Thursday, June 30, 2011

Batch Tests, Samples, and More Samples

Continuing with several batch tests, I have started to expand the scope of my experiment. It turns out that iron oxide coated sand acts as a great sorbent of copper! I would like to explore this material (as well as coconut shell) as a feasible material for removing metals in gold mining wastewater in Ghana. It's feasibility is dependent on its ability to 'shed' copper with the help of a desorption solution.  Once I find this ideal solution, I will then test different strengths in order to find the most economical solution. 

The research that I am doing now will aid my PhD student in his pilot project in Ghana. He wants to control arsenic (present in goldmining wastewater at almost 5 mg/L) and copper (present at 10 mg/L), and will do so with two columns; one with coconut shell and the other with iron oxide coated sand. However, since he was unaware that iron oxide sand sorbs copper so well, he has to reconfigure his set-up. It's fantastic to see such a direct correlation between my work in the lab and 'real-world' applications. It is this correlation that fuels me to continue working hard this summer!!
Sorption/Desorption Batch Experoment
The above picture is one of the several batch tests that I am running to determine possible desorption (sorbent regeneration) solutions. I am testing HCl, EDTA, Acetate, NaOH, and Calcium Nitrate as possible media for desorption of copper from coconut shell/ iron oxide coated sand.

Samples, Samples
Hard work in the lab is being complemented by fantastic voyages around the Netherlands area. This past weekend, Kristin and I adventured to de Hoge Veluwe, a national park just outside of Holland. We biked along the beautiful vistas, enjoying dunes, forests, plains, and lakes. Even just outside of Delft, we found a nice lake and serious of canals surrounded by forest. These gems are everywhere, scattered throughout Holland, and are certainly worth seeing!


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