Faculty Advisor

Camesano, Terri A.


Poly-g-glutamic-acid (PGA) can be used in a Polymer Enhanced Diafiltration (PEDF) system to remove copper from industrial wastewater streams. This study utilized atomic force microscopy (AFM) to study the conformational changes of the PGA chains once copper was added. Four different properties of the PGA chains were studied. The four properties, which are contour length, end-to-end distance, chain height, and persistence length, were quantified and compared to the PGA chains before the copper had been added. The contour length was reduced from 2929 nm to 288 nm. The end-to-end distance decreased from 2734 nm to 187 nm. The chain height was lowered to 0.92 nm from 3.35 nm. Also the persistence length was decreased from 221 nm to 35 nm. The reduction in persistence length meant that the polymer's flexibility was increased, which resulted in chains with many more bends and curves in them, as opposed to the straight chains of PGA in its natural state. The results from this study can be used towards the development of a better PEDF system using PGA to remove copper from industrial wastewater streams.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2002


Chemical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering