Polyurethane Foam Optimization for Low-Cost Arsenic Filtration from Drinking Water

Alex Turner, “Polyurethane Foam Optimization for Low-Cost Arsenic Filtration from Drinking Water”
Mentor: Krishna Pillai and Parham Mobadersani, Mechanical Engineering
Poster #129

Arsenic contamination of water sources affects the entire world. Although it is more common in developing countries, an estimated 2.1 million Americans are using wells high in Arsenic (> 10 µg/L) with Wisconsin being part of the hardest hit states according to the U.S. Geological Survey and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the standard allowed in public water supplies. Extremely high arsenic concentrations near 400 ppb of arsenic in water sources lead to health issues in the respiratory system, health issues in the neurological system, or even increase risk for bladder or skin cancer. This study is focused on optimizing the polyurethane foam (PU foam) synthesis process for low-cost arsenic filters utilizing iron oxide nanoparticles for adsorption. The purpose of these filters is to provide people all around the world with easy access to an effective yet affordable arsenic filters. After numerous batches of foams were created, the flowability, permeability, and porosity of these foams were then tested since the foams were created to optimize flowability, permeability, and porosity for the filtration application. In addition, the foams were optimized for effective surface area. To reduce the cost, an iron oxide nanoparticle coating process for the foams were also researched and developed.