Applied Chemistry student wins award for applied chemistry research

Riham Sawaftah, a master’s student at Birzeit University’s Applied Chemistry program, won the first place locally for her research “Comparative Removal of Methylene Blue by Iron Nanoparticles in Water and Water-Ethanol Solutions,” presented by Palestine Islamic Bank and Polytechnic University–Palestine.

In January 2019, Sawaftah’s research, conducted under the supervisor of chemistry professor Talal Shahwan, was published in the Journal of Molecular Liquids, a prominent journal in the field of chemistry with a special focus on organic and ionic liquids among other fields.

The researchers synthesized and used nano-zero valent iron (nZVI) to remove methylene blue (MB) dye from water and water and water-ethanol solutions. Their experiments investigated the effects of time, concentration, nZVI dose, and temperature. MB was removed almost totally from water solutions, while limited removal was achieved in water-ethanol solutions. In both cases, MB removal was fast.

The research was inspired by the fact that industrial and anthropogenic activities are increasingly causing water pollution. Dyes, including Methylene Blue (MB), are an important category of pollutants that are discharged into the environment through various types of industrial wastewater.

Shahwan praised Sawaftah for her commitment and distinguished achievement, which was reflected in the fact that her research has been published by the prominent Journal of Molecular Liquids. He thanked Muntaha Injas, a Birzeit University graduate and PhD student at Ulm University in Germany, where the nano-zero valent iron experiments were analyzed.