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Advanced Structures & Materials

Annual Plan

Safe water for all: Novel adsorbent and membrane materials for water and wastewater treatment

Project Summary

Principal Investigator

  • Itzel Marquez, Central Michigan University


  • Brad Fahlman, Anja Mueller, Central Michigan University


  • Emanuella Anang (post-doc), Catriana Nichols, Abolade Busari, Central Michigan University


  • James Dusenbury, US Army GVSC


  • Sarah Marshall, Mount Pleasant Water Resource Recovery Facility (MPRRF)

Project began Q4 2022.

By developing novel materials that offer tunable properties and capacities it is possible to design adsorptive and membrane processes highly selective for the removal of specific contaminants while being environmentally friendly and economically feasible. One of these novel materials are imprinted polymers.

Imprinting polymerization has been used in water treatment and has shown promising results for the removal of arsenate and other contaminants from water[1, 2]. However, molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) often lack the necessary strength and surface area for large scale operation. On the other hand, graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) has high specific surface area and tunable pore size, and has been widely employed to construct various functional membranes to meet different separation demands due to its unique chemical versatility, intrinsic porous characteristics, high stability, and “earth-abundant” nature[13].

The overall objective of the proposed work is to synthesize g-C3N4 functionalized with MIPs to remove arsenate and ammonia from water. Specific objectives are:

  1. To synthesize g-C3N4 functionalized with MIPs imprinted with arsenate and ammonia.
  2. To determine the adsorption capacity of the g-C3N4-MIP material for arsenate and ammonia at different operational parameters in adsorption columns.
  3. To determine solution parameters and process parameters for the fabrication of membranes with the g-C3N4-MIP material.
  4. To determine the rejection of arsenate and ammonia with the g-C3N4-MIP membrane at different operational parameters in membrane modules.
  5. To develop mass transfer models for synthesized adsorbents and membranes using operating conditions relevant for bench-scale systems.

References [1] Y. John, V. E. David, and D. Mmereki, “A Comparative Study on Removal of Hazardous Anions from Water by Adsorption: A Review,” Int. J. Chem. Eng., vol. 2018, no. Iii, pp. 1–21, 2018. [2] D. G. Ahoulé, F. Lalanne, J. Mendret, S. Brosillon, and A. H. Maïga, “Arsenic in African Waters: A Review,” Water. Air. Soil Pollut., vol. 226, no. 9, 2015. [13] Y. Wang, B. Gao, Q. Yue, and Z. Wang, “Graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4)-based membranes for advanced separation,” J. Mater. Chem. A, vol. 8, no. 37, pp. 19133–19155, 2020.