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61.
62.
Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting Studies with nanostructured n and p-type semiconductor electrodes
Saim Emin, Matjaž Valant, 2017, published scientific conference contribution abstract (invited lecture)

Abstract: Photoelectrochemical water splitting has been demonstrated as a promising way to efficiently split water. Currently, solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency using state-of-the-art material combinations in PEC system is in the order of 7%. Fabrication of nanostructured materials with unique morphologies and compositions is an important factor to fully utilize the possibilities in this field. We will present different strategies for the preparation of nanostructured metal oxide thin films by using electrodeposition and wet-chemistry techniques. Focus will be given on the preparation of ZnO and CuO thin films where intermediate phases like Zn(OH)8Cl2.H2O and CuX (X=Br, Cl) were electrodeposited. Wet-chemistry synthesis techniques will be also explored for the preparation of nanostructured WO3 and a-Fe2O3 thin films. Especially, the hot-pyrolysis technique for the preparation of colloidal W and Fe/Fe-oxide nanoparticles will be shown. Spin-coating of W and Fe/Fe-oxide NPs onto optically conductive substrates and subsequent heat treatment of the obtained films was found to be a convenient way for the preparation of nanostructured WO3 and a-Fe2O3 thin films.
Keywords: photoelectrochemical water splitting, colloidal nanoparticles, semiconductor
Published in RUNG: 24.10.2017; Views: 4738; Downloads: 0
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63.
Tungsten carbide thin films for electrochemical water splitting studies
Saim Emin, Cesur Altinkaya, Ali Semerci, Matjaž Valant, Hasan Okuyucu, Abdullah Yildiz, 2017, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Abstract: We used wet-chemistry techniques to prepare colloidal tungsten (W) nanoparticles (NPs). The synthesis of W NPs was conducted using the so called hot-matrix method in 1-octadecene [1]. The sizes of obtained W NPs are in the order of 2 - 5 nm. These W NPs are coated with hydrophobic molecules which allow their dispersion in organic solvents like choloroform (CHCl3). It was found that the colloidal stability of the dispersions is exceptionally high exceeding several years. The stability of W NPs which prevents coagulation allows the preparation of thin films with uniform thicknesses by spin-coating, inkjet-printing and spray coating. We have prepared tungsten carbide (W2C, WC) thin films. The preparation of W2C and WC was achieved by spin-coating of pre-synthesized W NPs on graphite substrate and following heat treatment under Ar atmosphere at 1000 and 1450°C. The obtained W2C and WC films were used both in electrochemical water splitting studies. We also made a composite W2C-Pt films where we used only 5 at.% of Pt. The W2C-Pt composite has shown similar performance as pure Pt-C for hydrogen (H2) evolution. In conclusion, we have developed a procedure for the synthesis of W NPs which can be applied for the preparation of tungsten carbides films and their use for electrochemical water splitting.
Keywords: water splitting, nanoparticles, hot-matrix
Published in RUNG: 09.10.2017; Views: 6382; Downloads: 0
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64.
Contribution of Cu and Zr to the Properties of TiO2 for Photocatalytic Water Treatment
Olena Pliekhova, Iztok Arčon, Nataša Novak Tušar, Urška Lavrenčič Štangar, 2017, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Keywords: Photocatalysis, water treatment, surface modification, durability
Published in RUNG: 23.08.2017; Views: 4849; Downloads: 0
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65.
Zr and Cu modified TiO2 photocatalysts for water treatment
Olena Pliekhova, Urška Lavrenčič Štangar, 2016, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Keywords: TiO2, water treatment, surface modification
Published in RUNG: 23.08.2017; Views: 4884; Downloads: 0
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66.
Revealing local failed supernovae with neutrino telescopes
Lili Yang, Cecilia Lunardini, 2011, original scientific article

Keywords: neutrinos, failed supernova, Mt water detector
Published in RUNG: 09.05.2017; Views: 4980; Downloads: 154
URL Link to full text

67.
NOVEL METHODS FOR DETECTION AND REMOVAL OF POLLUTANTS FROM WATERS
Franja Prosenc, 2017, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: Water security and quality are a global issue of concern, which have recently become alarming due to the growth of the human population, industrialisation and expanded agricultural activities. Biologically active compounds, such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products can have major adverse effects on aquatic organisms, and are therefore one of the biggest threats in water quality. Another major concern is the spread of waterborne pathogens, including multidrug resistant (MDR) bacteria, which can cause serious illnesses in humans. In order to maintain water abundance and quality, it is necessary that adequate wastewater treatment and analytical techniques allowing for sensitive and fast-response detection of water hazards are in place. Conventional (waste)water treatment technologies often fail to adequately remove all of the water hazards detailed above. Moreover, conventional analytical techniques currently used in water quality control are, although highly selective and sensitive, time-extensive, with throughput of merely 2 to 3 samples per hour, excluding the time for sample preparation. With respect to these drawbacks, research was proposed to explore new approaches for degradation of recalcitrant compounds, inactivation of microorganisms, and fast screening methods, which are listed in the second chapter of this dissertation as research objectives. In the third chapter, an extensive theoretical background on the hazards found in aquatic environment, namely pharmaceuticals and waterborne pathogens, is given. Pharmaceuticals enter the environment through several routes (disposal of unused medication via the toilet, pharmaceuticals passing through the human body unchanged/slightly transformed, animal excretions of pharmaceutically active compounds, insufficient wastewater treatment, etc.); therefore, traces of pharmaceuticals have repeatedly been reported in surface waters, groundwater, wastewater effluents, and even drinking water. Iodinated contrast agents (ICAs), as the compounds of interest in this project are further described. ICAs are eliminated from the human body practically unchanged; therefore a large proportion of them end up in municipal and hospital wastewater, where they can be present in concentrations of up to 2.4 g/L. Their ecotoxicity, degradation attempts, as well as detection monitoring in the environment are reviewed within the chapter. Additionally, waterborne pathogens, which account for 2.2 million deaths per year, are reviewed in this chapter, with emphasis on multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria. Although MDR infections are mostly prevalent in hospital environments, the presence of MDR bacteria in the environment is not a rarity. A high percentage of bacterial isolates in waters have been shown to be of an MDR phenotype. The theoretical background in analytical methods in water quality monitoring is also given in this chapter. Vanguard and rearguard techniques are explained, the first offering simple, cheap, and rapid sample screening, but sacrificing sensitivity and selectivity, whereas the second providing the highest quality information, excellent sensitivity and selectivity, but in expense of complicated and timely sample handling and high-cost instruments. By combining the two techniques the benefits of both can be exploited in a single system. The basic principles of thermal lens spectrometry (TLS) and its miniaturised version - the thermal lens microscopy (TLM) as fast screening methods providing high sensitivity are further explained, and their practical applications are reviewed. Furthermore, composite materials have recently been finding applications in water treatment technologies, as filter materials, adsorptives for pollutants, catalysts for degradation reactions, and disinfectants. The applications of three main types of composites: synthetic composites, biocomposites, and nanocomposites, are also reviewed within this chapter. The core of this dissertation is presented in the fourth and the fifth chapter, which examine two separate approaches for water treatment, as well as analytical methods for fast screening purposes. The fourth chapter is investigating options for degradation of iodinated X-ray agents (ICAs), namely diatrizoate, through biodegradation with extracellular enzymes of white rot fungus Dichomitus squalens, and chemical oxidation with manganese(III) acetate. Enzymatic degradation with laccase (Lac) and manganese peroxidase (MnP) at low enzymatic activities was unsuccessful, whereas at approximately 3-times higher activities the enzymes were capable of 60 % degradation in 12 days. Chemical oxidation of diatrizoate with manganese(III) acetate resulted in 85 % degradation in 12 days. Moreover, the suitability of microfluidic flow injection analysis coupled with thermal lens microscopy (μFIA-TLM) as a fast screening method for diatrizoate degradation was examined. The degradation was monitored through the release of iodide from the diatrizoate molecule. μFIA-TLM proved to be a preferable method over UV-Vis spectrophotometry, due to its higher sensitivity, sample throughput, and simple sample handling. Limit of detection (LOD) for μFIA-TLM method was estimated to be 0.14 µM in a 100 µm channel, which is 9 times lower than LOD obtained in UV-Vis measurements. In addition to μFIA-TLM and UV-VIS, high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) was used to monitor the remaining parent compound in the reaction mix. In the fifth chapter, the second water treatment approach is described. This includes synthesis of biocomposite materials from cellulose (CEL) and keratin (KER), with metal (Ag0, AgCl, Au0) nanoparticles (NPs). Materials were characterised for presence, species, and size of NPs with X-ray diffraction (XRD) and with scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Nanoparticles were confirmed to be of expected species, with sizes as follows: 6.3 ± 0.5 nm for Au NPs, 12 ± 2 nm for Ag NPs, and 22 ± 1 nm for AgCl NPs. In order to evaluate antibacterial properties of the materials, contact tests with gram-negative (Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE)) were conducted. Direct-contact assay over 24 hours showed a dose and species-dependent antibacterial activity of [CEL:KER + Ag NPs] materials. The highest potency against the selected bacteria (up to 6-log of reduction) was observed for the material with 500 mg of Ag NPs. AgCl NPs appeared to be less potent than Ag NPs, whereas Au NPs exhibited antibacterial activity only against MRSA and VRE. In addition, antiviral properties of materials were investigated on selected bacteriophages (MS2, phiX174, and fr). However, biocomposite materials with 500 mg of Ag NPs and AgCl NPs, as well as, 240 mg of Au NPs did not exhibit any activity against selected bacteriophages. Biocompatibility with human fibroblasts was evaluated through a direct contact assay for 3 and 7 days of exposure. High concentrations of metal NPs turned out to be cytotoxic for human fibroblasts, whereas the amount of 69 mg of Ag NPs in [CEL:KER] was low enough not to affect the viability of the fibroblasts after 3 days of exposure. Composites with Ag NPs and AgCl NPs were also tested for leachability of NPs out of the materials. Both types of NPs were leaching out in two different forms, as silver ions, and as colloidal silver. Leaching of ionic silver from both materials stabilised after 3 days, whereas colloidal silver was still leaching out on the 7th day. The overall percentage of the total silver (ionic + colloidal) leached was only 0.04 % of silver incorporated in the material. In summary, this dissertation investigates alternative approaches for water treatment technologies, which could potentially serve as unit improvements of existing technologies, or as on-point pre-treatment technologies to facilitate further conventional water treatment techniques. It also demonstrates the suitability of μFIA-TLM for fast screening measurements in aquatic samples, offering high sample throughput, simple handling of the samples and superior sensitivity over the UV-Vis spectrophotometry.
Keywords: Antibacterial biocomposites, nanomaterials, water treatment technologies, multidrug-resistant bacteria, iodinated contrast agents, thermal lens microscopy, flow-injection analysis, microfluidics
Published in RUNG: 26.04.2017; Views: 6607; Downloads: 209
.pdf Full text (27,08 MB)

