Rehabilitation of Contaminated Surface and Groundwater for Selected Sites in the Illawarra and Sydney Regions Utilising Nanotechnology

A comprehensive study was conducted to examine the removal of inorganic contaminants that exist in surface and groundwater in the Illawarra and Sydney regions. The ability of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT), as a generation of membrane technology, was examined using a dead-end filtration cell setup. A set of ten compounds were examined in this study that represent the significant inorganic cations and anions commonly found in contaminated surface and groundwater. The performance of MWCNT buckypaper membranes in excluding anions was found to be better than that of its cation exclusion. This phenomenon can be attributed to the Donnan exclusion mechanism (charge repulsion mechanism). Furthermore, the results revealed that phosphate recorded the highest exclusion value reaching 69.2%, whereas the lowest rejection value was for potassium where no removal occurred (0%). The reason for this is that the molecular weight of phosphate (95.0 g/mol) is greater than the molecular weight of potassium (39.10 g/mol).

Development of Electrospun Membranes with Defined Polyethylene Collagen and Oxide Architectures Reinforced with Medium and High Intensity Statins

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are related to affectations of the heart and blood vessels, within these are pathologies such as coronary or peripheral heart disease, caused by the narrowing of the vessel wall (atherosclerosis), which is related to the accumulation of Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) in the arterial walls that leads to a progressive reduction of the lumen of the vessel and alterations in blood perfusion. Currently, the main therapeutic strategy for this type of alteration is drug treatment with statins, which inhibit the enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase (HMG-CoA reductase), responsible for modulating the rate of cholesterol production and other isoprenoids in the mevalonate pathway. This enzyme induces the expression of LDL receptors in the liver, increasing their number on the surface of liver cells, reducing the plasma concentration of cholesterol. On the other hand, when the blood vessel presents stenosis, a surgical procedure with vascular implants is indicated, which are used to restore circulation in the arterial or venous bed. Among the materials used for the development of vascular implants are Dacron® and Teflon®, which perform the function of re-waterproofing the circulatory circuit, but due to their low biocompatibility, they do not have the ability to promote remodeling and tissue regeneration processes. Based on this, the present research proposes the development of a hydrolyzed collagen and polyethylene oxide electrospun membrane reinforced with medium and high-intensity statins, so that in future research it can favor tissue remodeling processes from its microarchitecture.

Low Temperature Biological Treatment of Chemical Oxygen Demand for Agricultural Water Reuse Application Using Robust Biocatalysts

The agriculture industry is especially vulnerable to forecasted water shortages. In the fresh and fresh-cut produce sector, conventional flume-based washing with recirculation exhibits high water demand. This leads to a large water footprint and possible cross-contamination of pathogens. These can be alleviated through advanced water reuse processes, such as membrane technologies including reverse osmosis (RO). Water reuse technologies effectively remove dissolved constituents but can easily foul without pre-treatment. Biological treatment is effective for the removal of organic compounds responsible for fouling, but not at the low temperatures encountered at most produce processing facilities. This study showed that the Microvi MicroNiche Engineering (MNE) technology effectively removes organic compounds (> 80%) at low temperatures (6-8 °C) from wash water. The MNE technology uses synthetic microorganism-material composites with negligible solids production, making it advantageously situated as an effective bio-pretreatment for RO. A preliminary technoeconomic analysis showed 60-80% savings in operation and maintenance costs (OPEX) when using the Microvi MNE technology for organics removal. This study and the accompanying economic analysis indicated that the proposed technology process will substantially reduce the cost barrier for adopting water reuse practices, thereby contributing to increased food safety and furthering sustainable water reuse processes across the agricultural industry.

Effect of Current Density, Temperature and Pressure on Proton Exchange Membrane Electrolyser Stack

This study investigates the effects of operating parameters of different current density, temperature and pressure on the performance of a proton exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolysis stack. A 7-cell PEM water electrolysis stack was assembled and tested under different operation modules. The voltage change and polarization curves under different test conditions, namely current density, temperature and pressure, were recorded. Results show that higher temperature has positive effect on overall stack performance, where temperature of 80 ℃ improved the cell performance greatly. However, the cathode pressure and current density has little effect on stack performance.

