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Grad Gab Volume 2, Issue 1. Jan 2011

Department of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering - Graduate Student Newsletter

Scholarship Awardees Research Breakthroughs Alumni ‘s Feedback Rendezvous with Dr. Mita Ray CGS Activities Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering The University of Western Ontario London, Ontario., .Canada.


GRAD GAB CHEMICAL ENGINEERING GRADUATE SOCIETY Volume 2, Winter 2011.

Grad Gab

Dr.Jesse Zhu’s Message

Dr.Jesse Zhu Associate Chair (Graduate) Department of Chemical and biochemical Engineering, The University of Western Ontario,

I am very pleased to see the second issue of our new graduate student Newsletter. This Newsletter has brought us closer with lots of information to share. My special thanks to the Editors of the Newsletter and the CBE Graduate Student Committee. I would also like to use this opportunity to welcome our new graduate students into our program. Our graduate program at the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering is one of the strongest in the university, thanks to the excellent research initiatives in our professors, excellent research infrastructure and strong commitments from our graduate students. In the past 10 years, our program has doubled, from 50-60 graduate students to close to 135 graduate students currently. We have also seen a dramatic expansion of our research and office space and research facilities. The Thompson Engineering Build-

ing was completed in 2003 and the 40-year old "temporary" Bioengineering Building (I used to call it the "permanent temporary building") was finally gone by 2008 and was replaced by the state-of-the-art LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold certified new Claudette MacKayLassonde Pavilion (CMLP) - the "Green Building". It is the second building in London to achieve LEED Gold status, the first building on Western's campus. Among all these changes, you as our students are our most important asset and we will continue to count on you to further excel with our Graduate Program. As indicated by our department chair, Dr. Ajay K. Ray, in his letter published in the last issue, we are trying to revamp the graduate degree program requirements, course requirements, course structure, as well as to re -design the various administrative forms etc. All these are now included in the new Graduate Student handbook. So far, we have streamlined the TA assignment procedure, overhauled the PhD comprehensive examination structure. The new list of courses was also officially started by September, 2010. I do hope that you have felt the positive impact of those new changes. Currently and in the near future, we will also be working on the various

forms, from registration to proposed program and to the various progress report forms. We also plan to develop some timelines that the students and supervisors can follow, where we will try to list all the requirements, attached with time points, so that people do not always have to look all over the place to find out rules and regulations. My goal is to make your graduate experience as an enjoyable one, as much as possible, and one goal is to make all procedures more user friendly and helpful to our students.

Chemical Engineering Graduate Society Officers 

PRESIDENT—HARPREET KAUR

SECRETARY—NILLOHIT MITRA RAY

WEBSITE EDITOR—KAI PISTERS

NEWSLETTER EDITOR— PANKAJ CHOWDHURY

VP SOCIALS— JEFFREY GRIBBON

For the above effort, we also  VP SPORTS—RAVI BALGOBIN need your help: your feedbacks and suggestions. Please feel free  PUBLIC RELATIONS— t o s e n d m e a n e m a i l MITHUN SAHA (zhu@uwo.ca) or drop in to my office (TEB 453), to let me know any concerns, problems, and suggestions that you may have. As the Associate Chair (Graduate), I Executive Team am your faculty advisor (note that the faculty advisor for  KRUPAL PAL M.Eng. student is Dr. Barghi) We are here to serve you, and serve  MUMIN ABDUL you better.  MOHAMMAD LATIFI 

WEN SHI

LIN WANG


GRAD GAB Graduate Student News Letter Scholarship Recipients - 2010 We at CGS would like to acknowledge the hard work of all our scholarship recipients. Kudos to all. We are proud of you.

NSERC CGSD recipient Mr. Jahirul Mazhumder PhD Candidate Supervisor: Dr. Hugo deLasa Research Area: “Catalytic Biomass Gasification”

NSERC PGSD recipient Mr. Pankaj Chowdhury PhD Candidate Supervisors: Dr. Ajay Ray & Dr. Hassan Gomaa Research Area: Dye-sensitized photocatalysis for hydrogen production

NSERC M recipient Mr. Darcy Small M.E.Sc. Candidate Supervisor: Wankei Wan; Co-supervisor Norman PA Huner Research Area: Micro-algal biotechnology

OGS ST recipients Mr. Vivek Nagendra M.E.Sc. Candidate Supervisor: Dr. Lars Rehmann Research Area: Removal of inhibitory compounds from renewable feedstocks for bio-butanol fermentation.

Scholarships & Awards Vanier Graduate Scholarship

Mr. Mehran Andalib

Supervisors :Dr. George Nakhla & Dr.Jesse Zhu Research Area : High rate biological nutrient removal from municipal and industrial wastewater

Value & Duration : $50,000 per year for three years Deadline for universities to submit nominations : October 20th, 2010 Application process and instructions : http://www.vanier.gc.ca/processprocessus-eng.shtml

OGS Recipients Mr. Mathew Klass M.E.Sc. Candidate Supervisor: Dr. Cedric Briens, and Dr. Franco Berruti. Research Area: Pyrolysis of biomass creating biofuels

 Ontario Graduate Scholarship

Value & Duration : $5000 per term up to a maximum of $15000 Deadline : November 17th 2010 Application Process and Instructions: https://osap.gov.on.ca/OSAPPortal/ en/A-ZListofAid/TCONT003465.html  NSERC

Ms. Lisa Rogers MESc Candidate Supervisor: Dr. Kibret Mequanint Research Area: Tissue Engineering (project focuses on scaffold fabrication)

MITACS Post Doctoral Fellow Dr. Quan He Superivisors: Dr.Jesse Zhu Research Area: Development of multifunctional nanocomposites for tandem reaction catalysis

Value & Duration: Varies with NSERC program Deadline : October 15 2010 Application process and instructions: http://www.nserccrsng.gc.ca/Students-Etudiants/PGCS/BellandPostgradBelletSuperieures_eng.asp  MITACS Postdoctoral Fellow-

ship

Value and Duration : $7500 per month for 4 month term Deadline : on-going Application process : www.mitacs.ca

Graduating Class of 2010 Doctorates

Nermen Maximous

M. E.Sc. graduates

M. Eng graduates

Babak S Laghaie

Quan He

Qi Miao

Gureet Chadhok

Julian Dias

Jasmin Sanchez

Behnaz Hojjati

Md. Sayem Mozumder

Rajib Roy Chowdhury

Allan Dlugan

Juan Vizcarra

Md. Ashraful Islam

Kalin Penev

Sameer-Al-Ghamdi

Babak Bakhitri

Jun Zheng

Tarek Jamaleddine

Alpesh Patel

Md. Abdul Mumin

Angel Nakevski

Jahangir Khaled

Milana Trifkovic

Pegah Saremi Rad

Garret Book

Dongbing Li

Jing Xu

Omid Farhangi

Bhavik Manocha

Ran Xu

Adam Kwajafa

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GRAD GAB

LISA ROGERS

FEDERICO BERUTTI QUAN HE (Sophia)

