CARBO-S POLYMER:- A SOLUTION TO GLOBAL WATER CRISIS (COMBATING WATER POLLUTION AND FACILITATING BETTER WATER RETENTION IN SOIL)

Summary

India along with other developing countries is facing great threat of water crisis in form of erratic monsoon and contaminated freshwater reserves which is fast growing as population continues to expand. So clean water has become an important neccesity which is quite difficult to achieve, on the same time the ground water resources are depleting thus farmers have to rely on monsoon which rarely meets the need of water for a good harvest.

markets do have filtration systems but they are very expensive and have to be serviced or replaced once saturated with impurities, nor can they be put any beneficial use once used.

for problem of drought ,india rarely has availability of cost effective SAP which can help farmers cultivate even in drought like conditions, if they are present then they are too expensive to be bought by small farmers.

i have devised a microporous, reusable adsorbing polymer consisting of starch from potato and activated carbon. it can be used to clean water bodies quite easilly and efficeintly , moreover can be reused again and again. it can filter large amounts of oganic and inorganic impurities from water thus filtering it from harmful contaminants.

once it's work as filter is done, it can be used as a SAP in the croplands to aid farmers cultivate even in arid areas. along with increasing water retention it also enhances the growth of plants thus giving a better produce than plants in normal soil.

Question / Proposal

CAN POTATO STARCH AND ACTIVATED CARBON BE USED TO TREAT POLLUTED WATER AND FURTHER USED AS A SOIL SUPPLEMENT TO ENHANCE SEED GERMINATION AND SOIL'S WATER HOLDING CAPACITY??

In India where water is the synonym for life, inadequate access to potable water tolls 200,000 lives annually, at the same time,

the undulating monsoon trend makes a farmer commit suicide every 32 minutes.

It, s quite shocking to know that in a country where 68.84% of individuals live in rural areas, out of which 75%  survive on a meager 0.5 US $ /day, the adequate water filtration system along with proper maintenance costs more than 50 US $, i.e.cent times the rural average daily income.

Similarly, the acrylic-based SAPs( which significantly reduce water depletion while dramatically increasing plant survival and growth rate) are no less than daydreaming in India for a majority of farmers which depend on monsoon for sowing their crops to ensure proper germination for a profitable harvest.

INVESTIGATORY QUESTION:- Can I create a cost-effective,  simple yet efficient filtration composite that later on could be put to use in an eco-friendly way rather than simple disposal.

HYPOTHESIS:- I hypothesized that amylopectin form of starch from potato can be used to create a cost-effective, microporous polymer similar to cellulose membranes but recyclable depending upon the treated pollutant, which upon doping with activated carbon could be made more efficiently, and later on be used as SAP to increase soil's water holding capacity thus, alleviating farmers from the stress of erratic monsoon.

 

Research

India is facing it's worst ever water crisis, with some 600 million people facing acute water shortage. This not only threatens health status but since 80% of the water is used in agricultural processes it poses a great danger to food security as well. According to WHO every year 3.4 million people die as a result of water-related diseases, out of which 0.2 million i.e. 5.88% casualties are reported from India primarily due to lack of access to clean and safe water sources.

But this does not mean that water is unavailable, it only means that usable water is unavailable. India is the world's largest user of groundwater accounting to a quarter of estimated global numbers, these actions are fast exploiting the under surface reserves and making the situation above the surface as " water-water everywhere, not a drop to drink".

The solution to the problem is water management, recycling, less dependence on groundwater and better filtration and remedial measures. Most of the filtration systems employed in India are based on reverse osmosis and seiving effect by using a semipermeable membrane generally a polyamide layer deposited on top of a porous layer.

These systems cost about 50-40 US$ therefore prove quite inefficient economically to be employed for the filtration of contaminated water bodies nor do they provide any hope for rural areas which are now and then struck by water-borne infections.

The erratic monsoon in drought-prone regions also tolls a heavy loss to farmers resulting in the emotional and economic setback. This crisis has severely affected the states of Maharashtra, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh where numbers claim a farmer suicide every 32 minutes. Recently discovered SAPs promise great hope owing to their enormous water holding capacity but due to lack of infrastructure they are not richly sold or manufactured in India. If imported can cost as high as 3000-4000 US$ per ton making them economically unusable.

I aimed to create a microporous, adsorption composite derived from organic polymeric carbohydrates with a safe and sustainable disposal. I came to know that polymeric carbohydrates being natural polymers are quite easy to use and have miraculous properties regarding water absorption and seiving effect.

