Volume 5 Issue 3 December 2006


Editorial Graphic: Our Authors by Location since June 2002



C. C. Chancey


American Journal of Undergraduate Research, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614 USA

Synthesis and Surfactant Studies of Dialkyl Dimethyl Quaternary Ammonium Bromide Formulations



Rocky Barney, Tony Stark, and Dru Delaet


Department of Physical Science, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah 84720 USA


Quaternary ammonium salts (otherwise known as quats) are commonly used active ingredients in biocide formulations used in the anti-microbial industry. Although quats have been established to be effective biocides, there are few studies investigating the maximization of biocidal efficacy in multiple component formulations using various carbon chain lengths. Reported here is the synthesis based on the Sn2 reaction of tertiary amines with alkyl bromide. Surfactant studies of the single and dual component systems were conducted, and the evaluation is explored.

Using Fly Ash for Removal of Hazardous Substances in Water: An Undergraduate Environmental Chemistry Research Project



Brianna Lambes and Shahrokh Ghaffari


Ohio University-Zanesville, Zanesville, OH 43701


Fly ash obtained from a coal burning power plant was used to separate dissolved component of unleaded fuel from water using column chromatography. The results of this study indicate complete removal of the unleaded fuel from water. Eluted water collected from fly ash packed column has no odor. A successful field test at a larger scale shows the real environmental benefit of using this approach for removal of environmentally hazardous materials.

A Characterization of Refinable Rational Functions


Authors and Affiliations:

Paul Gustafson
Department of Mathematics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-3368 USA

Nathan Savir
Department of Mathematics, Princeton University, Princeton New Jersey 08544-1000 USA

Ely Spears
Department of Mathematics, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 5000 Wabash Avenue, Terre Haute, Indiana 47803 USA


In recent decades, refinable functions have become increasingly popular due to their desirable properties in many applications. Rational functions, however, are not as well-behaved as some other classes of functions and have seemingly escaped notice in terms of refinability. The authors spent the summer of 2006 investigating the refinability of rational functions while attending a National Science Foundation funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program at Texas A & M University. Preliminary simplifications to the general case are presented in a chronological collection of lemmas. A complete characterization of refinable rational functions follows with an interesting connection to an open problem in number theory.

Phosphorus Sorption by Sediments from Wetlands in the Cedar River Watershed



Ann Schwemm, Renee Pasker, Maureen Clayton and Ed Brown


Environmental Programs, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0506 USA


Excess phosphorus can lead to eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems, which can indirectly cause many species to suffer due to lower oxygen levels. The intent of this project was to determine if wetlands draining agricultural soil in the Cedar River watershed are removing phosphorus prior to empting into a tributary of the Cedar River. To determine the fate and transport of phosphorus in the wetlands, the total phosphorus (TP) of both the water and sediments was measured, and the ability for sediments to remove phosphate was also determined. The TP in the water column in the wetlands varied temporally from 700 to 1700 μg/L. Dissolved inorganic phosphate (SRP) totals were usually less than 10% of the total P, with a modest spike observed after a rainfall event. The low levels of SRP in the water led to testing of the TP levels in sediments and TP sorption capabilities. The TP of the sediment varied spatially from 500-700 μg/gdw. Sediments from the tributary (Beaver Creek) had total phosphorus levels of about 500 μg/gdw and the inlet to the wetlands varied from 300-400 μg/gdw. Depending on sampling locations, maximum sorption for sediments from the main body of the wetland ranged from 2-9 mg/gdw. Sediments from both the tributary (Beaver Creek) and the inlet to the wetlands sorbed about 7 mg/gdw. The results suggest that sediments in the wetlands are not yet saturated with phosphorus and therefore, when aerobic, can prevent phosphorus transport to rivers and streams.