News: Energy and Environment

For undergraduates in the engineering school, summer often means a chance to apply their learning in new ways, whether conducting field research, working in industry or volunteering abroad. Last summer, with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting many of these plans, some students’ research projects took them in unexpected directions.
Shih’s thesis focused on specially formulated chain-like molecules called polymers that can help flush contaminants from hard-to-reach crevices in underground aquifers. How these polymers move through porous rocks to dislodge pollutants — and why they are more effective in some settings than in others — is not well understood.
Cleaning up groundwater is no small job, but a team of Princeton researchers is on a mission to make it simpler — using microscopic springs.