Tarabara research group
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Michigan State University



Here we are in October 2014

From left to right: Brian Starr, Pejman Ahmadiannamini, Ala Yasaghi, Vlad Tarabara, Emily Tummons, Andrii Gorobets, Claudio Calderon, Chris Crock, Miguel Herrera-Robledo, Hien Dang, Bin Guo.
Not in the picture: Charifa Hejase, Hang Shi, Aaron Rosenwinkel

Our research is in the area of water quality engineering with an emphasis on membrane separation processes and materials science of synthetic membranes. Our current projects fall under one of three themes:

Virus removal and concentration. To understand how viruses can be removed from water we work to elucidate mechanisms of virus adhesion to surfaces and transport across porous membranes. We use this knowledge to design membranes that can concentrate viruses with high and reproducible recoveries. Such separations should enable accurate quantification of viruses.

Oil-water separation. Removal of finely dispersed oil from water may be required to meet environmental regulations. Unfortunately, the efficiency of current separation technologies decreases dramatically with a decrease in oil drop size. Membrane filtration can remove smaller drops but membrane fouling by oil limits broader acceptance of this technology. To overcome this limitation we seek mechanistic understanding of how oil drops and films behave at membrane surfaces. We are also developing hybrid technologies that combine cyclonic flow and microfiltration to remove dipersed oil.

Functional membrane materials. Coupling membrane separation with reactions can bring about useful synergies from lower footprint to faster reactions to improved separation efficiency. We are exploring how nanomaterial-based functions can be introduced into polymeric and ceramic membranes to enhance environmentally-relevant reactions.