Ali Kılıç – Istanbul Technical University

Researcher Links Travel Grants Recipient 

Research Topic: nonwoven filter systems  

Millions of people suffer and die from waterborne diseases which could be prevented. Nonwoven filtrations can play a role in changing this, by providing effective, affordable and flexible solutions to the problems of water-borne health issues

I visited Leeds University in the UK between 12 May and 11 August 2015. I decided to make my research visit to Leeds University because the research group at Leeds is home to one of Europe’s largest and most prestigious groups of academics that specialise in nonwoven science and technology. 

The aim of my project was to use nonwoven material in filtration systems which would allow us to make filtering much more economical and sustainable. To understand the context and extent of this problem we needed to review the literature on filtration systems. With colleagues in Leeds University we performed a literature review to pinpoint the most significant problems in air and water filtration systems. Focusing on low income countries in general and Turkey in particular we observed that the most critical issue is the sterilisation of water. Nonwoven materials used in filtration systems could be the solution for Turkey to access clean water in a much more efficient and economical way. 

In Turkey, where water scarcity will be an important issue in the near future, there is a need to increase the quality of drinking water and considering that it already faces water shortages it is very important that the water at hand is used efficiently. In this respect, finding novel ways to decrease the cost of filtration is vital for countries such as Turkey. 

We know that every year millions of people in the developing world suffer from waterborne diseases and using nonwoven materials to enhance filtration could be a step forward in decreasing or eliminating these sorts of health hazards. It could also serve as a method of wastewater treatment and these waste water sources may become useable. 

By decreasing the burden on the health care system caused by water-borne diseases, the budget spent on treating these patients can be guided to other health issues causing problems in Turkey or the revenue spent treating patients with waterborne diseases could be used in other areas of development in Turkey. This project will enhance the wellbeing of the Turkish population by proving better quality water and will help the economic development of Turkey by reducing the spending on health issues.  

Once we have finalised our project the results will be disseminated through publications and scientific conferences. We have already presented our preliminary findings at the“Nonwovens Innovation Academy 2015 Conference” in Leeds, UK which took place between 5 and 6 November 2015. We have plans to make presentations about this specific research at various other conferences in the UK and Turkey. 

The opportunity to do research in the UK has been extremely valuable in building relationships with researchers. With colleagues at Leeds University we decided to work on proposals for the Institutional Links programme under the Newton-Katip Çelebi Fund. I think this will be a great chance for us to deepen our relationship and will serve to build connection beyond the individual and develop greater links between UK and Turkish institutions. 

The visit provided me with a unique chance to understand the research culture in the UK. I observed significant differences in the research approach in the UK and Turkey. The host institution concentrated on realistic ideas and feasible applications of nonwoven materials in different water and air filtration systems. I think this approach to science and research is very important and is an area that we need to improve in Turkey.  

Aside from my research work at the Leeds University, I had the chance to have some social time to get to know the city and go sightseeing. As a textile engineer it was very fascinating for me to visit a museum in Manchester where I got to see the textile machinery which played a significant role in the lead up to the industrial revolution.

The opportunity provided by the Newton – Katip Celebi Travel Grants Fund was very helpful in developing my career in general and my research project in particular. It has been a great experience, Thanks Newton-Katip Çeleb Fund!