Project Overview

NIRT: Targeted Delivery and Microbial Interactions of Polymer-Functionalized Nanoparticles for Groundwater Contaminant Source-Zone Remediation

# 0608646
Robert Tilton (Principal Investigator)
Edwin Minkley (Co-Principal Investigator)
Krzysztof Matyjaszewski (Co-Principal Investigator)
Gregory Lowry (Co-Principal Investigator)

This project focuses on developing polymer-coated iron nanoparticles and targeting delivery to the interface of water/non-aqueous phase liquids to provide more efficient remediation of ground-water contaminated by chlorinated organic compounds, in particular trichloroethylene and related compounds. The project will (i) design "block copolymers" that will maximize accumulation of nano-iron particles in the source zone of such contaminated aquifers, (ii) refine polymer design to achieve maximum dechlorination kinetics, and (iii) incorporate microbial interactions. The approach involves innovative combinations of colloidal phenomena, polymer synthesis and transport in porous media, some of which are derived from the area of targeted drug delivery. The broader impacts component of the project is strong. The research has broad societal implications; contamination by TCE of ground-water aquifers that potentially serve as drinking water supplies is an important public health issue. The project has a plan to integrate the research with interdisciplinary educational activities, including a multi-disciplinary course and K-12 outreach activities.

Source: NSF