Tuesday 29th October – Flocculation dynamics of cell-colonized suspended particulate matter

By: Thu Ha Nguyen, Fiona H.M. Tang, Federico Maggi

Time: Tuesday 29 October 11h

Location: Madsen’s Conference room (Room 449)


Transport of suspended particulate matter (SPM) plays a vital role in controlling large-scale processes related to geophysical flows such as dispersal and sinking of organic matter and contaminants to offshore and deep waters, nutrient cycles, food web stability, morphodynamics and sedimentation in both limnetic and pelagic ecosystems. Although it has been recognized that small-scale microbial processes can make substantial differences to the way in which SPM moves in natural waters, the extent to which the attached biological matter affects SPM dynamics is still not well characterized.

This presentation introduces a novel laboratory-based Optical Measurement of Cell Colonization (OMCEC) system that can simultaneously detect the material composition, geometric properties, and motion of individual suspended aggregates in a non-invasive and non-destructive way.

Two applications of OMCEC on minerals and microplastics are shown with analyses of aggregate-attached biomass fraction, cell colonization patterns, aggregate geometrical properties, and settling velocity. Finally, a microbiological-physical model (BFLOC2) is presented to predict aggregate geometry and settling velocity under simultaneous effects of hydrodynamic and biological processes.

The Environmental Engineering Research Group in the School of Civil Engineering is known for its expertise on experiments and modelling of suspended particulate matter dynamics in aquatic ecosystems. One of their research lines focuses on the role of microbial colonization of suspended matter and its effect on properties and dynamics of suspended aggregates under various environmental conditions.

Thu Ha Nguyen, a PhD candidate in the group, is going to present her PhD thesis in this seminar. Ha obtained her bachelor’s degree in 2011 and master’s degree in 2014 in Civil Engineering at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HCMUT), Vietnam. She was a lecturer at the Department of Water Resources Engineering and Management, Faculty of Civil Engineering, HCMUT from 2011 to 2016 and will return to that position after completing her PhD here. Her research interests include experimental and modelling of sediment and microplastic transports, urban flooding, Mekong River engineering and management.



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