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Investigating the viability of photoactive and antimicrobial nanomaterials for water purification

Grant number: 22/11350-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2023
Effective date (End): January 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Analytical Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Susanne Rath
Grantee:Vinicíus Diniz
Supervisor: Colin R. Crick
Host Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: Queen Mary University of London, England  
Associated to the scholarship:21/08123-0 - Evaluation of activated carbon in the post-treatment of effluent from the reuse water production station, BP.DR


The Guidance for Producing Safe Drinking Water of the World Health Organization emphasizes that potable reuse water production plants require 4Rs performance (reliability, redundancy, robustness, and resilience). Since its first publication, there have been growing efforts to develop safe, robust, and cost-effective materials for water purification systems in recent years. The chosen materials must show advanced functionalities, such as photoactivation, inactivation of microorganisms, adsorption and/or anti-fouling properties. The present proposal aims to produce sustainable materials by coating silica (SiO2) nanoparticles and carbon black with sulfur copolymers. Elemental sulfur (S8), a residue of the petroleum industry, adds photocatalytic activity, antibacterial activity, and anti-fouling properties to substrate materials. In addition, as S8 is intrinsically hydrophobic, it can enhance the adsorption of hydrophobic contaminants by the material. In this project, the photocatalytic and adsorption properties will be tested using the emerging contaminants (caffeine, saccharin, and sucralose) previously prioritized on the PhD project (#2021/08123-0) linked to this proposal. The emerging contaminants will be quantified using the analytical methods developed in Brazil. The antimicrobial properties will be tested using bacteria strains. Microscopies images, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, and wettability characterization, amongst other techniques, will provide fundamental comprehension of the properties of the developed material. The results will reveal advanced sulfur copolymer coating functionalities and insights into the production of new sustainable materials with multiple properties that can be used in water treatment. (AU)

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