October 01, 2008

LEWISBURG, Pa. — David Boger will give the talk, "Sustainability and the Resource Industries," on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gardner Lecture Hall of the Dana Engineering Building at Bucknell University.

A 1961 Bucknell graduate, Boger is Laureate Professor in the chemical and biomolecular engineering department of the University of Melbourne.

"A world-renowned researcher in fluid mechanics, Dr. Boger even has a group of special fluids that carry his name," said Richard McGinnis, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Bucknell.

"Boger fluids are perfect non-Newtonian fluids used in fields ranging from basic polymer and particulate fluid mechanics to applications in the minerals, coal, oil, food and polymer industries. Dr. Boger will explain how these fluids are being used to solve many environmental problems," he said.

Unprecedented boom
According to Boger, there is an unprecedented boom in the resource industries worldwide. Ironically this industry is the world's largest producer of waste. A single mine operating in the copper and oil industries can produce as much as 250,000 tons of waste per day that is pumped to a disposal area as a mixture of fine particles and water.

Boger's presentation will illustrate how basic science in rheology (the deformation and flow of materials) has been used to successfully minimize the waste produced in the alumina industry, moving that industry in particular toward more sustainable practices. Alumina is the main component of bauxite, the principal ore of aluminum.

Boger will discuss why other industries worldwide have not picked up the available technology as readily as the alumina industry. His presentation will conclude with particular attention directed toward regulation, accounting practices and public perception, including the belief that, in the future, industries will have to concentrate more on earning the right to operate.

Prime Minister's Prize for Science
Boger received the Australian Prime Minister's Prize for Science in 2005 for his pioneering work with fluid mechanics.

Water flows consistently until particles are added, changing it from a Newtonian fluid to a non-Newtonian fluid, when its flow becomes unpredictable. Using his non-Newtonian fluids, engineers in the alumina mining industry were able to reduce the volume of liquid waste in mineral slurry to save money and resources.

Boger worked with Alcoa to redesign their Kwinana alumina plant on a process that helped save the company $10 million a year. The technology has been transferred to many alumina plants around the world and has dramatically improved the environmental footprint of alumina production.

Boger fluids also contribute to the custom design of fluids: inks for inkjet printers that can be delivered onto paper in fine droplets; insecticide chemicals that spread evenly on leaves; and new drug delivery systems using microfluidics and nanotechnology.

Contact: Division of Communications

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