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Zahid Amjad

Assistant Professor

Walsh University
A Catholic University of Distinction
2020 East Maple Street
North Canton, Ohio44720
United States

What Water Leaves Behind

What Water Leaves Behind

We rarely give it much thought, but water, and what is found in it, is the expertise of Walsh Visiting Professor Dr. Zahid Amjad. Walsh students in his lab have been researching what water often leaves behind…destructive deposits such as calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese salts. Left alone, these deposits eventually become tartar, kidney stones, deposits on fabric, scale formations on metal and build-up on hair.

“In water science, we are looking at two areas of research,” said Dr. Amjad. “Students are researching what kinds of impurities are in most water and how to remove and/or treat them. Impurities are either soluble, like calcium or magnesium, or insoluble, like clay or soil.”

His research students are receiving the direct benefit of his more than 30 year career, which includes research at Calgon Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA, and The Lubrizol Corporation in Ohio (formerly BFGoodrich Performance Materials). Dr. Amjad’s focus now is in the classroom where he is directing his student research team in understanding how water interacts with various minerals and impacts the quality of our life with the use of cosmetics, home cleaners, oral care, pharmaceuticals, and water treatment.

A part of the research is focused on the effects of a various surfactants when mixed with water. A surfactant is a surface active chemical and is the key component of dishwashing and laundry detergent, shampoo and household cleaning products. The purpose of a surfactant is to pull the dirt out, keep the dirt in the liquid and then guarantee it doesn’t go back onto the surface.

“In one instance, we are studying the impact of surfactants in preventing the deposition of calcium carbonate on fabric by ‘green’ additives. The process can then be applied to so many different applications, sometimes depending on an area of particular interest to a student,” said Dr. Amjad. “One student took the same process and studied the deposition of iron and manganese oxides on a bath-tub ring. We are researching the best way to keep the iron, copper, and manganese in a fine particle stage so that it will not settle.”

Dr. Amjad considers student input when it comes to research. Recently another student in his class with plans to attend dental school asked to study tartar formation and its effects on teeth. His aim is to investigate new ways to control the formation and prevention of the deposition of calcium phosphate and calcium fluoride salts on teeth.

“Calcium doesn’t differentiate between substrates. It will form insoluble salts with various anions and deposit wherever it can,” said Dr. Amjad. “Understanding what is in the water is important when you look at how much we rely on it in our daily lives. Consumers rarely take the time to consider the extensive research that has gone into guaranteeing products, such as laundry detergent, tooth paste, mouthwash, hard surface cleaners, etc., are effective. But they do notice when it doesn’t perform up to its promises! If the end result is cleaner laundry, then the scientists have done their job.”

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