Research Facilities and Equipment

Our laboratory is specially equipped to conduct a range of experiments and analyses related to water treatment and nanoparticle behavior in the environment. Work in our lab specifically focuses on characterizing membrane performance in desalination and water reuse applications, in addition to studying nanoparticle aggregation, mobility, and synthesis. Some of our equipment is shown below. Any University of Wyoming faculty or students that are interested in using any of our equipment or facilities should contact Dr. Brant at jbrant1@uwyo.edu to reserve a time for a brief training overview.

Facilities





  UV-vis Spectrophotometer

The UV-1800 UV-vis spectrophotometer (Shimadzu Scientific Instruments) has a resolution of 1 nm and wavelength range of 190 to 1100 nm. The instrument may be operated in a variety of modes including spectrum mode and kinetics mode. Our research utilizes the UV-vis instrument in a variety of applications including: membrane performance studies, nanoparticle fate and transport in porous media, and characterization of aqueous suspensions.






  Contact Angle Goniometer

The EasyDrop Goniometer (KRÜSS Scientific) is used for measuring contact angles, quantifying the surface free energy components (hydrophobicity, hydrophilicity) of surfaces, and measuring the surface tension of liquids. This instrument is equipped with a software controlled liquid dispensing system and is capable of measuring contact angles in either sessile drop of captive bubble modes. The evaluation of the drop image takes place in the video window of the software: the baseline is determined automatically; for measuring the contact angle both programs have several automatic methods available. The surface tension of liquids can also be measured using the pendent drop technique. The goniometer serves as a key characterization tool for conducting membrane fouling and membrane development projects. Our lab primarily uses the goniometer for characterizing membrane and other surfaces of interest in water/wastewater treatment applications.




  Stirred Cell Membrane Test Apparatus

The Sterlitech™ HP4750 is a high-pressure, low hold-up volume (1 ml), chemically resistant stir cell that may be used to evaluate membrane performance and membrane fouling. The stirred cell is constructed of 316 stainless steel and is capable of operating at pressures up to 1000 psig. The stirred cell system includes a pressure transducer, mass balance, feed water reservoir and compressed gas cylinder. All data is acquired and recorded using a LabView data acquisition system.




  Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) System

The Malvern ZetaSizer Nano ZS (Malvern Instruments) is used for measuring the size, size distribution, zeta potential (surface charge) and aggregation characteristics of particle suspensions. The ZetaSizer is equipped with a titration accessory, which allows for automatic manipulation of solution chemistry and composition (e.g., pH, ionic strength, etc.) to asses how these conditions affect particle properties (size, zeta potential). The system is also equipped with viscometer for directly measuring the dynamic viscosity of particle dispersions.




  Pilot-Scale Hollow Fiber Microfiltration (MF) / Ultrafiltration (UF) Unit

The pilot-scale MF/UF test unit is a closed loop system that replicates the operation of full-scale microporous membrane systems. For example, the system is capable of automatic backwash and air scour of the membrane fibers. The system is currently constructed using two membrane modules, but may be easily expanded to include more. The return lines on membrane modules are independent of one another to allow for characterizing the effectiveness of different filtrate polishing processes and backwashing schemes. Two laser turbidimeters (Filtertrak 660, Hach Company) are located on the filtrate lines for conducting challenge tests on the two membrane modules. The system may be operated in constant flux or constant pressure mode using the LabView 2010 designed control software. Using this system we can evaluate membrane fouling, chemical cleaning protocols, and membrane rejection as a function of feed water chemistry and composition.
 




  Jar Tester

We have two digital jar testers (Phipps and Byrd, Richmond, VA) that are used for analyzing the performance of coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation processes. For example, these devices may be used for optimizing coagulant concentration and mixing conditions. One jar tester is also equipped with packed columns for evaluating particulate removal in downstream media filtration processes. The packed columns are plumbed to allow for backwashing of the filter media (sand, anthracite coal).
 




  Single Fiber Microfiltration (MF) / Ultrafiltration (UF) Unit

The single fiber MF/UF test unit is a closed loop system that replicates the operation of full-scale microporous membrane systems. For example, the system is capable of automatic backwash and air scour of the membrane fibers. The system includes five membrane bundles (5 single fibers or bundles of fibers) that may be operated in constant flux or constant pressure mode using the LabView 2010 designed control software. Using this system we can evaluate membrane fouling, chemical cleaning protocols, and membrane rejection as a function of feed water chemistry and composition.
 
 
Jonathan A. Brant, Ph.D. | University of Wyoming | Phone: (307) 766-5446 | Fax: (307) 766-2221
Email: jbrant1@uwyo.edu | School Web: http://www.uwyo.edu/ceas/faculty/jbrant1/