Investigation of Water Transport Dynamics in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells Based on a Gas Diffusion Media Layers

In this investigation, synchrotron X-ray imaging is used to study water transport inside polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells. Two measurement techniques are used, namely in-situ radiography and quasi-in-situ tomography combining together in order to reveal the relationship between the structures of the microporous layers (MPLs) and the gas diffusion layers (GDLs), the operation temperature and the water flow. The developed cell is equipped with a thick GDL and a high back pressure MPL. It is found that these modifications strongly influence the overall water transport in the whole adjacent GDM.

Basic Evaluation for Polyetherimide Membrane Using Spectroscopy Techniques

Membrane performance depends on the kind of solvent used in preparation. A membrane made by Polyetherimide (PEI) was evaluated for gas separation using X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Scanning electron microscope (SEM), and Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS). The purity and the thickness are detected to evaluate the membrane in order to optimize PEI membrane preparation.

Separation of Water/Organic Mixtures Using Micro- and Nanostructured Membranes of Special Type of Wettability

Both hydrophilic-oleophobic and hydrophobic-oleophilic membranes were obtained by coating of the substrate of membranes, presented by stainless steel meshes with various dimensions of their openings, with a composition that forms the special type of their surface wettability via spray-coating method. The surface morphology of resulting membranes was studied using SEM, the type of their wettability was identified by measuring the contact angle between the surface of membrane and a drop of studied liquid (water or organic liquid) and efficiency of continuous separation of water and organic liquid was studied on self-assembled setup.

The Gravitational Impact of the Sun and the Moon on Heavy Mineral Deposits and Dust Particles in Low Gravity Regions of the Earth

The Earth’s gravity is not uniform. The satellite imageries of the Earth’s surface from NASA reveal a number of different gravity anomaly regions all over the globe. When the moon rotates around the earth, its gravity has a major physical influence on a number of regions on the earth. This physical change can be seen by the tides. The tides make sea levels high and low in coastal regions. During high tide, the gravitational force of the Moon pulls the Earth’s gravity so that the total gravitational intensity of Earth is reduced; it is further reduced in the low gravity regions of Earth. This reduction in gravity helps keep the suspended particles such as dust in the atmosphere, sand grains in the sea water for longer. Dramatic differences can be seen from the floating dust in the low gravity regions when compared with other regions. The above phenomena can be demonstrated from experiments. The experiments have to be done in high and low gravity regions of the earth during high and low tide, which will assist in comparing the final results. One of the experiments that can be done is by using a water filled cylinder about 80 cm tall, a few particles, which have the same density and same diameter (about 1 mm) and a stop watch. The selected particles were dropped from the surface of the water in the cylinder and the time taken for the particles to reach the bottom of the cylinder was measured using the stop watch. The times of high and low tide charts can be obtained from the regional government authorities. This concept is demonstrated by the particle drop times taken at high and low tides. The result of the experiment shows that the particle settlement time is less in low tide and high in high tide. The experiment for dust particles in air can be collected on filters, which are cellulose ester membranes and using a vacuum pump. The dust on filters can be used to make slides according to the NOHSC method. Counting the dust particles on the slides can be done using a phase contrast microscope. The results show that the concentration of dust is high at high tide and low in low tide. As a result of the high tides, a high concentration of heavy minerals deposit on placer deposits and dust particles retain in the atmosphere for longer in low gravity regions. These conditions are remarkably exhibited in the lowest low gravity region of the earth, mainly in the regions of India, Sri Lanka and in the middle part of the Indian Ocean. The biggest heavy mineral placer deposits are found in coastal regions of India and Sri Lanka and heavy dust particles are found in the atmosphere of India, particularly in the Delhi region.

