The organoclay project is new in my lab. Not much data, and no funding to speak of, yet, but we’re working on it!
The basic idea is to better understand the chemistry governing the uptake of hydrophobic organic environmental contaminants (things like components of crude oil, pesticides, etc.) from water by an engineered clay. The hope is to use the engineered clay as a purification filter, just like the activated carbon filters in your home Brita pitcher or in your fish tank. As is the case for activated carbon, this could be scaled up or down, as needed. This basic idea isn’t new, but there’s still a lot of chemistry about what works, what doesn’t, and why that we don’t understand.
If we understand the chemistry, we can
- predict! for example, how well is will work for specific compounds, compound classes, or mixtures of compounds
- customize! the organoclay to a specific application, contaminant or contaminant class
You can read a bit more in the Campus’s Science Spotlight: Costanza-Robinson Lab.