Adsorption on Carbons

Adsorption of N-Nitrosodimethylamine on Carbons

N-Nitrosodimethylamine of NDMA is a polar organic compound that is very soluble in water and a probable human carcinogen. NDMA is one of the contaminants found in the groundwater beneath the White Sands Test Facility that was inadvertently created during the treatment of rocket fuel-contaminated water. The current treatment method to remove NDMA from the groundwater is UV photolysis. In this project, we are testing the feasibility of removing NDMA by adsorption onto activated carbons derived from locally-acquired pecan shells as a way to reduce long-term treatment costs. To meet treatment requirements, NDMA has to be removed to less than 4.2 parts per trillion (ng/L). This requires analytical capabilities that can measure NDMA at ultra-low concentrations. For this reason, we are using carbon 14-labeled NDMA to develop a liquid scintillation counting method that will allows us to quickly and easily measure such concentrations in order to optimize pecan shell activated carbon properties.


Collaborators: Dave Schoep, Paul Andersen

Students: Dave Amidei, Jose Rodriguez, Sicilee Macklin, Karen Sanchez, Gustavo Hernandez, Daniel Ellis, Emily Fenske, CJ Bianconi

NDMA Group Fall 2018

Jose and Dave presenting at the CERN Switzerland

NDMA Filtration process after equilibrium is reached










Fate of Uranium during Adsorption from Groundwater and Combustion of Forestry Waste-Derived Sorbents

Multiple water sources in Northwestern New Mexico and the Navajo Nation are contaminated because of abandoned uranium mines. This project aims to remediate uranium and heavy metal contaminated water using readily available woody biomassThe tasks within the project are to 1) develop adsorption pellets from activated carbons and chars, 2) combust used pellets and track which metals volatilize, 3) determine if uranium can feasibly be recovered from the ash, 4) design containers which will hold used adsorption pellets and allow for safe combustion of pellets by consumers in urban environments.  

Collaborators: Delia Valles, Raul Rivera, Thiagarajan Soundappan (Chemistry, Navajo Technical University)

Students: Kwonit Malick, Daniel Ellis, Esai Lopez