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An Electrical Storm on the Horizon

Can Technology Stimulate Reasoned Debate on Waste Containment


Alan Cheville
Department of Electrical Engineering
Bucknell University


In this fictional case study, the state of Oklahoma has profited by giving incentives for companies to build power plants in rural areas of the state. The "scrubbing" systems used to minimize air pollution create potentially hazardous solid waste. To contain this waste, an impoundment facility has been built on unsuitable land from which water-soluble toxins can leach into groundwater. Student teams design a prototype sensor capable of measuring dissolved oxygen and fluorescein dye in water in order to analyze the runoff from the impoundment facility for toxins. The case was developed for an undergraduate laboratory course in photonics for junior- and senior-level students.

  • To introduce students to practical optical measurements.
  • To introduce students to fundamental concepts in spectroscopy.
  • To have students design and build a fluorescence detection system.
Keywords: Sensors; light spectroscopy; dissolved oxygen measurement; fluorescence detection; water monitoring; wastewater
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Laboratory
Language: English
Subject Headings: Electrical Engineering   Physics   Physical Chemistry   Environmental Engineering  
Date Posted: 10/15/02
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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