City-scale filtration of airborne particulate matter for improved quality of life in polluted urban environments
Airborne Particulate Matter (PMx) poses a significant threat to human health and is carcinogenic. Annually an estimated 2.1 million deaths, most in East and South Asia, are attributable to respirable PM10 (<10μm) and fine PM2.5 (<2.5μm) particulate air pollution (RA Silva et al, Environmental Research Letters, 8, 2013). The toll continues to rise worldwide despite efforts to curb emissions at source. Primary emissions from road transport and combustion processes are common sources. Secondary particulates that form following release and mingling of precursors, and naturally formed particulates can add significantly to these sources. A direct method for removal of airborne PMx from the built environment is thus urgently needed.
The research proposal will help to establish the feasibility of direct removal of life-threatening airborne PMx from the urban environment. Permeodynamic air filtration applied at scale offers an economical, long-lasting solution to the problem. PMx filters (technology) of this type were first successfully used in 2007 to dynamically super-insulate and at the same time clean up the fresh air supply of a house in Balerno, Scotland, see http://www.dbb-project.com (Imbabi et al, 1998-2010). The proposal is to use groups of permeodynamically-insulated buildings and city constructs as giant filters, strategically located in hotspots running 24/7. Operating in tandem with natural dispersal mechanisms such as wind, to help clean up the outdoors environment of a city.
A model to predict decay over time in PM concentrations when the filters are switched on is a primary objective. Achieving this objective requires the application of theory, computer simulation / numerical modelling, and experimental testing, all leading to the development of a validated methodology.
The successful candidate should have, or expect to have an Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Any engineering discipline. Any environmental science discipline. Physics. Computing. Mathematics. Architecture. Knowledge: Computer programming for scientific applications and laboratory and field-based experimental methods. Optionally but desirably, computational fluid dynamics, dispersion modelling, applied mathematics and physics.
There is no funding attached to this project it is for self-funded students only.
Formal applications can be completed online: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply. You should apply for PhD in Engineering, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing. Please ensure that you quote the project title and supervisor on the application form.
Informal inquiries can be made to Dr M Imbabi, ([email protected]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Unit ([email protected]).