My Ph.D. is financially supported by the Auvergne-Rhône Alpes region through the “Pack Ambition Recherche 2020” grant. The project is about water remediation using polydopamine-coated polyurethane foams as catalytic supports. We are focusing on the degradation of pesticides and pharmaceutical residues, as well as the elimination of pathogenic microorganisms that could be found in wastewaters. Our goal is to produce a simple device that will be placed in a photo-reactor to treat polluted waters.
Polydopamine is a polymer of dopamine formed under slightly alkaline conditions in water thanks to the oxidation of functional groups caused by the presence of oxygen. This polymer was inspired by mussels’ ability to form proteins with similar reactive functions, allowing them to bind to a wide variety of surfaces. Once the foams are coated with polydopamine, it is relatively easy to bind any sort of catalysts to its surface, such as metals or metal oxides nanoparticles.
My work is divided in 3 major steps:
- Test of different functionalised foams on chemical pollutants and bacterial strains to select the most reactive ones.
- Test of the candidates with the photo-reactor and optimisation of the parameters.
- Test of the devise on a larger panel of pollutants with waters from various origins.
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