CAREER: Interfacial Reactions Affecting Heavy Metal Fate and Transport: An Integrated Research and Education Plan
|Anticipated Total Funding||$236,894.00|
|Anticipated End Year||2009|
While most prior work on immobilization mechanisms has focused on adsorption, surface precipitation and co-precipitation are crucial mechanisms that remain largely unexplored. The research will advance the application of heterogeneous nucleation and solid solution processes to environmental systems. Research on uranium- and lead-rich nanoparticles will contribute to the nascent fields of environmental nanoscience and nanotechnology. While building on the PIs experience combining macroscopic, microscopic and molecular-scale techniques to elucidate reaction mechanisms at the solid-water interface, new collaborations have been established to pursue further mechanistic insights with a powerful arsenal of spectroscopic techniques. By integrating the study of immobilization mechanisms with investigations of contaminant remobilization, the work bridges the gap between fundamental aquatic chemistry research and applied environmental remediation. In addition to the direct benefits to contaminated site management, the new mechanistic information will also benefit research on water treatment and corrosion processes. Broader Impacts. The integrated research and education plans will reach a diverse audience and broaden the participation of underrepresented groups through recruiting and outreach. Educational programs on water quality and sustainability for middle school students and the community reach beyond the university. The project expands the infrastructure for research and education by developing relationships between environmental engineering and other disciplines through the cross-listing of courses, formation of multidisciplinary research teams, and collaboration with chemists and earth scientists. The scientific results will be broadly disseminated to contribute to the fields of environmental engineering, aqueous geochemistry, and interfacial science. New course initiatives of problem-based learning projects and integrated aquatic chemistry learning units will be made available to the environmental engineering academic community. Advancing the understanding of lead and uranium immobilization mechanisms benefits society by enabling improved site management and remediation strategies. The education of environmental engineering students and outreach to pre-college students will have societal benefits extending into the future, especially when students develop a passion for lifelong learning.