Engineering HDR Seminar Series 5, 2013: Fabrication of Alginate-Halloysite nanotube Composite Adsorbent for Wastewater Treatment

Ms Christine Chiew Shu Ching, postgraduate student from Chem Eng

Date: 2013-02-04
Time: 14:00 to 15:00
Venue: Engineering Meeting Room 1, 5-4-22


Industrial wastewater contains heavy metal ions that can bring adverse effects to human health and also the environment which needs to be treated. Adsorption is suitable to be used for removal of heavy metal ions due to cost effectiveness and efficiency of this system. Therefore, focus is placed on the use of alginate, a low cost biopolymer derived from brown algae in this study. This is due to the high adsorption capacity of alginate towards heavy metal ions. However, alginate hydrogel lacks mechanical strength to withstand stresses during the adsorption process. Therefore, the main objective of this project is to improve the mechanical strength of alginate hydrogel beads with the incorporation of halloysite nanotube (HNT). Two different composite structures will be studied: (i) randomly-distributed HNT in alginate beads (ii) surface-aligned HNT on alginate beads. The mechanical properties of the composite hydrogel beads such as the elastic limit, time-dependent behavior and Young’s modulus will be studied using uniaxial compression test. The Young’s modulus of the composite beads will be estimated using Hertz’s contact theory and the applicability of the theory on composite hydrogel structure will be ascertained. Next, the adsorption of model heavy metal using the composite beads will be investigated. Preliminary results show that the Young’s modulus of randomly-distributed HNT/alginate composite beads increased by 35 % with the incorporation of 10 %w/v HNT. The applicability of Hertz’s theory on the composite beads within the elastic limit was also validated.

About the Speaker

Ms Christine Chiew Shu Ching graduated from University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Honours) in year 2011. She joined Monash University for postgraduate studies in year 2011 under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Chan Eng Seng and co-supervision of Dr. Poh Phaik Eong. Her research in Monash University is focused on fabrication of alginate-halloysite nanotube composite adsorbent for wastewater treatment.