DR YANFUL'S research interests are in the general areas of geoenvironmental and geotechnical engineering. The main fields of expertise are barrier (cover and liner) design and fundamental understanding of soil/rock/mineral interactions with pollutants and aggressive fluids.
Dr. Yanful has been conducting applied research to develop innovative technologies for waste management for the mining industry in the last 13 years. His major contribution has been in the area of developing and optimizing soil cover designs for preventing or controlling acidic drainage in waste rock and tailings from mining and milling of metal and uranium ores. In the last three years, he has embarked on frontier research in the fundamental understanding of the environmental factors and processes involved in the flooding of sulphide-bearing mine tailings. An important focus has been the wind-induced resuspension of the flooded tailings and consequent oxidation and pollutant release. This research has received nearly $750,000 of funding from seven Canadian mining companies and NSERC. The research has involved seven graduate students and one postdoctoral fellow supervised either by Dr. Yanful and/or co-supervised by five other professors in the Faculty of Engineering. The work has generated some 15 technical articles over the last three years. The research will, in the long term, develop an innovative method for predicting the optimum depth of water cover necessary to prevent resuspension. The potential socio-economic impact is huge, as it would allow mining companies to select the appropriate height of dams for long-term tailings storage.
Over the years, Dr. Yanful has also undertaken research that has led to the development of innovative methods for measuring oxygen diffusion in soils, especially cover soils used for mitigating acid drainage in mine waste. Consulting companies and other researchers are currently using the methods. Present, the Geotechnical Research Centre also provides commercial soil testing services for clients using these methods.
Dr. Yanful’s research on barrier-fluid interactions has facilitated the design of waste containment ponds and the prediction of the long-term performance of such ponds. This work has included an investigation of the impact of acid mine drainage on the integrity of soil-bentonite liners and integrity of bentonite liner, as it interacts with industrial wastewater.
Current Research Interests
- Provision of safe water and international development.
- Removal of pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors in drinking water.
- Alternative and renewal energy including bio-fuel development and production from Jatropha curcas.
- Nanoparticles mobility and use of nanoparticles for As and Cr removal and other environmental applications.
- Unsaturated soil behaviour and applications to design of covers for landfills and sulphide waste.
- Coupled liquid flow, vapour diffusion and heat transfer in soils.
- Prediction, prevention and control of acid mine drainage.
- Wind-induced turbulence, oxygen transfer and particle resuspension in flooded sulphide mine tailings.
- Geochemical, biological and physical factors controlling metal release and transport in flooded tailings impoundments.
- Modelling of sediment-fluid interactions with applications to mine tailings ponds and lakes.
- Geotechnical behaviour of cohesive sediments and tailings.
- Clay barrier-permeant compatibility studies involving landfill leachate and acid mine drainage.
- Design of waste containment systems.
- Performance of barriers at both laboratory and field scales.
My Research Group
Supervised Postdoctoral Fellows
- Dr. K. Badv - Research Topic: Development of a pressure cell for measuring moisture retention and oxygen diffusion in soils. Completed 1995. Co-supervision with R.K. Rowe.
- Dr. M. Lin - Research Topic: Impact of climate and vegetation on engineered soil covers. Completed February 2000.
- Dr. S. Bahrami - Research Topic: Metal sorption/desorption using sol-gel containing PEI. Co-Supervision with A. Bassi, and J. Zhu. Completed 2002.
- Dr. Mustafa Samad - Research Topic: Resuspension of cohesive sediments. Completed 2005.
- Dr. Bruce Xu - Research Topic: Development of ANN algorithm for subsurface contaminant detection. Co-supervision with J. Shang. Completed 2006.
- Dr. Americo Cunha - Research Topic: Disaster Response Network Enabled Platform. Co-supervision with M. Capretz. Completed 2012.
- S. Chowdhury - Research Topic: Innovative technologies for metal removal from water. Completed 2015.
Supervised PhD Students
- M.A. Kashir - Thesis: Performance of slurry walls under acid mine drainage. Completed 1997.
- A. Verma - Thesis: Gas transfer and influence of resuspension on metal release in flooded mine tailings. Completed 1998.
- S. Bahrami - Thesis: Heavy metal removal using modified sol-gel powder matrix containing crude metallothionein. Co-supervision with A. Bassi (Chemical and Biochemical Engineering). Completed 2001.
- Y. Yang - Thesis: Wind-induced countercurrent flow in shallow water. Co-supervision with H. Hangan and A. Straatman (Mechanical and Materials Engineering. Completed 2001.
- P.H. Simms - Thesis: A fundamental study of unsaturated flow in compacted clayey soils. Completed March 2003.
