LLE: Sustainable Nanomaterials in Environmental Management Systems (Michael Tam, Waterloo)

February 9, 2022 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
200 College Street
Delicia Ansalem

Michael Tam, University of Waterloo

Host: Prof. Ning Yan


Sustainable nanomaterials, such as cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) are rod-like nanoparticles obtained by sulfuric acid hydrolysis of cellulose fibres. Several properties of CNCs, such as its availability, low cost, high mechanical strength, large number of surface functional groups, high surface area per volume and aspect-ratio have led to an increasing interest in using them for adsorption and controlled release applications. Pristine CNCs were incorporated into hydrogel beads in order to eliminate the need for centrifugation. CNCs used in these hydrogel beads were also functionalized and the adsorption and controlled release characteristics were examined. CNCs incorporated alginate hydrogel bead systems possessed attractive adsorption properties both in batch and fixed bed column adsorption systems. These hydrogel beads could be regenerated and reused if necessary. Additionally, cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) were combined with CNCs and pulp fibers to produce filtration membrane suitable for the removal or organic and metallic contaminants. These sustainable nanomaterials possess attractive characteristics for the removal of various types of contaminants in wastewater systems. In addition, these nanomaterials can be modified and functionalized for selective adsorption of heavy metals and also to decontaminate water by incorporating anti-bacterial properties to these nanomaterials.

Professor Michael Tam obtained his B.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical engineering from Monash University, Australia in 1982 and 1991 respectively. He spent 18 months on a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University Canada, and subsequently taught at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore for 15 years. In June 2007 he joined the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo as a tenured full professor, and holds the position of University Research Chair in the field of functional colloids and sustainable nanomaterials. He is an active member of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. His research interests are in colloids, self-assembly systems, polymer-surfactant interactions, and drug delivery systems. He has published more than 350 journal articles in various fields of polymer science and engineering. His total citation exceeds 20,600 and his H-index is 72. He is also an associate editor of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.


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