Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Department

Chemistry

Additional Departmental Affiliation

Biology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Arsenic contaminated drinking water is a serious worldwide issue faced by millions of people every day. Long term exposure to arsenic levels above the World Health Organization’s (WHO) standard of 10 ppb has been associated with severe detrimental health effects including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Although current water purification technologies exist, their implementation is an unrealistic goal by many third world nations for a variety of reasons, the most common being the cost associated with what are typically complicated procedures. This study strives to discover an effective and affordable novel arsenic removal technology.

The first step of this study was to establish an effective purification method. Iron has been selected because it has been proven to react with and adsorb arsenic species in water. Limestone has been selected because it is not only an affordable substrate, but it also contributes significant secondary beneficial characteristics such as: a heterogeneous surface, secondary binding sites, buffering qualities, and repurposing capabilities. Upon testing various concentrations of ferric chloride, a 99% removal efficiency was achieved with a newly synthesized material called Iron Limestone Complex (ILC). Cost estimates place the ILC material as a very affordable and favorable solution to the current problem.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Cathleen Webb

Disciplines

Biology | Chemistry

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