VIVEK NAGENDRA

PANKAJ CHOWDHURY Page 4

MATTHEW KLAAS

JAHIRUL MAZUMDER

MEHRAN ANDALIB

DARCY SMALL


Grad Gab NSERC Vanier Recipient — Mr. Federico Berutti

Vice President, Agri Therm Inc PhD Candidate (2013), ICFAR ,UWO Recipient of NSERC Vanier Scholarship Avid Musician, Tennis and Soccer Player

ML: Hello Federico. As the first question, why did you choose Engineering and in particular Chemical Engineering? Why did you choose Western? FB: Hi! From when I was quite young I loved learning and understanding physical concepts and science – building model airplanes and boats, and improving them – I knew that engineering was for me! Chemical engineering was of particular interest to me once in University, as we are living in a time of dramatic change in the petrochemical and energy industry, due to global climate change and the economics of fossil fuels. As a result, I was interested in researching green chemicals and fuels as viable alternatives to meet the product and energy needs in the world, in a much more environmentally friendly manner. Of all the Universities in Canada, I chose Western because of the combined degree options and also the great student experience that I had heard of – in addition, Western offered me the G.E. Hall National Entrance Scholarship, which truly made Western a choice I couldn’t refuse!

by M.Latifi

ML : Glad to have you at Western. How did you hear about the Vanier CGS scholarship? FB : My supervisor, Dr. Cedric Briens, heard about the Vanier CGS after it was created a few years ago and recommended to me to continue to work hard and to continue pursuing all my extra-curricular and leadership efforts in order to be a great candidate for it for when I begin my PhD. So I did, and it truly worked out for the better! Thanks to Dr. Briens for all the help and support! I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my parents for their incredible love and support always, as well as all my friends (you know who you all are!). I am very lucky to have such an incredible support network behind the scenes to help me work hard and achieve my goals.

ML :What is the subject of your thesis? FB: I am studying Bio-Oil and Bio-Char production from Fast-Pyrolysis in Bubbling Fluidized Bed reactors – within this subject, I am studying novel feeding technologies, special fast-separation and quenching systems for this process, and new heat transfer enhancement techniques, along with all of their effects on the fluidized bed reactor stability, mixing, and entrainment. In other words, I’m researching the production of special chemicals and bio-fuels from biomass byproducts and residues – and how to make this process as efficient and intensified as possible. The spin-off company AgriTherm Inc. is very related to this subject – as we are developing a mobile pyrolysis reactor system for the production of biooil and bio-char from various feedstock around the world.

ML : Heartiest Congratulations! Hard work does pay off. Would you like to share details of the scholarship with us and also tell us about your previous scholarships? FB: Thank you! It is truly a huge honor for me to have received this award and recognition and I will continue to work hard to make the most of NSERC’s great support for this 3 year scholarship. Previously, in my first year of Graduate school, NSERC also supported me with the CGS-M. During Undergraduate, on top of my Western National Scholarship, I worked very hard and was fortunate to be recognized by some other awards within Engineering and by a few for my student leadership and extra-curricular work, recognized by the University Student Council (USC Student Award of Merit). The Vanier CGS does not cover my research expenses, but I was successful in applying for the NSERC Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement which helped to cover my research and travel expenses for my current research project in Spain.

ML: Federico, compared to other schools in the North America and in particular in Canada, what is your idea about the graduate studies in the department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Western? FB: I think that Western in general is excellent in teaching and quality among the research intensive Universities, and clearly has demonstrated to offer one the best student experiences – particularly the Graduate program in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering! The facilities are great, the professors and staff are impressive, helpful, and welcoming, the teaching is good, with small class sizes, and the courses offered cover a large variety of topics (and the number of topics continues to grow!). Funding options are also very attractive at Western – and we certainly have world-class research lab facilities and equipment, which we shouldn’t take for granted! Overall, I definitely recommend Graduate school at Western! ML: Federico! Thanks a lot for accepting to have this interview and for your interesting responses. Page 5


GRAD GAB Graduate Student News Letter Alumni Feedback-Bashar Hadi I graduated from Western in 2009. My specialization is Electrical Capacitance Tomography (ECT), fluidized beds, non-invasive measuring techniques. I would like to share my experience of research at the department. Research comes with the package of challenges and hard work. My research topic was a cutting-edge one, where my objective was to improve the accuracy of a non-invasive measuring technique, i.e., ECT. Understanding ECT is greatly related to a pure electrical engineering topic, dielectric behavior. Therefore, in order to develop the measuring method to give accurate quantitative results, a comprehensive knowledge about the topic and all the affecting parameters

were required. For me, it was a challenge that I faced and managed to understand first, and then, develop the method, which improves the accuracy of ECT. After graduating from Western I did my post-doctoral research period at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands from March 2009-Sept 2010. During that period, I was actively involved in two research projects. The first projects dealt with the structuring of hydrodynamics in a fluidized bed using gas pulsation and an immersed fractal injector (secondary gas injection). The second project focused on the development of an innovative photocatalytic method using TiO2 to remove

harmful organic pollutants from drinking water. Currently, I am actively searching for a job in Edmonton, Alberta. My message to the recent graduates is always have self-confidence about your ability and skills, since the first step to pass any exam is to believe that you can do it. Always try to have a good time management for your work. Managing your time effectively is crucial in research with multi-task work. Finally, make a good plan to reach for your goals. A thousand-mile trip starts with a step!

Alumni Feedback - Pooneh Karimi Thank you CGS for giving me the opportunity to share my experience with the students at CBE students at UWO. I did my Masters in 2009 with Dr. Kibret Mequanint. Personally I am still finding it difficult to find a job. So far I haven’t received much support from the alumnus and professors. There is no strong platform wherein I can communicate with alumni and professors. Everywhere I go they need someone with Canadian experience! Personally I feel it does not make sense though, as we have to start from some where to get that experience and that “somewhere” should

ideally begin with your graduation. I believe there should be a support team for alumni to help students who graduate and don’t have any clue where to start. I wish CGS and the current grad students best of luck. I am sure this effort is definitely going to reduce the hardship of the new graduates in finding jobs and making a successful career path. The communication gap will be decreased between students, alumni and professors.

Alumni : Where Can We Reach You? Name Spouse’s Name Children’s name(s) Address & Postal Code City, Province Phone Company or Graduate School Position/Title Salary (Optional) UPDATES FOR OUR NEXT NEWSLETTER Email us at cgs.western@gmail.com Page 6

“A THOUSAND MILE TRIP STARTS WITH A STEP!”


