Selective Capture and Membrane Filtration of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) through Graphene Oxide Synthesis for Water Purification Applications

Eli Lew, Brandee Smith, & Dr. Brittnee Veldman


PFAS or poly-fluoroalkyl substances are highly persistent once released into the environment and do not easily break down due to their complex fluorinated chemical structure. These small molecules can quickly diffuse into plants or animals’ bloodstreams, contributing to many serious health issues. Their primary source of origin comes from consumer, industrial, and commercial products in meager quantities from brand packaging. Although research is currently conducted on quantifying PFAS in water matrices, work to fully understand how to effectively remove PFAS from drinking water is still needed. Selective water purification membranes are an innovative technology that captures specific analytes to produce clean drinking water. Graphene oxide (GO) has been shown to have potential promise in water quality and membrane applications. In this proof of concept, the Tour Method was used to convert graphite into graphene oxide without using sodium nitrate due to the generation of toxic nitric oxide as a byproduct. The GO was primarily characterized by FTIR (Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) to determine if the extent of oxidation is based on the broadening of the hydroxyl peak around 3400 cm-1. Synthesized GO was incorporated into various membrane systems compatible with a reusable syringe filter for testing. PFAS concentrations were quantified by Solid Phase Extraction and LCMS (Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) from the water matrices before and after syringe filter treatment. The differential PFAS concentrations of standardized water samples are reported for the various membrane types.


Session 2

3:00pm – 4:30pm

Grand Salon


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