on the use of ultrasonic waves possess a number of attractive properties for use in the water industry. One of the problems in ultrasonic flow meters is that the transducers currently available are generally large in size, bulky, and have large insertion loss. Recent work done in Dr. Joshi’s laboratory indicates that a novel type of transducer based on coupling of energy between plate acoustic waves and bulk acoustic waves has the potential to provide miniature, low cost, high efficiency transducers for use in ultrasonic flow meters.
This project can be divided into two main tasks.
- Carry out theoretical analysis of the coupling between plate and bulk acoustic waves. The aim of this task is to calculate the efficiency of converting energy from plate acoustic waves to bulk acoustic waves and vice versa.
- Use results obtained from the theoretical analysis to design, fabricate, and evaluate prototype transducers for use in flow meter applications.
Array Chemical Sensing Microsystems with Novel Signal Processing
Fabien Josse, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Marquette University
This project will focus on designing and developing heterogeneous, and hybrid arrays of sensors for in-situ monitoring of chemical contaminants in groundwater and wastewater. The array will consist of multi-channel guided SH-SAW devices and IDT-based chemiresistors with chemically modified surfaces. The objective is to achieve system performance levels in determining analyte type and concentration that are much more than the sum of the parts of the component sensors. The chemical contaminants of interest include organic compounds, organo-phosphate-based compounds (pesticides, etc.). The array will consist of set of multi-channel acoustic wave devices and IDT-based chemiresistors with chemically modified surfaces to achieve low detection limits with class specificity. The array analysis will be complemented with a novel signal processing approach.
Novel Nanofiber Membrane and Hybrid-Composite Cartridge for Concurrent Filtration and Removal of Multi-Pollutants in Water
Ying Li, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, UW-Milwaukee
This project focuses on fabricating and testing two novel nanomaterial and devices (TiO2/Fe2O3 nanofiber membrane and hybrid TiO2/Fe2O3/SBA-15 cartridge) for concurrent filtration of fine particles and removal of multi-pollutants in water. Heavy metals (e.g., As, Cr) are removed through adsorption, while TOC (e.g., humic acid) and micro-contaminants (e.g. endocrine disruptor) are decomposed upon photo-illumination. The proposed hybrid materials have unique features of high surface area, high adsorption capacity, and ability of anti-fouling and on-site regeneration. They are advantageous over benchmark activated carbon adsorbents that are ineffective for heavy metal removal and suffer from capacity loss over regeneration cycles.
Self cleaning materials for water industry products
Pradeep Rohatgi Ph.D., Principal Investigator, UW-Milwaukee
The concept of self cleaning in materials is based essentially on the creation of surfaces which have an innate ability to repel dirt. It has its basis in nature from which the concept of ‘lotus effect’ is derived. Such innate self cleaning ability of materials will have considerable importance in the water industry.
The experimental plan for the development of such self cleaning materials will be two pronged, namely; development of models showing the correlation between the size and volume fraction of hydrophobic particles on self cleaning behavior of metal matrix composites and the synthesis as well as test of such metal matrix composites for their self cleaning behavior using metal alloys such as tin, copper, iron and aluminum. Already, the equipment for measuring contact angles has been set up in UWM and contact angle measurements have been made on selected monolithic and composite aluminum and copper alloys to validate theoretical models being developed. Results have shown good self cleaning properties in etched and surface modified Aluminum alloys and Aluminum-graphite, and copper graphite alloys composites. This work will be extended to actual parts of IAB Members.
Nutrient-Enhanced Biochar Product and Processing of Wastewater Biosolids
Daniel Zitomer, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Marquette University
This project will focus on a novel process to adsorb nitrogen (N) from wastewater and a new commercial product composed of a nutrient-rich soil amendment, “biochar-N,” will be developed. The research team will investigate wastewater biosolids pyrolysis, the heating of biosolids to 400°C in the absence of oxygen, producing the solid product, biochar, that is similar to charcoal. Biochar will be used to absorb N from wastewater (becoming biochar-N) and added to soil to increase plant growth.