68.
Geomorphological characteristics of karst on contact between limestone and dolomite in Slovenia
Petra Gostinčar, 2016, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: Contact karst is a type of karst formed where allogenic waters from the surface influence the karst geomorphic system. Contact karst may be considered in both a strict sense and in a wide sense. In a strict sense, contact karst is the karst phenomena and forms influenced by the contact between a karstifiable rock and a non-karstifiable rock. In a wide sense, contact karst may also be the karst phenomena and forms influenced by the contact between two different karstifiable rocks, for example limestone and dolomite. This thesis focuses on the geomorphological characteristics of contact karst on limestone-dolomite contacts in Slovenia. The purpose of the research was to determine which processes contribute to the development of contact karst on the contact between limestone and dolomite, to define their dynamics, and to identify which surface and underground landforms are developed. The spatial distribution of contacts between limestone and dolomite in Slovenia was determined in a GIS. Using existing lithological data as a data layer, the extent of carbonate rock cover in Slovenia was calculated. Carbonate rocks cover 47 % of Slovenia’s territory (27 % limestone, 14 % dolomite, and 6 % clastic carbonate or impure carbonate rocks). And, there are 1,353 limestone-dolomite contact lines in the country, totalling a length of 2,625 km. Study areas were selected based on GIS analysis of the limestone-dolomite contacts. A total of 17 areas in Slovenia were studied in detail. Fieldwork at the study areas consisted of the collection and analysis of rock, sediment, and water samples, allowing each study area to be geomorphologically mapped. General factors contributing to contact karst development on the lithological contact between limestone and dolomite were determined. The most important factor appears to be the characteristics of the inflow part, formed on the dolomite. Where dolomite functions as a karst rock, the water is dispersedly drained into the karst. In that case, the limestone-dolomite contact does not function as contact karst. Alternatively, where the dolomite functions as fluviokarst, a point recharge, or sinking stream, is formed. In that case, contact karst may be formed. The fluviokarstic character of the dolomite depends on its chemical and mechanical properties. The dolomite bedrock must be positioned at a higher elevation than the neighbouring limestone bedrock. To meet this requirement, dolomite beds, which in Slovenia are generally older than limestone and hence stratigraphically positioned below the limestone beds, need to be positioned above limestone by either folding that leads to inverse stratification, overthrusting, or by displacement along faults. Along faults, the dolomite is more prone to mechanical weathering due to tectonic crushing in addition to its chemical properties. Hence, contact karst is more likely to form at thrust contacts between thrust limestone and dolomite. Limestone-dolomite contact karst develops predominately at higher elevations due to increased precipitation (where allogenic inflow is higher) and greater frost action due to lower temperatures. Intense mechanical weathering of dolomite over limestone directly affects contact karst processes and significantly contributes to the spatial distribution of these types of surfaces. The location of the water table close to the surface is also a leading factor in limestone-dolomite contact karst formation due to enhanced border corrosion. Landforms typical of contact karst were identified in the study areas during geomorphological analyses. However, they are not as clearly recognizable as those on contact between carbonate and non-carbonate rocks. The reason for this is the fact that allogenic waters from dolomitic catchment areas are by far not as corrosive as those from non-carbonate catchment areas.
Keywords: carbonate rocks, dolomite, limestone, contact karst, allogenic water, karst geomorphology
Published in RUNG: 19.12.2016; Views: 6991; Downloads: 262
.pdf Full text (126,22 MB)

