Research Project Full Title: Pottery Inspired Nano-enabled Ceramic Filters for Point-of-Use Water Treatment
Principal Investigator(s): Drs. Navid B. Saleh and Desmond Lawler
Researchers: Stetson Rowles III (Ph.D. Candidate)
Sponsor(s): National Science Foundation
Full Abstract: Economic inequalities in communities across a global cross-section lead to a lack of ‘basic capabilities’, among which access to clean water is considered to be essential for survival. The biological quality of water, when compromised, can readily transmit communicable diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and guinea worm infection. Globally, diarrhea is the second greatest cause of childhood death, claiming the lives of over half a million children per year. Affordable and effective point-of-use water treatment technologies are critical to provide adequate potable water to such low-income populations. Ceramic pot filters are used for water treatment in many African and Asian countries. Such filters are effective in particle removal, but have limited efficiency in disinfection. Nanomaterial enabled ceramic filters are designed as affordable, appropriate, and effective disinfection platforms for low-income communities. The filter design aims to integrate century-old practices in pottery (from the Navajo Nation) with novel reactive nanomaterial incorporation. So far, uniform sized silver nanospheres are synthesized and characterized using atomic force microscopy (AFM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). Control ceramic specimens are also prepared with a range of permeability and characterized using electron microscopy, mercury intrusion porosimetry, and pycnometer measurements. Silver nanospheres are deposited on the ceramic discs and also coated on the disc surfaces with pottery crater-glazes. A range of burn-off material (i.e., flour) concentration is utilized to control the ceramic pore size, while silicon carbide concentration is varied to modulate the coating roughness. Results obtained are used to tailor filter design that will be appropriate for application in the Navajo Nation and Oaxaca, Mexico.
Additional Links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cemhQpo3zkk