ATV riding in Dubai - December 2016

My interest in drinking water treatment began in my junior year in college. Like many of my peers, I was trying to figure out what career choices were available after graduation, particularly environmental engineering jobs in Dubai, UAE. Seawater is the only source of water in Dubai; therefore, I decided to explore and learn more about water desalination. I spent a year doing an independent study on reverse osmosis (RO) membranes, which included a literature review of RO as an alternative technology for desalination, membrane fouling agents and control strategies, and environmental impacts of RO. Additionally, I had to design an RO system using a RO design and simulation software. I was fascinated by how complicated water treatment was and how it required knowledge and application of engineering, chemistry, and biology. The following summer I received a Research Experience for Undergraduate Students award and used that opportunity to get some hands-on research experience in the lab. Since then, I've spent countless hours tackling interesting and challenging water treatment problems. 

I'm currently working on my PhD under the direction of Dr. James Amburgey. My topic is related to coagulation using aluminum sulfate. It came as a surprise when I learned in my first water treatment class that despite many decades of research and contributions by many researchers, we still relied on a trial and error process to identify optimum coagulation conditions. Developing a universal and practical model of coagulation has been a nearly impossible task because 1) water is a chemically complex medium that varies spatially and temporally 2) sheer number of interacting factor that affect performance of the coagulant. The focus of my study is to develop a general model for coagulation with aluminum sulfate that has practical applications. The goal is also to identify the parameters that control coagulation under various conditions and which would ultimately lead to a new understanding of the coagulation process.

Research Areas





Membrane Filtration





Computational Fluid Dynamics


Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering

UNC Charlotte - Fall 2010

Masters of Science in Civil Engineering

UNC Charlotte - Spring 2013

Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering

UNC Charlotte - Expected Spring 2020

© 2020 Amir Alansari. All rights reserved.