Date of Award

2017

First Advisor

Tom Coote

Second Advisor

Patty Dooley

Third Advisor

David Myers

Abstract

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are pollutants and cause a variety of health issues. After being produced for manufacturing, these pollutants were leaked into aquatic systems, where they bioaccumulate and persist in the environment. Few methods of cleanup exist for these pollutants, with the most commonly used method, dredging of the aquatic sediment, being harmful for the environment. This study offers a novel, non-intrusive method of PCB cleanup, which utilizes perfluorocarbon nanoparticles as the active agent in the filtering material. Perfluorocarbon molecules are lipophilic and will attract and remove any dissolved PCBs ensuring more will dissolve to maintain equilibrium. This idea was tested using phenanthrene as a model pollutant for PCBs and running the phenanthrene polluted water through a unique micro-bead filter system. Although phenanthrene was successfully extracted out of solution, the recovery rate of the extraction was quite low, suggesting a possible area for the improvement of the filter design.

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