Grad Gab Alumni Feedback - Milana Trifkovic I graduated from western in the year 2010, following the research work in the thesis topic: Advanced control and optimization of chemical processes: crystallization and extrusion. The experience at Western is definitely more than one and here I wanted to share it with the current grad students.

I was also given the unique opportunity to teach two undergraduate courses during my PhD studies, and found it one of the most rewarding experiences. As opposed to research, teaching is an instant feedback process. Every lecture is a story itself, and you know by just looking at students' faces if you succeeded at it or not.

recently started my NSERC Postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota.

Winding up the experiences as an alumina I would also like to give some suggestions to the current grad students: Try to always keep a big picture in your mind; don't get stuck on a detail. I am not trying to say that details in research are My research project allowed me not important, but you cannot possibly to get insights and implement real time Last, but certainly not the least, I know all the details. Also, try to get incontrol strategies on two fundamentally had a chance to be involved in various volved in extracurricular activities; develvery different processes (crystallization organizing committees and work with oping interpersonal skills is probably just of pharmaceuticals and polymer extru- some great people, profs and students, as important as your research. Wishing sion). The second project was an industri- and learn a lot from them. you all the best with your career! ally sponsored project, and gave me the Research comes in a package of opportunity to gain more realistic picture hard work and challenges. To me given of research outside of academic settings. all these above mentioned activities, time I was very lucky to have state-of-the-art management is definitely one of the first equipment for online process monitoring ones that come to my mind. The second in our lab at UWO, which allowed us to challenge was satisfying more than one do some novel things in area optimal supervisor, at which I have to admit, I control of crystallization and publish our failed more than one time. With successwork in very good journals. fully graduating from western I have

Experience of a Visiting Graduate Student - Karen Schwab I am currently a diploma student in the program biochemical engineering of the University of Stuttgart. The system at German Universities is a little different, but a German “Diploma” is the same qualification as you can get with a master degree. The German students also have to write a thesis about their research projects, in comparison to Canadian students they have to finish the coursework and all exams first before they start with the diploma thesis. This enables us to go to another University for approximately 6 months.

to Canada. First of all, I always enjoyed the low student professor ratio at the UWO and the fact that every professor has only a few students. In Germany, the students do hardly ever speak to their professors, for questions or advice for their work or for exams they do ask research assistants in the department.

As a visiting graduate student I didn’t pay student fees but I also didn’t get the benefits normal UWO students get provided with, such as free bus pass, free gym membership and so on and I had no coursework. In comparison German students as well as all foreign students pay only marginal student fees (approximately 700 CAN/6 months) at German Universities. This sounds positive at the first place but to get funding as a grad student is almost impossible.

Furthermore, it was a new experience for me that grad-students in North America -depending on the fundFinally I wish all grad-students ing of their professor- do have the possiof the UWO successes with their research bility to present their work at conferproject and for their future endeavors. ences. The experience to present and It is self-evident that a stay in a defend a project in front of a profesforeign University especially in an English sional audience prepares the student for speaking country has few major benefits. upcoming situations as a member of a It was hard work to adapt to a new sys- research group in a company or as Ph.D tem at the University and a new country, student. Unfortunately students in Gerand to live with the resulting pressure to many rarely or never have this possibildo your work within a 6 months deadline, ity. Page 7 but I never regretted my decision to go


Grad Gab Research Breakthrough - Jèsus Moreira del Rio

Ph.D Candidate Supervisor : Prof. Hugo de Lasa Area of Interest : Water pollution abatement

My research involves the development of a new photo-catalysts based on TiO2, and it also involves the development of a mathematical model of kinetics and radiation in photocatalytic reactors. I recently published a paper on radiation modeling in the “Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research” journal. The same material has been presented in two prestigious international conferences: ISCRE 21 and 10 annual AIChE meeting, both as oral presentations. Photocatalytic processes make use of semiconductor metal oxides as catalysts that after being radiated with light of sufficient energy, an electron from the valence band is promoted to the conduction band and e-/h+ pairs are formed. The e-/h+ pairs generate the OH• radical which is responsible for the oxidation of the organic contaminants in water. There are different reactor configurations that can be used in photocatalytic studies. Nonetheless, slurry photoreactor systems have shown the largest photocatalytic activity when compared to

photocatalytic reactors with immobilized catalyst. The radiation field inside photocatalytic reactors could be predicted by solving the Radiative Transfer Equation (RTE), see Eq. below. From the solution of the RTE, the local volumetric rate of energy absorption (LVREA) can also be obtained. This LVREA is an important parameter in photocatalytic reactor design, in energy efficiency assessments, and in kinetic studies of photocatalytic reactions in scattering

best fit the experimental data. The optimization technique is demonstrated by finding the absorption and scattering coefficients that best fit the experimental values from the macroscopic balance with an objective function minimizing the least-squared error for the LVREA and transmitted radiation. The main contribution of our study is that the proposed approach is a general one, not being restricted to reactors of concentric geometry or/and specific semiconductors. In addition, the methodology developed simplifies the design of reactors as the optical coefficients are easily obtained.

absorption dI (s, ) 1     I  (s, )   I  (s, )    p  I  (s, )d ds 4 4 out scattering

In energy efficiency assessment, the LVREA is found experimentally by using many different techniques. Some studies have also shown a combination of an experimental data and a partial solution of the RTE equation. Our research group have proposed an alternative approach in finding the LVREA and the absorption and scattering coefficients for three different TiO2 catalyst suspensions inside an annular photocatalytic reactor. First, the LVREA and the transmitted radiation throughout the reactor is evaluated by using a macroscopic radiation balance, and then, a Monte Carlo method is applied along with an optimization tool to find the absorption and scattering coefficients that

Research Breakthrough - Mehran Andalib

Ph.D Candidate Superivsors: Dr. George Nakhla & Dr. Jesse Zhu Area of interest : Twin circulating fluidized bed reactor

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technology, showed promising results with 98% COD and 87% nitrogen and 50% phosphorus removal from municipal wastewater with HRT of less than 2hr. AF-CFBBR was developed particularly for high strength industrial wastewater such as food processing waste and brewery and winery waste. AF-CFBBR demonaforementioned strated 98% COD and 85% nitrogen removal when oper-

I am working on high rate biological nutrient removal from municipal and industrial wastewater using a patented system called Twin Circulating Fluidized Bed Bioreactor (TCFBBR) as well as a newly developed system called anaerobic fluidized bed-CFBBR (AF-CFBBR). The

ating under OLR of 35 kg COD/m3.d and NLR of 1.1 kg N/m3.d. The side product of the system was methane and the overall HRT of this system was 12 hr much lower than other technologies for biological nutrient removal. PMID : 21075620


Grad Gab Research Breakthrough - Muhammad B. L. Chowdhury

Ph.D Candidate Supervisor : Prof. Paul Charpentier Area of Interest : Nanofibres

Recently we have synthesized for the first time, high surface area alumina nanofibers aluminum isopropoxide monomer with acetic acid as the polycondensation agent in the green solvent, supercritical carbon dioxide. This process uses no environmentally hazardous organic solvent, surfactant, chelating agent, or other additives. High surface area alumina, that is, Al2O3, has a diversity of applications due to its high thermal, chemical, and mechanical stability. These applications include catalysis, catalyst supports, and adsorptive materials for various separation processes. In the form of fibers, alumina can be used for reinforcing plastics as a grinding or polishing material, tissue engineering, or filtration of viral aerosols. As with many other metal oxide materials, researchers are exploring a variety of techniques on how to prepare nanofibrous alumina materials with high surface areas for the many emerging applications.

