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Occurrence and Properties of Suspended Particles in Water

Project Full Title:

HOPE STUDENTS ONLY-Determining the Occurrence, Properties and Character of Suspended Particulate Material in Natural Waters: Implications for Contaminant Transport in the Environment

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Project Description:

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the fields of Geology, Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Chemistry and some Biology . The project, however, is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Geological & Environmental Sciences. The potential role of suspended particulate matter, including oxide nanoparticles (NP), in ground and surface water, has become an intense research area. While important new insights are being revealed about sub-micron size particles, two outstanding questions remain: How prevalent are these particles in surface and groundwater; and, if present, are they predominantly from anthropogenic or natural sources? The proposed study will sample groundwater and surface water in a multi-land use watershed, underlain by glacial-lacustrine sediments, typical of many glaciated terrains. Water samples will be prepared by a series of centrifugation, flocculation and settling techniques, and analyzed by powder x-ray diffraction (PXRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Another aspect of this project will be a link to the Sawyer Filter Project being performed within the GES, Biology and Chemistry Departments. Suspended material captured on point-of-use water filters via a global survey of rural drinking water sources may also be analyzed with techniques developed for local waters. Results from both studies may provide insight into both projects. Both lab and field work will be performed. The summer research activities will be approximately 80% laboratory-based and 20% field-based. Interested Hope College students are encouraged to apply. Selections will be based on the overall preparedness, interest, availability and background of the students. NOTE: The number of positions potentially offered will be dependent on available funding. This project is open to Hope College students only.

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