Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,055
Principal Investigators: Nina Ivanova, Nicole Zacharia
Abstract: Industrial waste containing chemicals and heavy metals, as well as concern over the fate of oil released from the recent BP Deepwater Horizon rig accident are problems facing the Texan water supply that need to be addressed. A novel magnetite Janus particle scavenger is proposed as emulsifier to be used in place of current surfactants for remediation of contaminated water bodies. These reusable particles have environmental and economic advantages over the surfactants. The Janus particle, a compartmentalized colloidal particle with two chemically or physically different sides, can form stable emulsions that can entrap oil or heavy metals depending on the ligands attached to the particle. The emulsion can consequently be destabilized by application of a magnetic field which will allow recovery and recycling of the particles and collection and disposal of the toxic waste including oil or heavy metals. Various functionalizations of magnetite Janus particles will be tested in the lab for emulsion stability and efficacy of oil, chemicals and heavy metals release, and will be finally used in the field in contaminated estuary, wetland and waterway samples.