 

My composite is a derived polymer consisting of potato starch( a polymer of alpha -dextrose -glucose) doped with activated carbon which could serve as the potential substrate to clean contaminated water bodies on a large scale. It is a pervious composite which can be molded in any shape and completely biodegradable yet with a shelf life of 1 to 1.5 months after being exposed to biological agents.it can remove salinity to a large extent and on the part of organic impurities it is excellent and rendering water clean from odor and suspended matter.

Once it's a purpose as the filter is done it can be employed as an SAP, to increase soil's water holding capacity and germination rate of seeds to a large extent.

Method / Testing and Redesign

PREPARATION OF SUBSTRATE:-

  • Potatoes were peeled and grated to free the starch from cellular matrix
  • starch was extracted by agitation and separation using decantation.
  • starch is mixed with activated carbon in the ratio 5:1 to obtain a uniform powder.
  • it is added to the little water and heated until a thick, viscous sol. is formed, once flakes get visible it is taken in a mold and immediately transferred to a refrigerator at -10degree celsius.
  • after 2-3 hrs when freezing is complete, it can be defrosted to obtain the microporous polymer.

TO TEST FOR STRENGTH 0.5CM THICK SAMPLE IS SUBJECTED TO WEIGHT TILL BREAKNG OCCURS, IT WAS REPEATED WITH DIFFERENT CARBON DOPED SAMPLES.

TESTING FOR FILTRATION POTENTIAL:-

  • initially, a cylindrical sample with height 10cm and radius 5cm is prepared .

FOR ORGANIC IMPURITIES SIMULATION:-

  • methylene blue( an organic dye) and litmus soln. ( an organic indicator) were added to separate beakers- beaker - 'A'= water + 2 drops of methylene blue; beaker-'B'= water+ 2 drops of blue litmus soln.
  • one by one each soln. was passed through the polymer and qualitative analysis was done on colour.
  • graph was also plotted for amount o carbon doped and amount of methylene blue removed on same axis.

FOR INORGANIC IMPURITIES:-

  • The salt solution was prepared of various salts, 50ml volume with ppm=900+50ppm with water of tds= 196ppm was poured and reading was noted using a TDS meter.

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS:-

  • chloride ion + silver nitrate----------------------- white ppt of silver chloride
  • magnesium ion + potassium hydroxide------ white ppy of magnesium hydroxide
  • calcium ion + phosphoric acid------------------ white ppt of calcium phosphate
  • lead ion + potassium iodide---------------------yellow ppt of lead iodide
  • ferric chloride in water gives an orange yellow color.
  • copper sulfate is blue in the water.

TO MEASURE WATER HOLDING CAPACITY:-

Two sample A, B one with a mixture of soil with CARBO-S polymer and another with simple soil of equal masses were taken and their water holding capacity was measured for 50ml of water, with increasing masses of each the next time

TO MEASURE WATER RETENTION:-

To measure water retention ability of polymer two samples C, D were taken one with soil and carbos polymer another with only soil, both were kept in identical beakers and were weighed. before adding water=280g, after adding water=330g. both beakers were kept in sunl8ght and their masses were measured at consecutive days at 1:00 pm using a digital balance.

TO MEASURE PLANT GROWTH:-

To measure plant growth I selected two species Cicer arietinum and Vigna radiata. Their seeds were sown in small earthen vessels called 'diyas and two categories (1) and (2) each with four seeds of each species were sown and watered at an interval of 5 days by adding 5ml of water., in 800 lux of light and 25-degree Celsius.

  • A1=Cicer arietinum  in soil with CARBOS polymer.
  • A2=Cicer arietinum  in simple soil.
  • B1=Vigna radiata in soil with CARBOS polymer.
  • B2=Vigna radiata in simple soil.
  • length and mass were measured using a scale and digital balance.

 

Results

it was observed that most of the contaminants in water were removed especially organic impurities were completely removed and inorganic ions were reduced to a great extent, no odor or color was observed in the filtered water and sample.

TABLE FOR VARIATION OF STRENGTH OF CARBOS POLYMER WITH CARBON DOPING

         

red colour shows breaking force in gwt. for 1cm thick membrane, while blue colour shows the carbon doped.it can be well concluded that with increased carbon doping strength of polymer decreases, probably due to presence of excess carbon which decreases extensive interlinking in starch units.

TABLE FOR ANALYSIS OF FILTRATION OF ORGANIC IMPURITIES:-

it indicates that carbos polymer has completely removed these simulated impurities hence is successful at the removal of organic impurities.

this graph has been plotted for volume of methylene blue adsorbed on the polymer from aqueous medium for different amounts of carbon doped mentioned along the same axis.it can be concluded that with increased doping the filtration potential of the carbos polymer has increased, but after a certain extent it acheives saturation and do not shows gradual increase.

