Our research group performs largely experimental work on environmental separations and primary aerosols. We have obtained funding from federal sources, State of Texas, as well as other industrial and research consortia to support our research activities. A brief description of our current and recently concluded work is given below.
Our water purification research includes:
- Transport mechanisms of biological and inorganic colloids across microfiltration and ultrafiltration membranes.
- Methods to enhance removal of viruses and bacteria by low-pressure membranes.
- Fouling reduction of pressure-driven membranes by backwashing, chemical coagulation, and electrocoagulation.
- Surface water desalination by nanofiltration including advanced pretreatment for fouling control.
- Electrocoagulation for treatment of drinking water and hydraulic fracturing wastewater.
Our research on primary atmospheric particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) includes:
- Trace metals measurement. We have pioneered digestion and ICP-MS methods for lanthanoids (rare earth elements), platinum group elements (Rh, Pd, and Pt), and a host of other representative and transition metals present in urban particulate matter in the USA.
- Long-range transport of mineral dust; e.g. from North Africa (Sahara-Sahel region) to Texas and also within the Middle East region of Asia.
- Emissions from fluidized bed catalytic cracking units of petroleum refining operations.
- Tailpipe and non-tailpipe emissions from gasoline-driven light duty vehicles.
- Source apportionment in industrialized urban areas.
We also perform work on toxicity of nanoparticles looking at:
- Interactions of chelated bismuth nanoparticles with bacteria and human cells.
- Photocatalysis of (functionalized) fullerenes and their impacts on virus inactivation.
Examples of current and recently concluded projects are:
- Membrane (NF and RO) autopsy for fouling identification and cleaning.
- Produced water (electro)coagulation to generate clean brine and its desalination.
- Microorganism removal by membranes and simultaneous aggregation and inactivation by (electro)coagulation.
- Optimizing microfilter productivity during water treatment and potable reuse.
- Advanced pretreatment for nanofiltration of brackish surface water.
- Electrocoagulation pretreatment for microfilter fouling reduction and enhanced virus removal.
- Use of platinum group metals to accurately quantify PM emissions from light-duty vehicles.
- Quantifying African dust transport and emissions from petroleum refineries using rare earth metals.