Photo from left: CHEMMAT’s Part 4 team – Swashna Lal, Tharushi Wijesinha, Dr Amar Auckaili, Michelle Lu, and Omar Mustafa


Regardless of restrictions from COVID-19  in 2020, our Part-4 students would have been able to adapt their projects accordingly to fulfil the academic requirements. These projects were completed as entirely experimental; this would not have been possible without the countless hours and overtime put in by the students. Complete dedication to the projects and extreme resilience was exhibited to produce good results in the limited period, while maintaining quality. Most importantly, the breadth and depth of the topics covered in their projects were exceptionally good to receive departmental and non-departmental awards.

The first project was led by Omar Mustafa and Michelle Lu and was awarded top P4P departmental award. Their project entitled “Thermal Energy Storage: An Innovative Heat Exchanger of Phase Change Materials”. The students (engineers by now) provided a detailed and concise report with a harmonious balance between experimental and simulation studies. They covered the success of cold thermal energy storage in several applications and identified the need for improved systems in the milk cooling application because of the new regulations. Overall, they demonstrated excellent capability in outlining the methodology, obstacles and ways of overcoming these barriers such that future students can easily understand and follow. CHEMMAT Professional Teaching Fellow, Dr Amar Auckaili commented on their work, “The students showed highly exceptional work that brought the lab unit much closer to commercialisation”.

The second project was led by Tharushi Wijesinha and Swashna Lal and was awarded IChemE prizes. Their project entitled “Comparison between LPM UV and Pulsed UV for the surface treatment of food”. They provided an exemplary report that has identified themes, integrated current debates and demonstrates clear evidence of a scholarly stance about the key drivers of UV-C. Although microbiology is a completely new field for them, however this did not hold her back as they sought out expertise from industry and PhD students to guide their method development. They took an initiative in developing strong relations with industry in particular Plant and Food Research as well as internationally with Xenon Corporation who provided outside expertise on experimentation techniques and equipment usage. Equipment limitations did not hold back this project from establishing comparable treatment conditions (intensity) between PL and LPM and it was great to see the involvement beyond the University. Amar commented “I am confident in the high calibre of work produced and can see that they have exceptional researching capability”.

The results produced in both projects are useful, defensible and potentially publishable but requires the incorporation of additional trials to prove statistical significance. Both projects were supervised by Dr Amar Auckaili and co-supervised by Prof Mohammed Farid.

– Written by CHEMMAT Professional Teaching Fellow, Dr Amar Auckaili

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