Erin Cullen

Modelling Nanoparticle Transport.

Nanoparticles are currently being used in many consumer products including tires, clothing and cosmetics. Eventually these items end up being landfilled and inevitably, nanoparticles will make their way into the subsurface. Where the nanoparticles will end up is uncertain and the health impacts of ingesting such particles are largely unknown. If nanoparticles migrate through the subsurface and are able to get into drinking water sources, this could pose a serious health risk for humans. A 1D finite element model is developed to describe laboratory experiments of nanoparticles moving through sand. The model is then scaled up to a 2D finite element model taking into account field scale variability to describe where nanoparticles might go if they are released to the subsurface.

Personal Background

Erin graduated from Western in 2006 with a Bachelor of Engineering Science in Civil/Environmental Engineering. Following graduation, Erin decided to return to Western where she is currently completeing a Masters in Civil/Environmental Engineering. After finishing her current degree, Erin hopes to gain employment in a field related to subsurface remediation.

Travel and Awards

  • February 2007 : Vale Inco Scholarship for Women in Engineering, Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation
  • July 2007 : John Booker Award, Geotechnical Research Centre, University of Western Ontario