Chemical Engineering Grad Earns Top Thesis Honor for Water Monitoring Technology

Mar 1, 2016

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

Sirikarn Surawanvifit, who earned her PhD in Chemical Engineering from UCLA in 2015 and her master’s in 2011, has won the award for best doctoral dissertation from the American Water Works Association.
Surawanvifit’s dissertation, “Real-time Monitoring of Reverse Osmosis Membrane Integrity,” addresses new approaches to tracking the efficiency and productivity of distributed and remote water filtering systems.
Her faculty advisor was Yoram Cohen, a professor in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and member of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Cohen’s lab is developing portable and distributed reverse-osmosis filtering systems for recycled water, sea water, and for groundwater in sparsely populated and water-poor communities and agricultural areas.
Surawanvifit’s work may pave the way for practical membrane integrity monitoring technology that can both perform at a high level and meet regulatory requirements for direct potable reuse of water. Her research interests include transport behaviors of nanoparticles in an aqueous environment; passage and fouling of nanoparticles in reverse osmosis filtration systems; integrity monitoring of high-pressure membranes; and electrochemical processes for treatment of potable water.
She is now working as a process engineer at Intel in Hillsboro, Ore.
The award will be presented at AWWA’s Annual Conference in June in Chicago.
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