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The most common strategies for synthesizing such materials include surfactant templates and hydrothermal or solvothermal processes. The synthesis of nanostructured materials is generally conducted in aqueous or aqueous−organic solvents to disperse reactants where water is used for hydrolysis. To control the hydrolysis and condensation rates of alumina precursors by direct use of water, complex solvent mixtures or chelating agents are required. However, using organic solvents and additives are considered as environmentally hazardous. Moreover, the surfactant removal process requires heat treatment, which may lead to collapse of the nanostructure.

sol−gel reaction at low temperatures in supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) was tuned by pressure, concentration and temperature for synthesizing desired oxide nanomaterials. In situ water played a key role for hydrolysis. The graphical synthesis procedure of alumina nao fibers are given below. The nano fibers with high aspect ratios were found to be thermally stable even after calcining at up to 1050 °C.

Publication : Supercritical CO2 is an attractive alternative to conventional organic solvents due to its unique features of tunable physical properties and environmental benignness. Carbon dioxide is inexpensive, environmentally benign, and nonflammable with low viscosity, “zero” surface tension, and high diffusivity in supercritical condition, that is favorable for synthesizing superior ultrafine and uniform nanomaterials. Direct

"One-Pot Procedure to Synthesize High Surface Area Alumina Nanofibers Using Supercritical Carbon Dioxide" Langmuir, 2010, 26 (4), pp 2707–2713


Grad Gab Research Breakthrough - Karen Schwab

Visiting Grad Student Superivsor : Dr.Lars Rehmann Area of interest : 2nd Generation Biofuels

The resource requirements of the industrialized world with a growing number of more than 700 million motor vehicles are constantly increasing. Carbon dioxide emissions, their link to global climate changes, and depleting fossil fuel reserves add to a growing worldwide interest in the production of biomass derived fuels. Fermentative conversion of starches from corn or sugarcane to ethanol via microorganism such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Zymomonas mobilis is one possibility to produce bio-fuels. To avoid competition with food-crops and the usage of highly intensity agriculture effective methods of fermenting lignocellulosic biomass are required. The carbohydrate

fraction in lignocellulosic biomass is not easily accessible and it sequestration for microbial conversion requires energy intensive pretreatment. Pyrolyis can be used as a thermochemical method to convert biomass to bio-oil, a complex organic liquid. A by-product of the pyrolysis process, the aqueous phase, can contains up to 10% (w/w) of fermentable sugars, but also a complex assortment of inhibitory components such as various phenols, furfural and furfuryl alcohol. These components prevent the direct use of the aqueous phase as fermentation feedstock and also vary substantially in their composition based on the biomass source. The composition of a well defined and representative synthetic bio-oil aqueous phase was proposed in this work, based on an extensive literature review, in order to systematically investigate the effects of inhibitory compounds on cell growth and ethanol production in a reproducible system. A high throughput biological growth assay based on online optical density measurements was subsequently developed. Growth curve profiles, final cell density and specific growth rates were obtained

through this assay for a large number of growth conditions. The assay was used to determine the conditions required to detoxify the synthetic aqueous phase. A low cost polymeric sorption system was proposed for detoxification. Therefore, the partition coefficient and sorption capacities of various recycle polymers, such as nylon from textiles, for the removal of the inhibitory furfural, furfuryl alcohol and phenols were determined. A rational polymer selection was undertaken based on the partitioning data. Synthetic aqueous phase, as well the aqueous phase of pyrolysis oil from corn cobs, could be de-toxified with the selected polymer and used a a growth substrate for Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Zymomonas mobilis, thereby potentially providing a new feedstock for the production of bio-ethanol, based on waste-materials. Karen Schwab is a Diploma Thesis student at Institute of Biochemical Engineering, University Stuttgart, Germany. She was a visiting graduate student at UWO.

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Grad Gab Research Breakthrough - Saad Aldin change although the ultimate methane produced was approximately the same despite the change in specific surface area. A mathematical relationship between the hydrolysis rate coefficient and specific surface area was developed and a new hydrolysis equation was proposed and verified. This work was submitted to the journal of Bioresource Technology, 2010. Ultrasound treatment of wastePhD Canddiate water sludges prior to anaerobic digesSupervisors :Dr.George Nakhla, Dr.Mita Ray tion disrupts the flocs and causes lysis of Area of interest: : Modeling Anaerobic digesthe bacterial cells releasing both inter tion and intracellular materials. Primary, waste activated sludge and hog manure The research specifically examines were treated with different ultrasonic the effect of particle size on the hydrolysis of intensities, varying sonication time and municipal primary and secondary sludges amplitude at a constant frequency. Reand anaerobic sludge biodegradability. The sults showed that gas production, volatile aim is to develop an integrated mathematical fatty acids, ratio of soluble chemical model that describes the effect of particle oxygen demand to total chemical oxysize on the anaerobic hydrolysis rate coeffi- gen demand and soluble protein incient process, as well as its overall impact on creased, while particulate protein and the anaerobic digestion process. Primarily this particle size of the sludge decreased can be done by the reduction of particle size with sonication time. An empirical model through pre-treatment which can alter the was developed to determine the ecoparticle size distribution of the particulate nomic viability of ultrasound based on substrates. electrical energy input and energy obBatch experiments were performed tained from enhanced methane producto investigate the effect of particulate protein tion. It has been found that ultrasonic pre particle size on the hydrolysis of casein in -treatment is only economically viable for anaerobic degradation. While particle size primary sludge at low sonication doses. did not affect the ultimate protein degrada- This work was published in the Journal of tion efficiency, the hydrolysis rate coefficient Energy & Fuels, 2010, 24(9), pp 4703– increased from 0.034 to 0.298 d-1 with the 4711, and the Journal of Ultrasonics change in specific surface area from 0.01 to Sonochemistry, 2010, 18, pp 164-171. 0.192 m2/g. The maximum methane producDegradation of odor precursors tion rate was affected by the particle size in sludge during anaerobic digestion was

Just for Laughs

systematically studied and simulated using the Anaerobic Digestion Model # 1 (ADM1). The degradation of various protein fractions (particulate, soluble and bound), VFAs, lipids and amino acids of PS and WAS were monitored during anaerobic digestion. Degradation kinetics of the odor precursors namely, protein, amino acids, lipid and volatile fatty acids (VFAs) were determined. Relationships between protein fractions and volatile suspended solid were established. A strong relationship between bound protein, a major odor precursors and volatile suspended solid degradation was found, while no statistically significant difference in bound protein reduction was observed between PS and WAS. ADM1 was successfully used to simulate the lab scale continuous anaerobic digestion, model results with optimized parameters showed good agreement with the experimental data for methane production and all other sludge parameters including odor precursors such as lipids, VFAs and proteins. This work was submitted to the Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2010.

