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Tanju Karanfil

Tanju KaranfilProfessor, EEES
Vice President for Research
Clemson University
230 Kappa Street

Ph.D. Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, 1995
M.S. Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, 1991
B.S. Environmental Engineering, Istanbul Technical University, 1988

Professional Registration
International Water Association Fellow
Professional Engineer, South Carolina, 2003, No. 23143
Board Certified Environmental Engineer, 2005, No. 04-10040

Classes | Publications | Honors | CV

Faculty Overview

Dr. Karanfil's primary teaching and research interests are in the fundamentals and applications of physicochemical processes in water, wastewater, and hazardous waste treatment systems. His research group is particularly interested in applying fundamentals of chemistry and engineering to address environmental challenges faced in practical applications, including both engineered and natural systems.

Dr. Karanfil has made significant scientific contributions (detailed below) in the areas of (i.) adsorption processes; (ii.) disinfection by-product formation; (iii.) wildfire impacts in water treatment; and (iv.) environmental treatment technologies:

(i) Adsorption Processes: Dr. Karanfil and his students have elucidated and advanced our understanding of the removal mechanisms of synthetic organic contaminants (SOCs) as well as natural organic matter by carbonaceous adsorbents (activated carbons, carbon fibers, carbon nanotubes, graphenes, ion exchange resins, microplastics). Dr. Karanfil has tailored sorbents for selective removal of target compounds from water and wastewaters. He has developed quantitative structure relationships for modeling SOC adsorption by carbon nanotubes, which opened a new area of research in literature. His publications from the adsorption work have been highly cited, indicating utilization by the scientific community. His work has guided the selection of sorbents and in designing and operating effective adsorbers and ion-exchange systems for water and wastewater treatment. He has developed and produced carbonaceous adsorbents, including their scale-up for commercial production, from agricultural waste products for their valorization and reuse. His recent work has also examined the adsorptive interactions of microplastics in the environment. Furthermore, his adsorption research documented the potentially negative environmental impacts of the release of carbon nanotubes in natural systems.

(ii) Disinfection by-product (DBP) formation: Dr. Karanfil’s research has focused mainly on the formation and control of both regulated and emerging DBPs that are known to form in water but are not yet regulated. His research on trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids, halonitromethanes, haloacetonitriles, iodotrihalomethanes, and nitrosamines revealed the factors (e.g., precursors, water chemistry, oxidant types, operational conditions) controlling their formation in drinking water, desalinated waters, wastewater effluents, as well as swimming pools. While studying the emerging DBPs, he has used a holistic approach to include the regulated DBPs and toxicological assessment to develop practical solutions for water utilities. The publications from the DBP research have also been highly cited in the literature, indicating their impact.

(iii) Wildfires impact on water quality: In recent years, Dr. Karanfil and his collaborators have also investigated the impacts of wildfires on water quality and treatability. He investigated the impacts of wildfires around the U.S. Furthermore, he and his research group have studied the impact of fire-control techniques (e.g., prescribed fires, mechanical testing) to control wildfires, which have been systematically investigated for the first time, and showed that some of these techniques can be viable for certain regions to minimize the negative impacts and risks of wildfires.

(iv) Development of novel environmental treatment technologies: Dr. Karanfil and his research group have also explored the use of nanobubbles in both natural and engineered systems. Further, he has investigated regeneration activated carbons and biosolids saturated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) using microwave and thermal regeneration techniques. He has conducted fundamental mechanistic studies of these processes as well as examined factors controlling their practical applications.

Dr. Karanfil's research group is particularly interested in applying fundamentals of chemistry and engineering to address environmental challenges faced in practical applications, including both engineered and natural systems.

Class Information

For current syllabi, please search the Clemson University Syllabus Repository.

EES 8030 Physicochemical Operations in Water and Wastewater Treatment Systems
EES 8050 Laboratory in Water and Wastewater Treatment Operations
EES 8060 Drinking Water Treatment Plant Design

Selected Publications

Ateia, M., Kanan, A. and Karanfil, T. “Microplastics Release Precursors of Chlorinated and Brominated Disinfection Byproducts in Water,” Chemosphere, 251, 126452 (2020).

Ateia, M., Zeng, T., Tharayil, N., Pilla, S. and Karanfil, T. “Sorption Behavior of Real Microplastics (MPs): Insights for Organic Micropollutants Adsorption on a Large Set of Well-Characterized MPs,” Science of the Total Environment, 720, 137634 (2020).

Apul, O.G., Khalid, A., Rowles, L.S. and Karanfil, T., Richardson, S.D. and Saleh, N.B. “Transformation Potential of 11-Nor-9-Carboxy-D9-Tetrahydrocannbinol During Its Passage Through Engineered Water Treatment Systems: A Perspective,” Environmental International, 137, 105586 (2020).

Park, M., Wu, S., Lopez, I.J. Chang, J.Y., Karanfil, T. and Snyder, S.A. “Adsorption of Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Groundwater by Granular Activated Carbons: Roles of Hydrophobicity of PFAS and Carbon Characteristics,” Water Research, 170, 115364 (2020).

Khalid, A., Rowles, L.S., Ateia, M., Xiao, M., Ramirez-Sanchez, I., Bello D., Karanfil, T., Saleh, N.B., and Apul, G. O. “Mesoporous Activated Carbon Shows Superior Adsorption Affinity for 11-Nor-9-Carboxy-D9-Tetrahydrocannbinol in Water,” Clean Water, 3, 2 (2020).

Ike, I., Karanfil, T., Ray ,S. Cho, J. and Hur, J. “A Critical and Comprehensive Review of Mathematical Models Developed for the Estimation of Organic Disinfection Byproducts,” Chemosphere, 246, 125797 (2020).

Majidzadeh, H., Uzun, H., Chen, H. Bao, S., Tsai, K-P., Karanfil, T. and Chow, A.T. “Hurricane Resulted in Releasing More Nitrogenous than Carbonaceous Disinfection Byproduct Precursors in Coastal Watersheds,” Science of the Total Environment, 705, 135783 (2020).

Beita-Sandi, W. and Karanfil, T. “Effect of Bromide on NDMA Formation during Chloramination of Model Precursor Compounds and Natural Waters,” Water Research, 170, 115323 (2020).

Soyluoglu, M., Ersan, M.S., Ateia, M. and Karanfil, T. “Removal of Bromide from Natural Waters: Bromide-Selective vs. Conventional Ion Exchange Resins,” Chemosphere, 238, 124583 (2020).

Ateia, M., Alsbaiee, A., Karanfil, T. and Dichtel, W. “Selective PFAS Removal by Amine-functionalized Sorbents: Critical Review of the Current Literature,” Environmental Science and Technology Letters, 6, 12, 688-695 (2019).

Awards & Honors

American Water Works Association, Membrane Treatment Best Paper Award (2014 & 2016)

Editorial Advisory Board, Journal of American Water Works Association (2008-2013)

American Water Works Association, Academic Achievement Award (2015, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007)

American Water Works Association South Carolina Section, Membership Award (2008-2009)

Clemson University, Board of Trustees Award for Faculty Excellence (2011, 2008, 2006, 2003, 2002)

Clemson University, College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, McQueen Quattlebaum Faculty Achievement Award (2005)

National Science Foundation, Early CAREER Award (2001)

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Ph.D. Fellowship, (1989-1992)