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Four Lafayette chemical engineering majors are among the students giving presentations on their research this weekend during the annual American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Mid-Atlantic Student Regional Conference, which is being hosted by Lafayette.

Paul Dimick ’05 (Quakertown, Pa.) will present “Regeneration of a Perchlorate Loaded Polymeric Ligand Exchanger, DOW 3N-Cu,” a research paper he also will share at the Spring 2005 AIChE National Meeting held April 10-14 in Atlanta, Ga. The work is based on an honors thesis he is conducting under the guidance of Javad Tavakoli, associate professor and head of chemical engineering, and Art Kney, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. He also presented his research in November at the annual AIChE Student Conference in Austin, Texas.

Dimick spent half of last summer working with master’s students at Auburn University in Alabama and the other half focused on complex, graduate-level experimentation. He is working on an economical, efficient, and environmentally sound method to remove a contaminant called perchlorate from water. He also is coauthor of “Arsenic and Nitrate Treatment For Small Water Delivery and Domestic Systems,” a paper that will be presented at the 19th annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) April 20-23.

He is a recipient of the Charles Duncan Fraser Prize, awarded annually to the seniors best qualified for advanced work in materials science and engineering, and the Dr. E.L. McMillen-K.K. Malhotra ’49 Prize, awarded to students possessing a high grade point average as juniors and who have demonstrated a high level of proficiency in the Unit Operations Laboratory.

The research summary for the paper he is presenting at this weekend’s conference: “Regeneration of perchlorate loaded DOW 3N-Cu, a tailored polymeric ligand exchanger (PLE), has been investigated and compared to the commercially available ion exchange resins Purolite A530, Purolite A520, and Sigma Aldrich Poly4-vinylpyridine(P4VP). It was found that addition of 5% Tween 80 and/or ethanol enhanced regeneration of DOW 3N-Cu with 4% (w/w) NaCl, 2% (w/w) NaOH solutions.”

Marquis Scholar Gabriella Engelhart ’05 (York, Pa.), recipient of the national Goldwater and Udall Scholarships, is giving a presentation on “Synthesis and Characterization of Biofunctional Nanomaterials.” This summer, Engelhart spent two weeks in Germany conducting research with James K. Ferri, assistant professor of chemical engineering, at the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interface Science in Golm-Potsdam, Germany, near Berlin, as part of her yearlong honors thesis. Engelhart presented her research at the AIChE’s annual national meeting in Austin, Texas, earning second place in the poster competition.

She spent a summer researching ways of removing color from the wastewater discharge of pulp from paper mills as an EXCEL research assistant to Tavakoli, associate professor and head of chemical engineering. She presented her results at a prior national meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in San Francisco. As a sophomore, she studied under top environmental scientists in the Semester in Environmental Science program at Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass.

This spring, Engelhart received the Charles Duncan Fraser Prize and the Dr. E.L. McMillen-K.K. Malhotra ’49 Prize. Her research summary for this weekend’s presentation: “The synthesis and characteriztion of nanoparticles for use in hydrophilic drug delivery is reported. In this work, nanoparticles of a poly-(lactic acid) matrix containing a model therapeutic agent were created using a w/o/w double emulsion. A co-formulation of electrolytes was used to engineer a charged surface, and the particles were evaluated based upon zeta potential, diameter and polydispersity index. The nanoparticles were built into composite assemblies and characterized using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Future work includes characterizing drug release rates to provide a better understanding for the controlled rate of release to targeted areas.”

Jessica Whitman ’05 (Fruitland, Md.) is giving a presentation on “Self-Assembly in Isotropic Solvents.” She received the Dr. E.L. McMillen-K.K. Malhotra ’49 Prize this spring. She also is the sole recipient of this year’s Donald U. Noblett Prize in Chemical Engineering, which recognizes high academic achievement and outstanding promise of future career excellence.

Her presentation summary: “Self-assembly is ubiquitous to engineering on the nano-scale; there are applications in drug delivery, catalytic systems and solid and liquid extraction, yet it is still largely not understood. A study of the self-assembly of anisotropic monomers in an isotropic solvent using lattice density functional theory is presented in order to better understand the process of self-assembly. A two-dimensional lattice in which molecules can interact with their four nearest neighbors is considered and the probability of self-assembly around the central molecule is calculated by minimizing the free energy of the lattice. Phase changes observed while varying lattice conditions will be discussed.”

Trustee Scholar Gregory Bouton ’05 (Phillipsburg, N.J.) is giving a presentation on “Cyclic Polarization as Used to Determine Factors Affecting the Pitting Corrosion of Stainless Steel.” His research adviser is Ricardo Bogaert-Alvarez,assistant professor of chemical engineering. This spring, Bouton received the Dr. E.L. McMillen-K.K. Malhotra ’49 Prize and Charles Duncan Fraser Prize and was sole recipient of the Luther F. WitmerPrize, awarded annually to the senior with the most outstanding accomplishments in materials science and engineering.

In addition, biochemistry major Steve Presciutti ’05(Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) gave a presentation April 2 on his coauthored research paper, “Bioremediation of Perchlorate Contaminated Groundwater,” at the 31 Northeast Bioengineering Conference hosted by Stevens Institute of Technology, and will share it again at the 19th annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) April 20-23. His coauthors were Dimick, Tavakoli, Kney, and Steve Mylon, assistant professor of chemical engineering. He presented related research last year at the 18th annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

He worked last summer as an EXCEL Scholar with Yonne Gindt, assistant professor of chemistry, on research funded by a three-year, $100,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study protein folding and aggregation, processes linked to a wide range of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes mellitus, and emphysema.

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