Ravi Balgobin

A passenger decides to hijack a plane one day. He gets up from his seat walks to the front of the plane and shouts to everyone, “I’m going to differentiate you all and then integrate you all!” The other passengers become immediately alarmed. The air marshal quickly intervenes and the hijacker knocks him out. The hijacker then shouted again, “I’m going to differentiate you all and then integrate you all!” All the passengers now become really scared with the exception of one. The hijacker walks up to the passenger who could not be bothered and says to him, “Are you not scared? I’m going to differentiate you and then integrate you!” The passenger still couldn’t be bothered so the hijacker asked, “Who are you?” The passenger replied, “I’m ℮ X.” Page 11


Grad Gab Research Breakthrough - Tayirjan T. Isimjan

5 loaded TiO2 NTs composites show an enhanced decay of organic pollutants up to 5.5% after 2h using a reactor with 2.7cm2 surface area of TiO2 NTs on the titanium plate.

PhD Candidate Superivsors: Dr. Ajay Ray & Dr. S Rohani Area of interest : Titanium nanotubes

To achieve highly efficient photocatalytic materials, many researchers have focused on improving TiO2 NTs properties by doping with different materials or forming composite materials. Usually the modified TiO2 NTs exhibit better performance under visible light than TiO2 TNs. As a result of loading silica, carbon nanotubes, and zeolites on TiO2 NTs, higher photo catalytic efficiency and better pollutant harvesting ability were achieved. Among these, microporous zeolitic materials are attractive due to their unique uniform pores and channel sizes (3–8 Å), high surface area, high adsorption capacity, and hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties.

Zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) that display zeolitic structural characteristics represent a rapidly growing family of organic molecular frameworks because of their high surface areas and selective adsorption properties. The structure of a ZIF closely mimics the zeolitic frameworks, where the T−O−T bridges (T = Si, Al, P) in zeolites are replaced by M−Im−M bridges (M = Zn, Co, Cu). The T-O-T and M-Im-M bond angles are 145°. There is enormous potential for their applications ranging from gas storage to catalysis.

The unique architecture of the composite material was achieved by adding the microporous ZIF-8 nano crystallites on the surface of TiO2 NTs and then coating by Pt nanoparticles. We combined large surface area as well as strong adsorbent properties of ZIF-8 with reducing charge recombination property of Pt/TiO2 NTs to produce highly visible light responsive materials. The high efficiency (18.1 %) of ZIF-8 loaded TiO2 NTs surface exhibited a strong degradation of phenol. The ZIF-8 loaded TiO2 NTs surface has a potential of serving as an effective photocatalyst for water purification. Photo catalytic activities of Pt/ZIF-8 loaded highly ordered TiO2 nanotubes ; Journal of Material Chemistry 2010; Tayirjan T. Isimjan etal; DOI: 10.1039/ c0jm02152k.

In this work, we have demonstrated a remarkable improvement for photo degradation of phenol by using Pt/ZIF-8 loaded TiO2 NTs. The phenol degradation efficiency of Pt/ ZIF-8 loaded TiO2 NTs and Pt/TiO2 NTs photo catalysts after 2 h of irraRecently, Paramasivam et al. have diation under visible light were 18.6 shown that under UV illumination, the ZSM- % and 3.0, respectively.

Research Breakthrough - Md. Abdul Mumin

MESc Candidate Superivsors: Dr. Jin Zhang Area of interest : Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles

Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) are first produced in 1990 and become an excellent alternative candidate to load drugs, fluorescent, magnetic and other biomolecules. Compare to other nanoparticles (NPs), MSNs have good thermal-mechanical properties, a functional surface for further modification and conjugation, as well they are more biocompatible.

Recently fluorescent loaded MSNs (FMSNs) have received much attention as medical image contrasting agent and drug delivery nano-carrier. The major challenges of developing such FMSNs include: poor cell uptake due to aggregation of NPs, low fluorescent signal due to poor loading rate, and serious photobleaching due to improper encapsulation. The nature of silica promotes FMSNs aggregation because of: (a) the hydrogen bonds formed between surface silica structure and amine groups; and (b) the salt and protein present in media give the opposite effect on the repulsive force among the FMSNs. Recently, we have developed one-pot sol-gel method to prepare phosphonate functionalized FMSNs with foam structure and average particle size around 60 nm. This surface functionalization minimizes aggregation tendency and FMSNs can be suspended homogeneously in PBS

buffer. No precipitation is observed for over 3 months. The photostability and loading of hydrophobic fluorescent dye (FITC) are greatly improved after phosphonate modification. In addition, in vitro cell uptake study reveals that up to 42% of the dendritic cells (DCs) can be labelled with foam structured FMSNs at a concentration of 5 μg/ml without posing any cytotoxicity issues which shows 4-fold more efficiency than nonmodified FMSNs. Even at a high concentration (up to 250 μg/ml) of FMSNs more than 94% DCs are able to survive which indicates excellent biocompatibility of this FMSN. Thus this study provides a proof of principal study for labelling immune cells such as DCs with FMSNs. Publication PMID: 20932530

