2012 - Biopolymer Sorbents for Tungsten Removal

Grant Award Year: 
Principal Investigator: 
Jessica Schiffman
Research Description: 
High levels of tungsten were recently detected in Massachusetts Military Reservation groundwater. This prompted the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense to declare the metal as an emerging contaminant. This project aims to design and synthesize the renewable biopolymer chitosan into novel nano-constructs that will efficiently remove tungsten from dilute aqueous solutions. Undergraduate students will systematically identify the sorption properties and mechanisms for an assortment of chemically and physically modified chitosans. By varying the chemistry and morphology of the chitosans, tungsten will be adsorbed at maximum capacity. This study will enable the development of tungsten sorbents from the environmentally friendly biopolymer chitosan. Additionally, undergraduate students will be afforded with an opportunity to conduct scientific research: they will review primary literature, formulate hypotheses, interpret data, and communicate their results.