- M. Haneef Mian. - Thesis: Erosion and resuspension of cohesive mine tailings. Completed 2004.
- C. Adu-Wusu - Thesis: Performance evaluation of engineered soil cover systems. Completed 2005. Currently Geotechnical Engineer with AMEC Earth & Environmental Ltd.
- E. M. Frempong - Thesis: Compatibility of tropical clayey soil liners with industrial and domestic leachates. Completed 2006.
- L. Holakoo - Thesis: Effect of copper on the performance of membrane bioreactor. Co-supervision with G. Nakhla and A. Bassi. Completed 2006.
- K. Renken - Thesis: Pilot study of soil-based cover systems for acid rock drainage mitigation. Co-supervision with D. Mchaina. Completed 2006.
- R. Gautam - Thesis: Investigation of microbial and enzymatic degradation of polyester urethane. Co-supervision with A. Bassi. Completed December, 2007.
- P.D. Baxter - Thesis: Experimental investigation of landfill gas emissions in high emission areas or “Hotspots". Completed December 2009.
- Q. (Jason) Song - Thesis: Physical and numerical modeling of preferential flow and oxygen diffusion in inclined multilayer soil covers over acid generating mine waste rock. Completed April 2010.
- A. Geremew - Thesis: Geotechnical behaviour of soft cohesive sediments under cyclic loading. Completed September 2010.
- S.M. Mousavi - Thesis: Thermo-hydro-mechanical analysis of evaporation from unsaturated soils. Co-Advisors: B. Gatmiri, H. El Naggar and A. Pak. In Progress.
- F. Amegashie - Thesis: Arsenic and chromium removal using nano zero-valent iron particles. In Progress.
- L. Kachhwal - Thesis: Evaluation of wind-wave-induced resuspension on the performance of a tailings storage facility. Completed 2011.
- R. Dimitrova -Thesis: Geotechnique, physico-chemical behaviour and a new erosion model for mine tailings under environmental loading. Completed September 2011.
- A. Tariq - Thesis: Synergistic and environmental benefits of using cement kiln dust with slag and flyash in cemented paste tailings. Completed May 2012.
- S. Chowdhury - Thesis: Application of iron oxides in subsurface remediation technologies. Completed 2012.
- D. Velasquez - Thesis: Soil Aquifer Treatment for wastewater reclamation in a high water demand society. Completed August, 2016.
- V. Reddy Kandlakuti - Thesis: Removal of target PPCPs from secondary effluent using AOPs and novel adsorbentst. Completed August, 2016.
- I. Hassan - Thesis: Electrokinetics-enhanced bioremediation of soils contaminated with heavy petroleum hydrocarbons. Co-supervision with E. Mohammedelhassan (Lakehead University). Completed April 2016.
- A. Atisha - Thesis: Identification, quantification and removal of endocrine-disrupting compounds from water using customized PDMS membranes. Completed January 27, 2017.
- M. Salman - Thesis: Design and performance evaluation of a laboratory aerobic bioreactor landfill. In Progress.
- A. Paintsil - Thesis: Fundamental processes in aerobic bioreactor landfills. In Progress.
- A. Abuhussein - Thesis: Wastewater refining for agriculture. In Progress.
Supervised MESc Students
- L-P Choo - Thesis: Evaluation of water flow in unsaturated soils for multi-layered mine waste covers. Completed 1996.
- C. Brown - Thesis: Seepage-induced consolidation of bentonite slurries during laboratory permeability/compatibility testing. Co-supervision with I.D. Moore. Completed 1996.
- P. MacKay - Thesis: Evaluation of oxygen diffusion in unsaturated soils. Co-supervision with R.K. Rowe. Completed 1997.
- P. H. Simms - Thesis: Engineered covers for reactive tailings management. Completed 1998.
- M. P. Orlandea - Thesis: Analysis of water quality data and experimental study of weathering products in mine waste rock. Completed 1998.
- J. Entsuah - Thesis: Compatibility of grouted rock with acid mine drainage. Completed 1998.
- J-M Pouliot - Thesis: Landfill leachate treatment using recycle bioreactors. Co-supervision with A. Bassi (Chemical and Biochemical Engineering). Completed 1999.
- C. Adu-Wusu - Thesis: Resuspension of flooded mine tailings at the field scale. Completed. 2000.
- M. Yang - Thesis: Evaporation from compacted soil covers under changing water table conditions. Completed 2000.
- R. Gautam - Thesis: Oxidation and metal release kinetics in reactive mine tailings. Completed 2001.
- V. Peacey - Thesis: Engineered water covers for reactive mine waste management. Completed 2002.
