Waste Water Treatment

Advanced particle and colloid research at Yale made possible by Brookhaven ZetaPALS Analyser

The Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, USA, carries out advanced research into water purification including studies of natural and engineered aquatic systems. After moving to Yale from UCLA two years ago, the department’s Llewellyn West Jones Professor of Environmental Engineering, Menachem Elimelech, needed a more up-to-date machine to continue his research. Both versatility and price led him to the ZetaPALS analyser from Brookhaven.

The ZetaPALS instrument operates on the technique of phase analysis light scattering to determine zeta potential of small colloidal particles. Developed by and unique to Brookhaven, this technique is 1000 times more sensitive than conventional methods which depend on measuring shifts in light frequency. The instrument also includes a system that measures particle size by dynamic light scattering, giving information on particle size and distribution within minutes.

Professor Elimelech uses the ZetaPALS instrument to research the behaviour of small colloidal particles in aquatic systems, particularly how they react with membranes used for water and wastewater purification. “We study the transport of colloidal particles in porous media and colloidal fouling of membranes,” he explained. This field uses membranes containing pores of strictly defined sizes and concerns the way that colloidal particles move and interact with each other, so it is vital that both the zeta potential and the size of the particles are known. “The strength of the ZetaPALS instrument is that it can measure both accurately, and this was the key factor in my choice of instrument. It is versatile and easy to use,” he said.

Professor Elimelech was already using the EKA streaming potential analyzer from Brookhaven. A demonstration of the ZetaPALS at Yale convinced him of the instrument’s worth and he is now an enthusiastic user. ‘We couldn’t do research without it,’ he concluded.

Applications: Water Treatment
Instruments: NanoBrook Series