Solving water-related problems
The Water Chemistry Program is an interdepartmental graduate program
offering an MS and PhD in water chemistry. Participating departments
civil and environmental engineering (primary department),
chemical and biological engineering,
soil science and
geology and geophysics.
Program activities are centered in the Water Science and Engineering Laboratory on Lake Mendota, where graduate students,
faculty, postdoctoral fellows and staff researchers examine the
applications of chemistry to problems in environmental and engineering
systems. Many of the students work on interdisciplinary research
problems with groups from other programs and departments.
Areas of emphasis
One emphasis involves the chemistry of lakes, streams, groundwater
and air. Problems studied include the sources and fate of metals and
organic chemical contaminants in lakes, rivers and groundwater; causes
of mercury accumulation in fish, control of nuisance algae and
macrophyte growth in lakes, the transfer of contaminants across the
air-water interface, and the sources and properties of fine
particulate matter in air.
Another area deals with new technologies for engineering processes and
pollution control. Projects include development of ceramic membranes
for use in chemical synthesis and water quality control; use of
photocatalysis, chemical oxidation and super-critical fluids in
treatment of chemical wastes; and applications of treatment
technologies to remediation of contaminated sediments. Still another
focus is on environmentally friendly energy storage systems which
employ novel thin-film barriers, ultra-capacitors and newly developed
proton exchange membrane fuel cells.
Graduates are prepared for a variety of careers, including teaching
and research at major universities, research in public and private
institutions, industrial research and development, as well as
pollution control and resource management.