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Grad Gab Research Breakthrough - Shimin Mao challenge task. Besides the knowledge of underlying thermodynamic equilibria, a quantitative understanding of nucleation and growth kinetics is a prerequisite for design and optimization of the process. Mandelic acid, a racemic compound with its enantiomers widely used as resolving agents, is a popular modelsystem for the crystallization based resolution process. Studies with respect to system thermodynamic equlibria, preferential crystallization, and evaluation of various online monitoring techniques have been widely reported. But Ph.D Candidate research regarding the nucleation and Supervisor : Dr. Ajay Ray & Dr. Rohani growth kinetics of mandelic acid system Area of Interest : Crystallization is insufficient. Therefore, experimental investigation to get the nucleation and My research focuses on developing growth kinetics of mandelic acid system a reliable, efficient and economic separation is the major focus of this study. route for pharmaceutical industries not only in the early development step of new drugs but In this contribution, batch coolalso in large-scale preparation stage. Spe- ing crystallization of (R)- and (R, S)-MA cifically, the hybrid of simulated moving bed from aqueous solutions was carried out and crystallization process will be explored. in an unseeded stirred tank crystallizer. This paper about the crystallization part has Primary nucleation and growth kinetics been published in the journal of crystal of (R)-MA and (R,S)-MA from aqueous growth recently. solution was identified by numerical method. Solubility and metastable zone The recognition of differences in the width of mandelic acid-water system pharmacological activity of enantiomeric were obtained experimentally by in-situ molecules has triggered the use of pure enan- measurement using ATR-FTIR and FBRM. tiomers in the market. Nowadays the chances The influence of the operating paramefor registration of a new chiral drug in its ters on the crystallization kinetics was racemic form are slim. Among chiral drugs also discussed. approved by the FDA in 2003 more than 80% were single enantiomers. Generally, The conclusions are showed as two alternative strategies, i.e., asymmetric follows. The kinetics of (R,S)-MA and (R) synthesis or chiral resolution are used for the -MA in an unseeded cooling batch cryspreparation of enantiopure compounds. Al- tallizer were experimentally investithough remarkable progress has been gated. The in-suit ATR-FTIR was used to achieved in the field of asymmetric synthesis obtain accurate liquid concentration in recent years, the obtained enantiomeric using a robust calibration model. The excess is usually not sufficient to fulfill the FBRM was applied to monitor the onset requirements of regulation authorities. Resolu- of crystallization. The solubility of the tion methods are of great importance in ac- (R,S)-MA is higher than that of the (R)quiring pure enantiomers. MA and the difference is smaller at lower temperatures. The metastable Among the variety of enantiosepa- zone (MSZ) of mandelic acid system is ration methods, crystallization is a powerful wider at higher temperatures. And the technique for preparation of pure enanti- MSZ of the (R,S)-MA is wider than that omers in pharmaceutical industry. However, of the (R)-MA. Moreover, the nucleation design and operation of crystallization proc- rate increases with increase of the initial ess to achieve the desired separation is a concentration and cooling rate. The nu-

cleation of (R)-MA occurs at lower supersaturations compared to that of (R,S) -MA under the same initial temperature. Moreover, high initial concentration and cooling rate cause a smaller final particle size. The kinetics parameters of nucleation and growth rates for the (R)MA and (R,S)-MA systems in unseeded cooling batch crystallizers were obtained. Publication: Kinetics of (R,S)- and (R)-Mandelic Acid in an Unseeded Cooling Batch Crystallizer; Shimin Mao, et al ;Journal of Crystal Growth 312 (2010), pp. 33403348

Graphic by Mithun Saha MESc, ICFAR, UWO.

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Grad Gab Women in Chemical Engineering - Rendezvous with Dr.Mita Ray numbers we can say that the female population is higher in chemical engineering in comparison to other engineering disciplines. I will say it opens a huge gateway for young aspiring women in this area.

Dr Madhumita Ray is an Associate Professor, the Department of Chemical and Biochemical engineering at the University of Western Ontario. After completing her BSc in Chemistry Honors and BTech in Chemical Engineering from Calcutta University, she pursued her MTech in Chemical Engineering from IIT, Kanpur. Thereafter, Dr Mita Ray pursued her doctorate in Environmental Engineering at University of Minnesota. In 1992, West Virginia University offered her the postdoctoral fellowship. A year later Dr.Ray was at University of Groningen as Scientific Investigator. 1996 to 2004, Dr. Ray was a professor at the National University of Singapore. 2005 welcomed Dr. Ray at the University of Western Ontario. HK and Krupal: Good morning Dr Ray. Dr Ray, we would like to know your insights on the advent of women in engineering? Dr. Mita Ray: The emergence of new frontiers in engineering is due to rapid growth in technological advancements which has resulted in proportionate demand for specialized engineers. A Recent survey has depicted that 17-18% of the engineering population in Canada are women. However, Chemical Engineering enjoys a higher ratio (20-25%) of women engineers. Looking at these Page 14

HK : These figures are indeed very inspiring for the new generation who wants to pursue their career in this field. Dr Ray would you like to share your experience and why you chose to be a part of this community. MR: (smiles) As a student I was attracted to the field of Chemistry and so I decided to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in chemistry honors. I got through Calcutta University in India, which was pretty competitive at that time. After spending 3 years in this field I realized that I like analytical chemistry more than pure chemistry. Chemistry honors is a course of intensive chemistry and all the basic courses helpful for chemical engineering were covered during my curriculum. I always liked physical chemistry more than organic or inorganic chemistry and at some point I felt that a degree in chemical engineering will be a better option. And when you look at the ratios, Chemical engineers in India have a greater women ratio in comparison to Canada. KP Engineering as a career gives us an option of working in academia and/or industry. Has academia been your all time chosen career path? MR: No, I was never specific in the choice of my career profile; to me it was carved by circumstances. From childhood I have been a self motivated individual carrying an aim to perform any job with utmost sincerity, integrity and honesty. I may not be the most intellectual person in the world but I have always tried to do things in the best possible way. I will say academia was a path paved as I went forth in my career. Earning a PhD degree definitely brings one to that mindset at some point in life and I guess that was at the back of my mind though R&D also seemed promising due to my previous experience at Durgapur Steel plant (India) back in the late

1980s. In fact while in Minnesota, campus interviews landed me an offer from Shell, Houston. Though, I did appear for the interview, situations around never allowed me to take up the job offer. Rick, my son who was one month old then was surely a handful (laughs) and at that point moving to Houston leaving my family behind in Minnesota made no point to me. But at the same time, keeping my options open helped me pursue my PDFs at West Virginia University, USA and University of Groningen, Netherlands contributing to my career path alongside that of my husband’s at National University of Singapore. HK: NUS to UWO. That must have been quite a dilemma to decide, relocation from Singapore to Canada, and probably farther from India, your home country? MR: Having established our career at the University, leaving it behind and moving half way across the world to a new place initially looked quiet scary to me. However, I seek a balance between career and family and our son’s education has always been our first priority. Born in USA, we believed that exposure to the North American education system would prove greatly beneficial for his future career. At about this time Ajay had applied to UWO, and he was offered a position at CBE, Western . Honestly the turn of events created more chaos than clarity (laughs). But I would have to admit Ajay is one of the cool headed individuals I have ever come across and his sole support really did help make matters more acceptable. He advised I apply to UWO and fortunately , I was offered a faculty position here. And then things fell into place with our move to London and my son’s acceptance to the University of Waterloo. In the end things do fall in place, all we need is faith and perseverance. HK: Having worked in two of the popular research intensive Universities, would you give us a depiction of the different experiences associated with either? MR: NUS having a well established chemical engineering department had a very