69.
PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT OF LEGIONELLA SPP. SPREAD IN HOSPITAL WATER SYSTEM (ESTABLISHING AN EFFECTIVE SYSTEM WITHOUT USING CHEMICALS IN UNIVERSITY CLINIC OF RESPIRATORY AND ALLERGIC DISEASES GOLNIK)
Mojca Novak, 2016, master's thesis

Abstract: The hospital water system can be a causative agent for acquiring hospital-acquired infection. Many microorganisms can be detected in potable water and one of this is Legionella spp. These bacteria live also in nature, but are usually present in low numbers. When entering into the buildings and their water supply, Legionella finds ideal conditions to multiply, especially if this systems are extensive and old. To control the conditions in the levels that cannot harm humans, many procedures – physical and chemical – have been established. All of them have advantages as well as limitations. According to these facts, in University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases Golnik we tried to reestablish the protocols that would keep us on the safe side and be environmentally and health friendly as well. We have been trying to use the protocol without added chemicals – just with maintaining proper temperatures, heat disinfection and flushing for many years now. With this study we wanted to extend our knowledge of our hospital water system, so we intensified the sampling and introduced extended measures. We found out that the presence of Legionella in water system is connected to moderate temperatures and it is present more frequently in high risk zones (inappropriate temperatures, dead legs, water stagnation). With constant measures, the Legionella can be controlled but not eradicated. To contain it on a safe level, the group of experts must work together and introduce procedures that will provide safe environment for the patients and employees.
Keywords: Legionella spp., hospital water system, prevention, temperature, flushing.
Published in RUNG: 30.09.2016; Views: 6473; Downloads: 280
.pdf Full text (2,81 MB)

