Faculty members John Sabraw, foreground, and Guy Riefler, background, will discuss their process of turning sludge into paint pigments. Photo credit: Ashley Stottlemyer.
Can sludge be beautiful?
Guy Riefler, associate professor of civil engineering, has spent the past 10 years perfecting a process to treat acid mine drainage from abandoned mines. As these mines age, they discharge large quantities of harmful heavy metals into the streams of southeastern Ohio. But, simply mitigating the problem wasn’t enough for Riefler. In 2009 he partnered with John Sabraw, professor of art, to transform this regional pollution into beauty.
In their Science Café presentation at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5, Riefler and Sabraw will discuss acid mine drainage, how its effects might be mitigated, and the creation of art using pigments made from these heavy metals.
As part of the café, the audience will be invited to try their hand at making their own works of art using these pigments.
Science Cafés are part of Ohio University’s Café Series, Wednesdays at the Baker Center Front Room. The series provides a venue for students to informally share their interests during a conversational exchange with faculty presenters, staff and the Athens community. Free coffee is offered to the first 50 attendees, and participants who ask questions can win a free t-shirt.
The series is supported by the Ohio University Research Division and Sigma Xi.
Learn more! Watch the 1-minute Café Series video: