Mikaela Surace is a second-year graduate student working to earn her PhD in environmental engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. Her graduate research interest centers on the application of nonthermal plasma technologies for the treatment of matrices contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Mikaela holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Scranton in Scranton, PA, where she completed her undergraduate thesis investigating the use of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to analyze the chemical composition of tree rings in attempt to track environmental change over time.
Preliminary investigation of the use of a thin-film rotating plasma reactor for the degradation of PFAS in water
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a diverse class of manmade chemicals that are resistant to degradation by typical environmental pathways. Mounting evidence shows that these emerging contaminants pose a significant threat to environmental and ecological health, making the determination of a viable method for PFAS degradation in contaminated matrices a major concern. Technologies that employ non-thermal plasma discharges for PFAS degradation have shown great promise. In treating PFAS-contaminated liquids, one challenge that these technologies face is that of increasing the surface area at which plasma comes into contact with the liquid. Our lab has collected promising preliminary data for the use of dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) air plasma delivered via a thin-film rotating reactor to effectively degrade PFAS in water. I will discuss this data in my presentation, which will be beneficial for those looking to learn more about PFAS degradation in liquids using non-thermal plasma technologies.