TABLE FOR ANALYSIS OF REMOVAL OF INORGANIC IONS:-

water taken to prepare solution had tds=196ppm. these results indicate that carbos polymer can filter inorganic mineral ions from  simple hard water as well.

TABLE FOR WATER HOLDING CAPACITY OF CARBOS POLYMER SOIL VS NORMAL SOIL:-

it clearly indicates that carbos polymer soil has larger water holding capacity due to extensive crosslinking in the polymer, which absorbs water molecules better than normal soil. in the first column mass of the sample is mentioned in g and in second column water hold in ml is measured. red color indicates normal soil and blue color indicates carbos polymer soil.

ASSOCIATED GRAPH:-

TABLE FOR WATER RETENTION IN CARBOS POLYMER SOIL VS NORMAL SOIL:-

it clearly indicates carbos polymer can hold water for the extended duration even in the conditions when normal soil loses it,s most water easily. red color indicates normal soil and blue color indicated carbos polymer soil.

ASSOCIATED GRAPH:-

TABLE OF GROWTH IN PLANT AXIS OF CHOSEN PLANTS IN CARBOS POLYMER SOIL AND NORMAL SOIL:-

it can be concluded plant show better growth in carbos polymer soil than in normal soil.red color represents plants grown in normal soil and blue color shows the plant in carbos polymer soil. given readings were taken at interval 1 day for next 20 days. the given readings are in cm.

ASSOCIATED GRAPH:-

TABLE OF GROWTH IN MASS OF CHOSEN PLANTS IN CARBOS POLYMER SOIL AND NORMAL SOIL:-

it shows the growth in biomass of given plants and it can be concluded that carbos polymer soil has enhanced the growth of the plants in comparison to normal soil. the given readings are in g and were collected for 19 days.

ASSOCIATED GRAPH:-

 

Conclusion

CONCLUSION:-

By observing all the characteristics i can surely conclude that the given polymer removes a large class of contaminants including organic impurities, inorganic mineral ions etc. from water thus rendering it clean and pristine for consumption.it promises great hope to clean impure water bodies and industrial effluents on large scale to provide us with clean and better water resources.

moreover, it is recyclable because of its hydrolyzable structure at high temperatures, and potentially be a solution for the watyer crisis.

it can also used as an SAP as it increases water retention in soil and also enhances the growth of plants planted in it, in comparison to normal soil.

IMPACT ON SOCIETY:-

This substrate helps in reducing dependence on underground water reserves and also prevents heath casualties caused due impure water. it can be easily maintained on the expenses of local administration thus do no creates economical overburden on the existing economy. it solves the major issue of water pollution thus saves a whole sum of marine organisms by preventing degradation of their ecosystem.

it helps to maintain food security by helping in cropping measures during conditions of drought or low rainfall, on the same time it increases the growth of plants hence providing a better harvest resulting in economic prosperity and happiness in the community.

FOLLOW UP ACTION:-

I  want to work over its durability and increase its resistance against biological agents.

I also want to employ this in cleaning DSW(DISTILLERY SPENT WASH).

About me

Hello there :). My name is Manikya Verma. I am from Bareilly, India. I am 17 years old studying in BBL public school. I love reading, gardening and above all writing and sometimes expressing my views as a speaker.

The subjects of biology and chemistry always held me awestruck over their magnificent yet marvelous phenomenon, guided and governed by yet more beautiful concepts. The Veils of my earliest attachment to science dates back when I was 6 yrs and on a simple query, my wonderful father Mr. Nand Ram Verma explained the principle of floatation in a simple and lucid way. After then there was no looking back and still, the scientific marvels fuel my curiosity to question what? Why? And how?.

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, popularly known as the missile man of India is my greatest inspiration not only because of his scientific endeavors but primarily due to his notion of social development by a balanced yet practical amalgam of technology and human values. I hope to one day become a medical researcher so that I could help people in need by providing them with better, efficient and sustainable medical treatment.

Google science fair bestows me a golden opportunity to embark on my dreams. Winning google science fair would surely fuel my curiosity and knowledge. I would like to use the scholarship for my higher studies and fund further development of my project. I aim to become an able server of the ones in need by the power of knowledge.

Health & Safety

A major part of my experiments was conducted at home involving an LPG stove as a heat source, and a refrigerator.

My experiments didn’t involve the use of hazardous substances or reagents in any form in any phase.

I used cutting, grating instruments(knife, grater) and LPG stove under the supervision of my mother Mrs.Anupam Verma.

