Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Chemical Engineering

Program or Major

Chemical Engineering

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Jillian Goldfarb


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a human and environmental toxin introduced to the environment from the 1920’s to the 1970’s from manufacturing items such as transformers and capacitors. PCBs remain in the environment today due to their low water solubility and resistance to chemical reaction. Due to their properties PCBs bioaccumulate in the environment and pose health risks to animals and humans, as they are deemed a probable carcinogen by the EPA. Octanol-water partitioning coefficients are a means of measuring how PCBs will travel in the environment, either partitioning to water or into organic carbon. Octanol-water partitioning coefficients will be determined for individual congeners of PCB and for solutions of groups of PCB congeners to see if mixtures of PCBs behaved differently from groups of PCBS. Partitioning coefficients were experimentally determined for individual PCBs and groups of PCBs.