Selena Cao, “Novel Porous Material for the Removal of Lead from Water”
Mentor: Marcia Silva, Global Water Center
Heavy metal contamination, including lead (Pb), is a well-known and documented issue for waste and drinking water. Despite the numerous health hazards associated with lead, many cities in the US and around the globe still use lead pipes in their water systems. External pollution also contributes to such lead contamination. According to the World Health Organization, no known level of lead exposure is safe for humans, and lead poisoning is considered irreversible. Lead is known to affect the bones, blood, and organs such as the kidneys, liver, and brain. An experimental method of removing lead from a water supply is using functionalized natural porous material. Lead has such a high affinity to this adsorbent that the release is undetectable, a very useful property should the material ever be used on a large-scale operation. The purpose of this research is to understand how varying the times in the fabrication process affect the Lead adsorption capacity and percent removal properties of the material. It can be concluded that the functionalized material is a highly effective adsorbent for the removal of lead from water. In some trials, adsorption capacities of 999.49 mg/g, and removal percentages of 98.8 % were observed. Future research with this material will focus on regeneration study so the adsorbent may be reused.