The Department of Chemistry in the College of Science at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) is supporting the student research project of Sweihan School, which focuses on studying ways to dispose of the cadmium ion from industrial waste within the "Esteqtab" initiative, designed to attract high school students to study science.
Dr. Ahmed Murad, Dean of the College of Science said: “The College of Science, through its partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council schools, is keen to support all student research projects, which seek to find sustainable solutions to the various problems in life, since the student is the primary focus of the educational process." Adding that the "Esteqtab" initiative in its third year has managed to achieve its objectives through highlighting science through research projects and extracurricular activities.
Cadmium is considered to be among the most dangerous heavy metals affecting human, animals and plants health, and appears in wastewater from different industrial activities, such as metal plating, cadmium and nickel batteries, phosphate fertilizers, and others. In some cases, the resulting water after treatment contained levels of cadmium that are higher than allowed, therefore it cannot be used for irrigation or even discharged to the ground water tank. In addition, the cost of removing cadmium at this level and in large amounts of water with conventional treatment processes is enormous. As a result, the College in cooperation with Sweihan School are seeking a low cost way to remove this mineral from the water.
Adsorption is one effective technique for removing heavy metals from contaminated water, so searching for low-cost adsorbents, such as local indigenous rocks and biomass, in this study, some local indigenous rocks, like the Dolomites, Barite and Calcite, will be tested from different places in the UAE to remove cadmium from wastewater. They will also conduct tests using activated carbon produced from biomass (palm leaves and seeds of palm dates) to remove cadmium from waste water, in addition to studying the impact of wastewater pH, amount of adsorbent, concentration of cadmium ions, the speed of adsorption and absorption processes temperature in static and moving situations.
This project comes under the "Esteqtab" initiative, launched by the College of Science, in collaboration with a number of strategic partners, spanning five years, which aims to attract high school students to study science. This is in line with the vision of the UAEU, which is based on building partnerships with prestigious academic institutions to exchange experience, expertise and achieve scientific integration.