Grad Gab Rendezvous with Dr. Mita Ray intense and hard core research environment. Our department at UWO although initially was small has greatly grown over the years to portray some of the most innovative research ideas of commercial and academic importance. Singapore in comparison to Canada has limited natural resources and therefore its emphasis on a well trained and educated man power is more of a necessity resulting better efficiency in every aspect. But obviously I don’t imply that Canada lacks efficient work force. In fact we have the opportunity of resources which adds to our well trained manpower to facilitate rapid and competent advancements. Academically both the Universities have quiet independent accomplishments that cannot be compared and differences can be attributed to the differences in life styles and attitude towards life. KP: Experiences in the different fields of Chemical engineering would have indeed helped shaped your mind to the views you hold today. Looking from a woman’s point of view, which line of work is most preferred by you? MR: My very first work experience as I mentioned earlier was at a steel plant in Durgapur, India for a year. Though commonly conceived notion is that industrial jobs are more of a man’s world, I chose to disagree. I in fact enjoyed my work period at Durgapur, which would have probably been my area today if it wasn’t for the perceived monotony that made me decide to pursue higher education. This turn which led me to academia has given me the insight of the challenges and obstacles need to overcome with every new project proposed. I would say that more than a gender issue it’s more of an individual perspective and line of interest. KP: You have been working in Academia for quite some time and you also

have an experience of working in industrial field? Being a female which is more challenging? What do you like the best? MR: Working in industry may not be a problem for a woman, as most of the workplaces in industrialized world do not have any gender bias, and any job which could be inherently unsafe, it is for anybody. However, it depends on personal perception. I like working in academics due to many things that I can do at my own freedom as long as I fulfill the requirements of the university. Interacting with a fresh batch of students is always rejuvenating and refreshing for me. KP: From your personal experience is there any advice you’d like to give our female engineers? MR: There is no fundamental difference in job description and expectation for new male and female professors. They are both equally measured in terms of their performance in teaching, research, and success in getting big grants. But generally, women are expected to do more at home front (especially with small children and during childbirth) which can be detrimental to their career development (for instance I had a gap of couple of years when my son was young). But you can stop your tenure clock if there is a disruption such as childbirth, and most of the universities are accommodative of the need. For the employer's perspective (unless there is a bias), they only care if a person can deliver whether it is a man or woman, so productivity, sincerity, responsibility matter more than the gender.

during my graduate life at Minnesota, one thing I never appreciated a very early, compulsory log in time which gave us a feel of being watched (laughs). And so that is something I made sure never to impose on my students. Today whatever I have is through self motivation through setting my own boundaries. I realize if it does not come from within, supervisors push for greater productivity may not matter much, and therefore I don’t believe in strict environment for productivity. Moreover I feel students think more clearly in a less intense environment where they don’t feel suffocated (laughs). I would say research culture can never be imposed on anybody, and should be inculcated through the working environment. KP: Would like to give a parting message to your mentees, colleagues, students and future professors? MR: Well I have always believed in honest, hard work with integrity, which has led me to where I am today. I would say be generous in life and it pays you back, in abundance. HK and KP: Dr. Ray, thank you very much for your valuable insights shared with us. We are sure this interview would greatly be a driving force for our graduate students, especially the young women chemical engineers embarking on their journey toward success.

HK : One of the most prominent areas of academia revolves around professorstudent relationship. What would you suggest as approaches to bridge the gap between the two? MR: Now that we are talking about graduate studies I believe every student – professor relationship sets on albeit different priorities, while maintaining the global objective of a good training. Generalizing the solution or approach wouldn’t be appropriate. But I would definitely like to share my views as a professor. I remember Page 15


Grad Gab CGS SOCCER 2010

One of the primary goals of the CGS is to enhance the graduate student experience in the CBE department. We wish to not only develop the graduate student inside the classroom and laboratory, but to enhance their social and physical attributes as well for production of an overall student. Over the past year the CGS has organized various sporting events for graduate students, faculty and staff in the CBE department. One event was the ENGINEERING INTERDEPARTMENTAL SOCCER TOURNAMENT that was held on August 20th 2010 on Practice field #1, UWO, from 5.30pm-7pm. The Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering won the tournament by defeating the other departments by 3 -2 in the Championship match. CGS Sports arranged the CBE Soccer team that claimed the Engineering Interdepartmental Soccer trophy for the CBE department. Match Recap: It started out as a perfect evening for soccer with beautiful weather and with the hype of the world cup season still in the air. The opponents looked fierce as they had a good combination of graduate students and professors who looked hungry for victory. This however had little effect on the morale of the CBE team as we knew the CBE team has a wide array of students with different backgrounds, all with the passion of soccer. The competition quickly decided to strategize and there-

Ravi Balgobin fore came up with the idea of combining their teams. It was now CBE versus The Rest (Mech + Civil +ECE). Within the first 2 minutes of the game, a costly mistake was made by the CBE defense and the opponents scored by beating the CBE goalkeeper, Mumin. However this did not break the team’s spirit as they new Mumin was yet to show his true potential. The CBE team improved on the defense and continued to pressure the opponents. Then came along the addition of the Mexican superstar, Salvador Salas to the CBE team as a substitute in the midfield position. Salvador quickly showed dominance in the midfield and maintained pressure on the opponents as they were not well equipped to deal with his speed and agility. At the 10min mark came a huge mistake by the opponent’s defense as Longyan dribbled past them and netted one for the CBE team. The game was back to being even and continued this way for another 7mins despite futile attempts by the opponents to beat the CBE goalkeeper again. Mumin showed his remarkable goalkeeping skills by soaring through the air multiple times to deflect the shots from the opponents. An opportunity came for the CBE striker, Rasoul, as he found the loose ball in the opponent’s box and quickly fired a shot thus scoring and giving the CBE team a 2-1 lead at 17 minutes into the game. Within the next 2 minutes, the opponents capitalized on a mistake in the CBE defense again and tied the game once more. The half-time whistle blew at the 20 minute mark and the team effectively made use of the Engineering practices they learnt and applied it to the game by analyzing the problems they were having in the defense and coming up with an effective solution by altering their formation. The 2nd half kicked off and with the scores tied, the match got more competitive. More contact was being observed by the referee and more fouls were being called. Even some professors on the opposing team were committing fouls as they were determined to win the game.