Contact details:-

Mobile phone number:- +91 9411916585

E-mail ID:- anupamverma221969@gmail.com

My school's chemistry lab(i.e. chemistry lab, BBL PUBLIC SCHOOL, Pilibhit road Bareilly) was used for studying the properties of my composite. Materials used included, methylene blue, neutral salts( NaCl,  Ca(NO3)2, MgSO4,  Pb(NO3)2, FeCl3  and CuSO4 under the guidance and supervision of Mr. Neeraj Gangwar( lab attendant)

Mobile phone number:- +91 8445441714

sample collection from polluted water bodies was done under the supervision of my father Mr.Nand Ram Verma from a safe distance.

Contact details:-

Mobile phone number:- +91 9897684458

E-mail ID:-  nand.verma@licindia.com

Precautions followed:-

  • Cutting and grating instruments were handled carefully under adult supervision.
  • Heated containers were moved using a tong and not touched until their temperature dropped to normal.
  • The samples of water were collected at the sites from a safe distance.

Bibliography, references, and acknowledgements

REFERENCES

  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starch
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Amylose2.svg
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Amylopektin_Sessel.svg
  • Roy L. Whistler; James N. BeMiller; Eugene F. Paschall, eds. (2012). Starch: Chemistry and Technology. Academic Press. p. 220. Starch has variable density depending on botanical origin, prior treatment, and method of measurement
  • https://food-ndtv-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/cornstarch-arrowroot-more-the-different-kinds-of-starch-you-should-know-about-1478336?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&amp=1&akamai-rum=off&usqp=mq331AQECAFYAQ%3D%3D#aoh=15436459052870&amp_ct=1543645943995&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Ffood.ndtv.com%2Ffood-drinks%2Fcornstarch-arrowroot-more-the-different-kinds-of-starch-you-should-know-about-1478336
  • http://www.tuscany-diet.net/carbohydrates/starch/
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activated_carbon
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ActivatedCharcoalPowder_BrightField.jpg
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Activated_Charcoal.jpg
  • https://www-mrright-in.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.mrright.in/ideas/appliances/small-appliances/ro/5-types-of-advanced-water-purification-technologies/amp/?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQECAFYAQ%3D%3D#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mrright.in%2Fideas%2Fappliances%2Fsmall-appliances%2Fro%2F5-types-of-advanced-water-purification-technologies%2F
  • https://theberkey.com/blogs/water-filter/types-of-drinking-water-filtration-systems-reviews
  • https://consolidatedtreatment.com/products/enviro-guard-wastewater-treatment-system.aspx
  • https://tastessence-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/tastessence.com/uses-of-potato-starch.amp?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQECAFYAQ%3D%3D#aoh=15436463577280&csi=1&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Ftastessence.com%2Fuses-of-potato-starch
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878029616000165
  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/306263110_Production_of_potato_starch_based_bioplastic
  • ‘modern,s abc of chemistry’ for xii by Dr. S.P. Jauhar
  • ‘modern,s abc of chemistry’ for xi by Dr. S.P. Jauhar
  • ‘modern,s abc of biology’ for xi by Dr. B.B. Arora and A.K. Sabharwal
  • NCERT Textbook of biology for class xi
  • NCERT Textbook of chemistry for class xi
  • NCERT Textbook of chemistry for class xii
  • water crisis in india by neeti aayog
  • www.bbcnews.com for water crisis in world

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

“He has a right to criticize, who has the heart to help”

Abiding by the above lines said by Abraham Lincoln I enlist the people whose constructive criticism and valuable thoughts helped me turn my hypothesis into an executable plan.

I would like to thank Mr. Himanshu Bhardwaj; my biology mentor, who motivated me to work and discover new insights about biological susceptibility of my composite. He always helped me and solved my confusions and doubts wherever they arose. His constant encouragement bolstered my spirit to continue my research.

I would also like to thank my respected principal sir Mr. Manoj Pathak for his guidance and practical analysis of my work. He helped me to earn the constituents of my composite from waste and commonly available sources turning my project into a cost-effective solution of the chosen problem.

This project owes great help from Mr. Neeraj Gangwar; chemistry lab attendant of my school who helped me maintain the safety standards and guided me during my use of laboratory reagents and equipment and henceforth drove my methods into an efficient layout.

I would also like to thank my classmates Subodh Gangwar, Kshitij Varshney and Akash Bhardwaj for their support and succor in synthesizing the substrate, their unconditional aid leaves me indebted.

This project wouldn't have been executed if BBL School's benevolent management hadn't bore the expenses of the equipment and materials like activated carbon, activated alumina etc for laboratory work and research.

At last but not the least I pay my heartiest thank to Lord Almighty and my parents Mr. Nand Ram Verma and Mrs. Anupam Verma for being my true inspiration and guiding force. They kept me upright whenever the blackouts struck my way.

I am thankful to all the people who laid stress and helped me turn my dream into Reality.