Research and Projects

Introduction

We have various members of the team who are leading and working on the different aspects of the project however these all contribute towards the main aim of having a 3 in 1 water filter that can remove heavy metals, degrade organic contaminants and be antimicrobial – these themes all overlap and are being carried out simultaneously, both at KU and with partners around the world.

Novel materials from waste sulphur – led by Dr. Joseph Bear

70m tonnes of waste sulphur is produced annually from the hydrodesulphurisation process required within the petroleum industry to reduce sulphurous emissions. There are not currently enough uses for this waste resource and therefore it is important to find additional uses for sulphur – novel functional materials made from sulphur can meet environmental needs…

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Inverse vulcanisation is a process of creating stable polysulphide chains, linked with small organic dienes. High percentage weights of sulphur can be incorporated into stable, mouldable and processable materials with myriad uses.

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We have materials that are low cost and easy to produce, they have interesting properties and can be tailored to their intended application. We are developing some intelligent ways to engineer these materials so that they can be useful in practice.

Photographs of inverse vulcanised sulphur polymers prepared at KU in different forms

This GCRF-funded project has focussed on producing sulphur-based polymers for water treatment applications – both the removal of heavy metals and incorporation in to composites capable of degrading organic contaminants and also being antimicrobial.

Microporous titanosilicates for degradation of organic contaminants – led by Dr. Ayomi Perera

Photocatalysis is a beneficial process where contaminants can be degraded without the need to use expensive chemicals.

The degradation of contaminants is powered by sunlight – where the light promotes the release of electron/hole generating radical species.

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We have developed microporous titanosilicates through an oil-water emulsion technique – this is a simple and low-cost method to operate. We have demonstrated photocatalytic activity – for example through the degradation of rhodamine-B (organic dye).

SEM micrograph of prepared titanosilicate and nitrogen adsorption/desorption isotherm

We would like to demonstrate their ability to be antimicrobial and have an ability to destroy viruses from drinking water (to be faster than sol-dis).