Fabrication of a High-Performance Polyetherimide Membrane for Helium Separation

Helium market is continuously growing due to its essential uses in the electronic and healthcare sectors. Currently, helium is produced by cryogenic distillation but the process is uneconomical especially for low production volumes. On the other hand, polymeric membranes can provide a cost-effective solution for helium purification due to their low operating energy. However, the preparation of membranes involves the use of very toxic solvents such as chloroform. In this work, polyetherimide membranes were prepared using a less toxic solvent, n-methylpyrrolidone with a polymer-to-solvent ratio of 27 wt%. The developed membrane showed a superior helium permeability of 15.9 Barrer that surpassed the permeability of membranes made by chloroform.

Comparison between Open and Closed System for Dewatering with Geotextile: Field and Comparative Study

The present paper aims to expose two techniques of dewatering for sludge, analyzing its operations and dewatering processes, aiming at improving the conditions of disposal of residues with high liquid content. It describes the field tests performed on two geotextile systems, a closed geotextile tube and an open geotextile drying bed, both of which are submitted to two filling cycles. The sludge used in the filling cycles for the field trials is from the water treatment plant of the Technological Center of Aeronautics – CTA, in São José dos Campos, Brazil. Data about volume and height abatement due to the dewatering and consolidation were collected per time, until it was observed constancy. With the laboratory analysis of the sludge allied to the data collected in the field, it was possible to perform a critical comparative study between the observed and the scientific literature, in this way, this paper expresses the data obtained and compares them with the bibliography. The tests were carried out on three fronts: field tests, including the filling cycles of the systems with the sludge from CTA, taking measurements of filling time per cycle and maximum filling height per cycle, heights against the abatement by dewatering of the systems over time; tests carried out in the laboratory, including the characterization of the sludge and removal of material samples from the systems to ascertain the solids content within the systems per time and; comparing the data obtained in the field and laboratory tests with the scientific literature. Through the study, it was possible to perceive that the process of densification of the material inside a closed system, such as the geotextile tube, occurs faster than the observed in the drying bed system. This process of accelerated densification can be brought about by the pumping pressure of the sludge in its filling and by the confinement of the residue through the permeable geotextile membrane (allowing water to pass through), accelerating the process of densification and dewatering by its own weight after the filling with sludge.

Study of a Developed Model Describing a Vacuum Membrane Distillation Unit Coupled to Solar Energy

Desalination using solar energy coupled with membrane techniques such as vacuum membrane distillation (VMD) is considered as an interesting alternative for the production of pure water. During this work, a developed model of a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) hollow fiber membrane module of a VMD unit of seawater was carried out. This simulation leads to establishing a comparison between the effects of two different equations of the vaporization latent heat on the membrane surface temperature and on the unit productivity. Besides, in order to study the effect of putting membrane modules in series on the outlet fluid temperature and on the productivity of the process, a simulation was executed.

A Review on Geomembrane Characteristics and Application in Geotechnical Engineering

This paper represents the basic idea and mechanisms associated with the durability of geomembranes and discusses the factors influencing the service life and temperature of geomembrane liners. Geomembrane durability is stated as field performance and laboratory test outcomes under various conditions. Due to the high demand of geomembranes as landfill barriers and their crucial role in sensitive projects, sufficient service life of geomembranes is very important, therefore in this paper, the durability, the effect of temperature on geomembrane and the role of this type of reinforcement in different types of soil will be discussed. Also, the role of geomembrane in the earthquake will be considered in the last part of the paper.

Identification of the Best Blend Composition of Natural Rubber-High Density Polyethylene Blends for Roofing Applications

Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) is a multifunctional polymeric material which possesses a combination of excellent properties of parent materials. Basically, TPE has a rubber phase and a thermoplastic phase which gives processability as thermoplastics. When the rubber phase is partially or fully crosslinked in the thermoplastic matrix, TPE is called as thermoplastic elastomer vulcanizate (TPV). If the rubber phase is non-crosslinked, it is called as thermoplastic elastomer olefin (TPO). Nowadays TPEs are introduced into the commercial market with different products. However, the application of TPE as a roofing material is limited. Out of the commercially available roofing products from different materials, only single ply roofing membranes and plastic roofing sheets are produced from rubbers and plastics. Natural rubber (NR) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) are used in various industrial applications individually with some drawbacks. Therefore, this study was focused to develop both TPO and TPV blends from NR and HDPE at different compositions and then to identify the best blend composition to use as a roofing material. A series of blends by varying NR loading from 10 wt% to 50 wt%, at 10 wt% intervals, were prepared using a twin screw extruder. Dicumyl peroxide was used as a crosslinker for TPV. The standard properties for a roofing material like tensile properties tear strength, hardness, impact strength, water absorption, swell/gel analysis and thermal characteristics of the blends were investigated. Change of tensile strength after exposing to UV radiation was also studied. Tensile strength, hardness, tear strength, melting temperature and gel content of TPVs show higher values compared to TPOs at every loading studied, while water absorption and swelling index show lower values, suggesting TPVs are more suitable than TPOs for roofing applications. Most of the optimum properties were shown at 10/90 (NR/HDPE) composition. However, high impact strength and gel content were shown at 20/80 (NR/HDPE) composition. Impact strength, as being an energy absorbing property, is the most important for a roofing material in order to resist impact loads. Therefore, 20/80 (NR/HDPE) is identified as the best blend composition. UV resistance and other properties required for a roofing material could be achieved by incorporating suitable additives to TPVs.

Waste Management in a Hot Laboratory of Japan Atomic Energy Agency – 2: Condensation and Solidification Experiments on Liquid Waste

As a part of STRAD project conducted by JAEA, condensation of radioactive liquid waste containing various chemical compounds using reverse osmosis (RO) membrane filter was examined for efficient and safety treatment of the liquid wastes accumulated inside hot laboratories. NH4+ ion in the feed solution was successfully concentrated, and NH4+ ion involved in the effluents became lower than target value; 100 ppm. Solidification of simulated aqueous and organic liquid wastes was also tested. Those liquids were successfully solidified by adding cement or coagulants. Nevertheless, optimization in materials for confinement of chemicals is required for long time storage of the final solidified wastes.

Investigation of the Effect of Phosphorous on the Flame Retardant Polyacrylonitrile Nanofiber

Commercially available poly(acrylonitrile-co-vinyl acetate) P(AN-VA) or poly(acrylonitrile-co-methyl acrylate) P(AN-MA) are not satisfactory to meet the demand in flame and fire-resistance. In this work, vinylphosphonic acid is used during polymerization of acrylonitrile, vinyl acetate, methacrylic acid to produce fire-retardant polymers. These phosphorus containing polymers are successfully spun in the form of nanofibers. Properties such as water absorption of polymers are also determined and compared with commercial polymers.

An Investigation of a Three-Dimensional Constitutive Model of Gas Diffusion Layers in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells

This research presents the three-dimensional mechanical characteristics of a commercial gas diffusion layer by experiment and simulation results. Although the mechanical performance of gas diffusion layers has attracted much attention, its reliability and accuracy are still a major challenge. With the help of simulation analysis methods, it is beneficial to the gas diffusion layer’s extensive commercial development and the overall stress analysis of proton electrolyte membrane fuel cells during its pre-production design period. Therefore, in this paper, a three-dimensional constitutive model of a commercial gas diffusion layer, including its material stiffness matrix parameters, is developed and coded, in the user-defined material model of a commercial finite element method software for simulation. Then, the model is validated by comparing experimental results as well as simulation outcomes. As a result, both the experimental data and simulation results show a good agreement with each other, with high accuracy.

