Apr. 2022: Congratulations to
Lucia's Ph.D. student, Bo Deng, for her successful dissertation defense on 04-14-2022.
Explore the Nano World
Apr. 2022: Congratulations to my
Ph.D. student, Xiaonan Shi for hersuccessful dissertation defense
Wen's Research Group
Phone: (973) 596-5520
Fax: (973) 596-5790
Office Location: Colton Hall 211
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Apr. 2022: Nanobubble Watering Affects Nutrient Release and Soil Characteristics.
Congratulations! Samuel Solomon and John Spero received the 2021 Undergraduate Research Innovation Phase II Grant
Congratulations! Samuel Solomon and John Spero received the 2021 Undergraduate Research Innovation Phase II Grant ($3000) for the project on October 31, 2021. Sam and John leverage their prior 2021 summer research activities and further perform research on “Polymer Engineering and Mechanisms in Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) for Water Hardness Removal”. This project is supervised by Dr. Wen Zhang and his Ph.D. student, Qingquan Ma.
To develop economically viable and sustainable water softening processes, especially at the commercial and industrial levels, alternative methods are extensively studied to address hard water issues. Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) is one of the few commercialized processes that integrates ion adsorption and reactive chemical conversion (crystallization) to remove dissolved hardness species. However, the fundamental science or mechanisms of the integration still remain elusive. As there are currently no American National Standards Institute of NSF standards for testing the effectiveness of nucleation(template)-assisted crystallization, further testing and analysis is required to verify the manufacturer’s claims about the effectiveness in water softening method. This project aims to explore or validate if TAC does not physically remove minerals but simply transform them into non-reactive or non-sticky crystals that will not significantly form scale. What are the forms (e.g., sizes) or chemical states (crystallinity) of these claimed nanocrystals that form after the hardness ions contact and adsorb on the template surface of TAC media particles? How long these crystals may stay stable in the treated water before they re-dissolved as hardness ions? Those questions are crucial to ensure the stability of the softened water such as the treated water will not turn back to into hard and salty water. More critically, the media (e.g., ceramic/polymer composite) may suffer uncertain stability and fouling issues due to the ionic or other aqueous species deposition, which are not addressed in literature or industries, which often recommend replacement every 2-3 years depending on the feed water quality and throughput. However, such recommendations are not helpful for consumers who may have limited judgement and knowledge to make rational decisions and operations.