Assoc. Prof. Li ShuSchool of Engineering
Edith Cowan University
Speech Title: From looking for salt aggregates to discovering the structure of water
Abstract: Nanofiltration of dye wastewater with NaCl in it showed some abnormal phenomenon which led to the surprising conclusion that salt aggregated in both diluted and concentrated solutions. Many methods were investigated to prove the existence of salt aggregates in solutions. Meanwhile a new question arose, which was why did water not aggregate if salt could? A study was published on images of salt aggregates and water clusters. Salt aggregates were detected by a Nanosizer (Malvern) and water clusters were observed under a microscope. It was realized that water clusters were made up two phases, an inner gas phase and an outer layer liquid phase. The gas phase in water clusters can explain why water density decreases as temperature increases. An equation was established to describe the force balance inside a water cluster. Microscopy images also showed that water clusters have different diameters. Although the structure of water is understood there are more questions waiting to be answered.
Biography: Dr. Li Shu is one of the founders and a co-chair of the annual International Conference “Challenges in Environmental Science and Engineering” (CESE) since 2008. She is the General Manager of LJS Environment, an adjunct Associate Professor at Edith Cowan University, Australia and a Guest Professor at Shandong Normal University, China. She has more than 200 publications in forms of books, book chapters, journal papers and refereed conference papers. She obtained her PhD degree from the University of New South Wales, Sydney; Master’s degree from the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok; Bachelor’s degree from Qingdao University of Science and Technology, China.
She, with her students and colleagues, is the first to document images of water clusters under a microscope and published the paper titled “the structure of water” in 2020. Further, the research group reported that the pH of neutral salts was not 7 meaning they are corrosive. Dr. Li Shu proposed that strong electrolytes, such as NaCl, exist in water as aggregates in 2005. The concept has been supported using a Nanosizer (Malvern) since 2013.
Li Shu’s research interest is in water and wastewater treatment using membrane filtration; resource recovery and zero liquid discharge. She has taught water and wastewater systems to undergraduate and post graduate students.
She is an associate editor of Environmental Quality Management and an editorial board member of Austin Environmental Sciences and the SM Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering. She is a guest editor of numerous Journals: Bioresource Technology; Chemosphere; International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation; Process Safety and Environmental Protection; Environmental Science and Pollution Research; Desalination and Water Treatment; Water, Air and Soil Pollution: Focus; Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology; Membrane Water Treatment.