Evaluation of the Performance of ACTIFLO® Clarifier in the Treatment of Mining Wastewaters: Case Study of Costerfield Mining Operations, Victoria, Australia

A pre-treatment stage prior to reverse osmosis (RO) is very important to ensure the long-term performance of the RO membranes in any wastewater treatment using RO. This study aims to evaluate the application of the Actiflo® clarifier as part of a pre-treatment unit in mining operations. It involves performing analytical testing on RO feed water before and after installation of Actiflo® unit. Water samples prior to RO plant stage were obtained on different dates from Costerfield mining operations in Victoria, Australia. Tests were conducted in an independent laboratory to determine the concentration of various compounds in RO feed water before and after installation of Actiflo® unit during the entire evaluated period from December 2015 to June 2018. Water quality analysis shows that the quality of RO feed water has remarkably improved since installation of Actiflo® clarifier. Suspended solids (SS) and turbidity removal efficiencies has been improved by 91 and 85 percent respectively in pre-treatment system since the installation of Actiflo®. The Actiflo® clarifier proved to be a valuable part of pre-treatment system prior to RO. It has the potential to conveniently condition the mining wastewater prior to RO unit, and reduce the risk of RO physical failure and irreversible fouling. Consequently, reliable and durable operation of RO unit with minimum requirement for RO membrane replacement is expected with Actiflo® in use.

Study on the Effect of Bolt Locking Method on the Deformation of Bipolar Plate in PEMFC

Assembly of the proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) has a very important influence on its performance and efficiency. The various components of PEMFC stack are usually locked and fixed by bolts. Locking bolt will cause the deformation of the bipolar plate and the other components, which will affect directly the deformation degree of the integral parts of the PEMFC as well as the performance of PEMFC. This paper focuses on the object of three-cell stack of PEMFC. Finite element simulation is used to investigate the deformation of bipolar plate caused by quantity and layout of bolts, bolt locking pressure, and bolt locking sequence, etc. Finally, we made a conclusion that the optimal combination packaging scheme was adopted to assemble the fuel cell stack. The scheme was in use of 3.8 MPa locking pressure imposed on the fuel cell stack, type Ⅱ of four locking bolts and longitudinal locking method. The scheme was obtained by comparatively analyzing the overall displacement contour of PEMFC stack, absolute displacement curve of bipolar plate along the given three paths in the Z direction and the polarization curve of fuel cell. The research results are helpful for the fuel cell stack assembly.

Modeling the Saltatory Conduction in Myelinated Axons by Order Reduction

The saltatory conduction is the way the action potential is transmitted along a myelinated axon. The potential diffuses along the myelinated compartments and it is regenerated in the Ranvier nodes due to the ion channels allowing the flow across the membrane. For an efficient simulation of populations of neurons, it is important to use reduced order models both for myelinated compartments and for Ranvier nodes and to have control over their accuracy and inner parameters. The paper presents a reduced order model of this neural system which allows an efficient simulation method for the saltatory conduction in myelinated axons. This model is obtained by concatenating reduced order linear models of 1D myelinated compartments and nonlinear 0D models of Ranvier nodes. The models for the myelinated compartments are selected from a series of spatially distributed models developed and hierarchized according to their modeling errors. The extracted model described by a nonlinear PDE of hyperbolic type is able to reproduce the saltatory conduction with acceptable accuracy and takes into account the finite propagation speed of potential. Finally, this model is again reduced in order to make it suitable for the inclusion in large-scale neural circuits.

Separation Characteristics of the Hollow Fiber Membrane Module Using Water Mixed with Small Sized Bubbles Composed of Synthesized Exhalations

Fish can breathe freely under water using dissolved oxygen and survive for a long time without going out of the water. A human can also survive under water using dissolved oxygens, if properly used. He needs more dissolved oxygens than the fish, so efficient separation device is required. Since the amount of oxygen contained in water is weak, a person needs a lot of surface area to breathe in water, which leads to a large-sized device. It can be applied to various fields if it is developed as a device which is advantageous to carry in small size. In this paper, we have carried out a study on the effective use of exhalations and proposed the separation characteristics of the gas containing dissolved oxygen in the state of mixed gas considering the components of exhalation. The system was configured to have a fine bubble when the gas mixture injected into the front end of the separator. While the fluid containing the fine bubbles was supplied to the separator, the dissolved gas contained in water was separated using a vacuum pump. The gas separation amount of the separating apparatus with respect to the supplied mixed gas was measured. The amounts of separation of dissolved gas were increased as the amounts of mixed gas supplied were increased.