70.
THE STUDY OF OPTIMAL TECHNOLOGICAL PROCEDURES OF INTERNAL PLUMBING SYSTEM DISINFECTION FACILITIES IN USE BY THE SENSITIVE HUMAN POPULATIONS
Janez Škarja, 2016, master's thesis

Abstract: In a developed world, water is used in a variety of installations and devices for the improvement of life standard. It is important for these elements to be suitably managed and maintained, otherwise they can present a risk to people's health. Although potable water from a public plumbing system coming via the water supply into an internal plumbing system normally is compliant with the regulations, the quality of water in an internal plumbing system often changes – water gets contaminated. There are several types of microorganisms that can grow in water. They carry a great potential for the growth and proliferation of bacteria from the genus Legionella that cause Legionnaires' disease and Pontiac Fever. Even the fact that Legionella infection has for several years been mentioned in the accident insurance conditions of insurance companies in relation to receiving the insurance fee as compensation for bed day, shows the extent and foremost the seriousness of the disease (5–15% mortality rate). The research part of the master thesis focused mainly on determining the presence of bacteria from the genus Legionella in the water of internal plumbing systems of healthcare facilities. During the entire research period of 8 years, 2,676 samples of cold and hot water were acquired from 23 healthcare facilities. The main purpose of the research was to determine the efficiency or adequacy of applied approaches, i.e. physical disinfection with heat and chemical disinfection with chlorine, in eliminating or reducing the amount of Legionella present in the water of selected healthcare facilities. Another aim was to evaluate the impact of softening potable water with polyphosphates on the proliferation of certain microorganisms in water, and to determine the by-products of chemical disinfection. Upon sampling, an organoleptic examination of water (appearance, odour), electrometric measurements of water temperature, and colorimetric measurements of free chlorine concentrations in water were performed. The data for the analysis of Legionella presence were acquired by water sampling and the isolation of bacteria found in the water. In order to acquire laboratory results of specific physical and chemical parameters, ion chromatography, gas chromatography, spectrophotometry, titration, and inductively coupled plasma – mass detector were used. Although water samples from only two healthcare facilities showed no presence of Legionella, the number of water samples with the presence of Legionella decreased for at least 25% from the beginning to the end of period set. Also, after certain general sanitary and technical measures a noticeable improvement within healthcare facilities after 2008 could be observed. Regarding the initial part of the set period, a more favourable relationship between positive and negative samples, a lower number of samples with highest concentrations of present Legionella, and a higher number of samples with lower concentrations of present Legionella were determined. The research has shown that the existing system of ensuring health-compliant water is fairly efficient; however, the results could be improved additionally by investing more into the preparation and renovation of systems. Due to a limited number of samples, a direct impact of adding polyphosphates to potable water could not be linked to the occurrence of Legionella. None of the samples showed an increased concentration of by-products of potable water disinfection. In its conclusion, the research has shown that the procedures after overheating and after chlorine disinfection result in a similar success. While filtration proved to be most efficient, from the perspective of Legionella infections the use of medical bathtubs can present a high risk to people's health, therefore such devices should be subject to more frequent maintenance and supervision.
Keywords: potable water, internal plumbing system, biofilm, health facilities, disinfection, Legionella
Published in RUNG: 05.09.2016; Views: 6045; Downloads: 278
.pdf Full text (1,70 MB)

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