The pressure continued and the CBE goalkeeper was tested on multiple times but his remarkable agility shattered the hopes of the opponents. Contact increased and the game was getting rougher as both teams were relentlessly trying to claim the interdepartmental trophy. At the 37th minute, none other than the Mexican superstar himself came through for the CBE team. Salvador received a pass from a teammate, quickly dribbled through the defense and fired a rocket which had the opposing goalkeeper flying through the air in vain. Thus, the CBE team took the lead with the score being 3-2 and they maintained this until the final whistle blew at the 40minute mark. The team rejoiced as they won the Interdepartmental Soccer trophy for the CBE department. Kind words and congratulations were exchanged between both teams at the end as they shook hands and the opponents issued a challenge for a rematch for this semester. Congratulations and thanks to all the members, spectators and supporters of the CBE soccer team. CBE Soccer Team, Summer 2010: Mumin Md. Abdul - Goalkeeper Ravi Balgobin - defender / Captain Ryan Van der Zaanden - defender Ryan Lance - defender Jason Becker - midfield Martin Huard – midfield Jahirul Mazumder – midfield Salvador Escobedo Salas – Midfield Rasoul Soelimani– Striker Lin Wang – Striker Longyan Chen– Striker Jeff Gribbon – Coach / Referee Kai Pisters – Coach/ organizer

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Grad Gab

The CBE soccer team setting up a play to penetrate their opponent’s defence. Tensions rise high as the game gets rougher in the 2nd half

The Mexican Superstar Salvador receiving a pass and about to take all the hopes away from the opponents by scoring the winning goal for the CBE soccer team

“The half time action, time for the CBE team to evaluate the situation and execute a new plan”

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Grad Gab Upcoming Events & Conferences

Laboratories for all CBE Graduate Students : CMLP 2315 & 2309

CMLP 2315 Differential Scanning rimeter (DSC)

CMLP 2309 Calo- High Temperature Gel permeation chro-

Simultaneous DSC/ Thermal Gravimetric Analysis

matography High Performance Liquid Chromatography

Dynamic Mechanical Analzyer Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry Rheometer

Inductively coupled plasma MS

Atomic Force Microscope

Ion exchange Chromatography

Chemisorption Analyzer

UV-Vis-Near IR Spectrophotometer

Pycnometer

Fourier Transform IR Spectrometer

BET Particle Size Analyzer

X-Ray Diffraction

Dynamic Vapor Sorption

LTQ-Orbitrap Discovery MS

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Ms. Ying Zhang maintains CMLP 2315 and CMLP 2309. She can be reached at : Office Tel: (519) 661-2111 x 82931 Email: yzhan695@uwo.ca


Grad Gab Looking Back at 2010

by Jeff Gribbon

The CGS would like to thank all of those who have come out to our events this year. Since our last newsletter we have held a bunch of very successful activities and we have many more to come as well. After the Ice Breaking Party and Research Bridges in the winter semester of 2010 we held a soccer tournament in collaboration with the GES. It was excellent to see so many graduate chemical engineering students show up for this event. In fact, we had so many more people from chemical engineering than any other discipline that we were able to field a whole chemical engineering team. The result of this tournament had the chemical engineers defeating the rest of engineering. Congratulations everyone! I think this shows the increasing camaraderie happening within our discipline which is what the CGS is all about. After the soccer tournament the teams went out to Friday Knight Lights to relax and enjoy some good food and drinks. The next event the CGS orchestrated was “The Happy Hour� in October. Happy hour is a event we are hoping to organize once every two weeks or so. I was personally blown away with the amount of people who showed up. In fact, so many people showed up that we had to order more pizza at the last minute. During the happy hour we held a spaghetti tower building competition in which teams were challenged to build the tallest free standing structure with the spaghetti and tape provided to them. It was a close race but Team 1 came out on top. Congratulations! A couple of weeks after our first Happy hour ,we organized the bowling night at the Palasad. We were able to fill two bowling lanes for a few hours and had a hearty amount of tasty jumbo wings and refreshments. The feedback from this event was great, and the people who came out expressed the desire to hold this event again. So don't worry, if you weren't able to make it out this the event this time, we will be holding another shortly. Finally, the CGS put on a squash night at the new Student Recreation Centre to get the sports enthusiasts to mingle. Due to the timing of this event, not many students were able to make it out. However, those that did attend got a great workout and a lesson in humility from one of our new graduate students (you know who you are). Hopefully we can hold this event again when the timing is better and get many more students out because it was really fun, especially for those of us who had never played before. We at the CGS are planning more events in the near future. Get ready for an eventful ice breaker in the third week of January, many more happy hours, sports nights and tournaments. On behalf of the CGS I would sincerely like to thank all of those who participated in the events this year and we hope to see you out for some more good times. Thanks Jeff Gribbon

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CGS was formed in 2009 by a group of enthusiastic students who wanted to bring a change in the graduate student’s lifestyle and experience. Their hard work and dedication culminated in the successful student seminar series at Sarnia in May 2010. CGS is a student body formed by and for the graduate students. It’s flourishing thanks to the strong support of the department and above all else the students of CBE. On behalf of the CGS committee, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce to you the main goals of our team. We are continuously striving to bridge the gap between the students and professor’s. It is our understanding that assisting the meeting of professor’s and students at an informal level through “Ice Breaker” parties and “Chemical Engineering Mixer” (scheduled January 26th 2011 @ The Wave, 4.30pm) not only helps the student’s overcome their apprehensions of approaching a professor, but also helps the professor’s know the student’s personality much better. The more interaction there is between us, the better we can work to make this graduate experience the best one. The professor’s are here to help you, teach you, make the most of this fact. Interact with

them, let them get to know you better. You never know when you could be working on a collaborative project with one another. Through this issue of the newsletter, we’ve tried our best to impart the information about some of the many scholarships that are available to international and domestic student’s. The Vanier Scholarship is now available to international students as well, and while the competition is cut throat, it is definitely worth ($50,000) a shot. We strongly encourage you prepare for them well in advance and not miss out on the informative sessions that Diana Lee organizes. In the coming terms, our aim is to bridge the gap between the current graduate students, faculty and alumni through a Career Event catering exclusively to the needs to the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering students. Towards this regard, any student interested in helping us organise the event is most welcome to get in touch with us at cgs.western@gmail. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Kai & M.Latifi for their guidance and support, Ravi for his enthusiasm that keeps us going, Jeff for always voluntarily taking charge of the entertainment at our events (which I may add he’s excellent at), Krupal,

Pankaj & their little secret helper (Anu) for putting our newsletter together, Niel for organising all our meetings and keeping everyone up to date on the latest developments, Mithun, Wen & Lin for their strong support and Emhemmed & Anil for helping us manage our finances and ofcourse Jesus for designing our logo. Last but not the least Dr. Ajay Ray & Dr.Jesse Zhu for their support and belief in us. CGS is here to help you have a comfortable and successful graduate experience. Please do feel free to approach us anytime. We are easily accessible at cgs.western@gmail.com . If you’d like to speak with me personally, you can email me at Hkaur22@uwo.ca. On behalf of CGS, I wish everyone a successful and prosperous 2011. Harpreet Kaur President, CGS. Page 21



Grad Gab - Winter 2011