Marina Nogueira ’16
Microbial Fuel Cells: Microfluidic Approaches to Microbial Fuel Cells
This summer I investigated the role of biofilm streamers in the clogging of porous materials. Biofilms are bacterial communities that occupy most moist surfaces and are known for clogging industrial flow systems and causing medical-device-associated infections. Previous research in the Stone Lab showed that biofilms, in the presence of flow, can form three-dimensional structures, which bridge the spaces between obstacles and cause sudden and rapid clogging. This summer, we were interested to see if streamers form in porous materials which are used in various filtration systems, and whether these streamers dictate clogging dynamics in real soil. I used microfluidic channels to mimic a soil-like environment. I was then able to look at streamer formation in the channels and gather data, such as flow rates and clogging times, to understand the dynamics in these systems. It was exciting to see that biofilm streamers could form in porous materials like soil and may play a role in the clogging dynamics. I really enjoyed my experience this summer and I was encouraged to keep researching. I will continue to work on the project during the semester and I now know that I would like to pursue a career in science research.
Climate and Energy
Complex Fluids Group - Stone Lab
Howard Stone, Donald R. Dixon '69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering