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Arup SenGupta gives plenary lecture at Cambridge University
SenGupta, shown here with his Ph.D. student, Michael German, holds eight U.S. patents with his students for inventions in environmental processes and materials.

Arup K. SenGupta, the P.C. Rossin Professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering and the department of chemical engineering, delivered the inaugural plenary lecture at the International Ion Exchange Meeting (IEX’12) held earlier this month at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

SenGupta’s lecture, titled “From the Donnan Membrane Principle to Sustainable Engineering Processes and Materials: A Tribute to Frederick Donnan,” was based on a paper he co-authored with Michael German, a Ph.D. candidate in environmental engineering at Lehigh.

Named for the Irish-English physical chemist Frederick G. Donnan (1870-1956), the century-old Donnan principle refers to the failure of charged particles to distribute evenly across the two sides of a nearby semi-permeable membrane.

SenGupta has applied the principle extensively to develop new hybrid materials and processes. His two publications in the emerging area of hybrid ion exchange have been cited more than 300 times.

The hybrid anion exchanger (HAIX) material developed and patented by SenGupta’s group is now being used in six countries to remove trace amounts of arsenic and other contaminants from water.

The material was recently tested for a treatment process to remove radioisotopes from wastewaters generated during the cooling of the Fukushima nuclear reactors that were damaged by the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. Three separate treatment systems, each designed to process 250 m3 of wastes per day, are undergoing commissioning and should be operational later this year.

SenGupta holds eight U.S. patents with his students for inventions in environmental processes and materials.

The International Ion Exchange Meeting, which is devoted to the specialty area of ion exchange science and technology, has been held every four years since the early 1950s under the auspices of the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) in the UK. More than 150 delegates from 25 countries attended IEX’12 this year at Cambridge’s Queens’ College.

From 1996 to 2006, SenGupta served as editor of Reactive and Functionalized Polymers, a journal published by Elsevier. For advancing the field of ion exchange and developing sustainable environmental processes, he has received awards from the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and other professional groups.

He served as chair of the department of civil and environmental engineering from 1998 to 2005.