Saturday, May 30, 2009

Start of Arsenic Research

Author: Duncan Peabody

Yesterday (Friday) we began work on the first part of our research. As I mentioned in my last blog it will focus on the effects of Calcium on the sorption of arsenic onto iron oxide-coated sand. We are working with Valentine, a Phd student from Rwanda. Valentine introduced us to a modeling software called PhreeQC. The software allows you to input all of the parameters of your various solutions and then tells you what species will exist when you mix the solutions and if there will be any precipitates. Basically the software does all of the things I learned in Aquatic Chemistry, except faster and better.

We have a long weekend this week so hopefully the momentum we've generated will carry over to tuesday. Tuesday we will hopefully be able to get trained on the Atomic Absorption Spectrometer so that we can analyze our samples. We will also begin preparation for our experiments. Wednesday we will run the experiments, sampling every two hours for ten hours and then again after 24 hours. Thursday and Friday we analyze the samples and see what we came up with. So that's the timeline for our first experiment. It doesn't allow much time for errors so we'll see how much it has changed come Thursday of next week.

I officially integrated into the Dutch culture this week with the purchase of a bike (above). Her name is Pegasus and she's purple. I'm going to go take her out for a spin now.

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