- C. Bennett - Thesis: Investigation of tailings resuspension under a shallow water cover. Completed 2002.
- T. Ahn - Thesis: Development of resistivity probe for subsurface contaminant monitoring. Co-supervision with E. Allouche. Completed 2003.
- M. Z. Islam - Thesis: A study of heavy metal leaching from cement-stabilized waste. Co-supervision with L.J.J. Catalan (Lakehead University). Completed 2003.
- Y. Zheng - Thesis: Experimental study of polyurethane biodegradation using Pseudomonas Chlororaphis. Co-supervision with A. Bassi. Completed 2004.
- M. Williams - Thesis: Effect of freeze-thaw and wet-dry cycles on compacted soil barriers. Completed 2004.
- O. Oharriz - Thesis: Methane consumption by methanotrophic bacteria in two soils. Completed 2006.
- S. Chowdhury - Thesis: Removal of arsenic and chromium from water using magnetite nanoparticles. Completed 2008.
- C. Baroi - Thesis: Biodiesel production from Jatropha Curcas oil. Co-supervision with M. Bergougnou. Completed 2008.
- F. Rahman - Thesis: Use of advanced technologies for the removal of pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors from drinking water. Co-supervision with Dr. S. Jasim, Walkerton Clean Water Centre, Walkerton, Ontario. Completed 2008.
- E. Cullen - Thesis: Simulation of field scale transport of carbon based nanoparticles in the subsurface. Co-supervision with D. O'Carroll. Completed 2009.
- R. Ofori - Thesis: Carbon isotope fractionation as an indicator of methanotrophic activityh in a landfill biocover. Completed 2011.
- F. Fatama - Thesis: UV based advanced oxidation process for the removal of ibuprofen and naproxen from selected water matrices. Completed 2011.
- A. Shypanski - Thesis: Activated carbon as a decentralized treatment method for the removal of pharmaceutically active compounds. Completed 2011.
- S. Karimi - Thesis: Change in pore size distribution of compacted soil layers and its effect on solute breakthrough curves. Completed January 2013.
- A. Paintsil - Thesis: Optimization of the transesterification stage of biodiesel production using statistical methods. Completed October 2013.
- M. Addai - Thesis: Removal and recovery of heavy metals by Ni Smelter Slag. Completed January 2014.
- A. Miqdadi - Thesis: Removal of ibuprofen and acetaminophen from drinking water using advanced oxidation. In Progress.
- T. Vattaso - Thesis: Microbial community dynamics during biostimulation of oil refinery soils. Co-supervision with Dr. S. Barghi. Completed 2014.
- G. Kumordzi - Thesis: Solar photocatalytic reduction of Zn2+ using graphene-based TiO2 composite catalyst for application to CSO treatment. Co-supervision with A. Ray. Completd April 2015.
Recent Supervised MEng Project Students
- O. Ugochukwu. Electrokinetic bioremediation of pyrene contaminated soil. Completed April 2015.
- W. Sun. Removal of nitrate from wastewater secondary effluent using soil-aquifer treatment. Completed April, 2015.
Other Research Students
- B. Biney - Thesis: Arsenic mineralogy, geochemistry and mitigation using nanotechnology, AGA Obuasi, Ghana. (M.Phil exchange student from University of Mines and Technology, Ghana. Co-supervision with E.K. Asiam). Completed.
- K. Maggisano - Thesis: Bisphenol-A in water treatment plant effluents and human urine samples from southwestern Ontario: A clinical study of correlation with pediatric endocrine disorders. (Combined Environmental Engineering and Medicine Student). In Progress. Co-supervision with G. Koren. Completed.
- A. Miqdadi - Thesis: Removal of arsenic from tailings effluents using nanotechnology. (Senior Undergraduate Student). Completed.
- S. Martinez Escobar - Thesis: Providing a sustainable water supply solution for a rural village in the central region of Ghana. (Senior Undergraduate Student). In Progress.
Opportunities In My Research Group
Professor Yanful is working on a number of projects that interface between geotechnical engineering, fluid mechanics and environmental engineering. All projects involve industrial and international collaboration. There are immediate openings for master's and doctoral students with background and interest in (1) Water refining for reuse in domestic, municipal and industrial applications; and (2) Physical modelling of the effect of climatic change on compacted clays and geo-barriers in the Biotron. Financial support for these projects is available.
In addition, there may be openings in 2016 for one master's student and one doctoral student with background and interest in (1) Water refining for reuse in domestic, municipal and industrial applications; and (2) Physical modelling of the effect of climatic change on compacted clays and geo-barriers in the Biotron. Financial support is available.