EES Seminar: Graphene-based Materials as a Platform for the Development of Anti-Biofouling Surfaces


11:45 am-12:35 pm
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202 Particle Science & Technology
Gainesville, FL 32611


Graphene-based Materials as a Platform for the Development of Anti-Biofouling Surfaces
Andreia Fonseca de Faria
Postdoctoral fellow, Yale University

Abstract. Promoting proper access to safe and clean water is one of the biggest challenges of this century. Expanding world population, increasing food demand, drought, and climate change are some of the aggravators of freshwater scarcity. Another problem contributing to reducing the quantity and quality of drinking water is the contamination of freshwater resources with micropollutants. Several technologies have been used to ensure appropriate production of potable water. However, the performance of these technologies is often affected by the inherent limitations of conventional and bulk materials. Development of novel materials, therefore, is of critical importance to advance water treatment technologies and to meet the requirements for clean water production.
Graphene-based materials have drawn attention as a new class of materials for water purification due to their large surface area, tailorable surface chemistry, and high reactivity. The formation of biofilm is a significant problem that affects the performance of water purification systems. Bacteria cells tend to attach to and grow on the surface of polymeric membranes, thus leading to increased operational costs and decreased water production. In this talk, I will show how graphene-based composites can be used to advance water treatment. By taking advantage of their chemical functional groups, graphene oxide sheets can be chemically bound to the surface of electrospun fibers and thin-film composite membranes to impart biofouling resistance. Although biofouling is an inevitable truth, the use of nanomaterials as antimicrobial coatings can help to develop alternative therapies and contribute to overcoming the inefficiencies caused by biofouling formation.
Biography. Dr. Faria is a former postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University under the supervision of Prof. Menachem Elimelech. Her research interests include the development of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) to improve water treatment and water quality monitoring. Over her research career, she has published 26 peer-reviewed articles in highly ranked journals, two patents, two book chapters, and has participated in numerous conferences. She is passionate by education and believes that a multidisciplinary effort that bridges the areas of chemistry, biology, and engineering can help us bring innovative solutions to environmental problems.


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