Student’s work will help in fight against air pollution

July 14, 2010

Tingting Gao

Tingting Gao

Arizona State University engineering student Tingting Gao is gaining attention for her research to aid efforts to reduce air pollution by improving detection of atmospheric contaminants. Her work recently earned an award in a research exhibit competition at an international science and engineering conference. Gao also has recently had a second article about her research published in a leading journal in her field.

She is pursuing her doctoral degree in environmental engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

In June, judges at the annual international meeting of the Air and Waste Management Association in Calgary, Canada, awarded her second place in a research poster contest involving top engineering and science students from around the world.

Gao is using computational and experimental tools to find materials that will be most effective for use in devices to detect gas-phase contaminants in the air. The detection of such contaminants is crucial to the early detection of gases in indoor environments that could lead to adverse health effects.

The research findings have the potential to make notable contributions to better predictions of air-pollution formation and evaluation of air-pollution control strategies, said Gao’s faculty adviser, Jean Andino, an associate professor of chemical engineering in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy.

Gao’s work is being done through Andino’s research group.

Her second-place award is “exceptionally impressive” considering the strong competition and “shows the high quality of research” students are pursuing in the engineering schools at ASU, Andino said.

Equally impressive, Andino said, is Gao’s publication of a research article on the behavior of chemical compounds in the atmosphere in PCCP, the premier journal in the fields of physical chemistry, chemical physics and biophysical chemistry. She previously published an article in the International Journal of Chemical Kinetics on research aimed at air-pollution control and reduction.

Gao’s academic and research accomplishments have helped her earn a scholarship from the Air and Waste Management Association, and financial aid from a private endowment that supports environmental studies. The support enabled Gao to attend the recent international meeting in Canada, as well as the American Institute of Chemical Engineers conference in 2009.