Date of Award

6-2020

Degree Name

MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

College

College of Engineering

Advisor

Dr. Rebekah Oulton

Advisor Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering

Abstract

Water scarcity is a growing concern at the global scale. Large scale water reuse is growing both in necessity and popularity. Before water reuse can be performed efficiently on a large scale or be used for potable supply, even indirectly, contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) will need to be treated at the full scale. Advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) are a form of advanced water treatment capable of treating a wide range of CECs. This study contributes to the growing field of AOPs and more specifically AOPs using ozone combined with functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). Ozonation of MWCNTs has been found to increase hydroxyl radical production and improve AOP treatment. Novel MWCNT-enabled membranes were used as catalysts for ozonation to degrade the CEC Atrazine. Atrazine is an ozone recalcitrant CEC that is commonly found in herbicides. Atrazine removal results, found using a high-performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC), were inconsistent between membranes constructed using identical procedures. Further analysis using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopes (SEM), and UV-Vis spectrophotometry was conducted to explore inconsistencies in construction of the membranes which might explain removal inconsistencies and predict membrane longevity. Removal was found to be influenced by filtration time and ozone exposure. Ozone exposure and filtration time influence percent removal because they both affect hydroxyl formation. The membrane test filtration duration, for equal filtered volumes, ranged from under 5 minutes to nearly an hour. It is believed that filtration time inconsistency was due to inconsistent MWCNT loading on the surface of the membranes. Extended exposure to ozone might change the surface chemistry of the MWCNTs on the membrane surface, affecting hydroxyl radical production. Additionally, repeated use of the membrane created surface defects that might reduce the membrane strength. This study found that the lifetime of the membrane is far past what was simulated in lab and further testing must be performed.

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