Curtin Malaysia student gets final-year project paper published in Nature’s Scientific Report

Miri – 7 January 2021 – Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) final-year chemical engineering student Ahsan Mehmood has had the honour of getting his final-year project paper published in Scientific Report by Nature, the world’s leading multidisciplinary science publisher.

Ahsan’s project paper titled ‘Graphene/PVA Buckypaper for Strain Sensor Application’ was based on his research project into a category of smart sensors called strain sensors, or more particularly, strain sensors composed of graphene-based buckypaper.

Graphene, which many researchers have dubbed a ‘wonder material’, is made up of carbon atoms bonded together to form a sheet just one atom thick. The honeycomb arrangement of the atoms allows graphene to be very flexible as well as porous and lightweight.

Ahsan said buckypaper, a thin sheet made from nanocomposites, was found to be a viable option for strain sensor applications. The research’s high-quality graphene-based buckypaper infiltrated with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) has outstanding properties in terms of its flexibility, high electrical conductivity, chemical stability and light weight.

According to Ahsan, strain sensors with graphene/PVA buckypaper could be suitable for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications including sports performance monitoring, virtual reality, personal healthcare, human-machine interface and more.

“In this digital age, we are surrounded by all sorts of smart sensors. We have smart lights that allow real-time adjustment of their intensity and colours to create different room ambiences, and smart health-monitoring strain sensors that can predict early symptoms of chronic diseases and provide real-time monitoring of critical health parameters, for example,” said Ahsan.

“Now, we are transitioning into a new era of smart buildings and cities with new innovations in electronics and intelligent smart sensors for data collection and real-time monitoring on an unprecedented scale. This is where high-performance strain sensors such as the one we synthesised in our research can play a huge role.”

Ahsan’s research project was carried out under the supervision of Associate Professor Mubarak Mujawar of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Curtin Malaysia’s Faculty of Engineering and Science.

An accomplished researcher, Associate Professor Mubarak leads the Materials and Structure research cluster at the Faculty. His research interests include carbon nanomaterials synthesis, graphene/CNT buckypaper for strain sensor application, biodiesel, biofuels, magnetic biochar production using microwave, and wastewater treatment using advanced materials. He has published more than 150 journal papers and 25 conference proceedings and authored 25 book chapters on related topics. He also serves as a scientific reviewer for numerous journals in the area of chemical engineering and nanotechnology.

Associate Professor Mubarak has received numerous awards for his research, including the Curtin Malaysia Most Productive Researcher Award, Outstanding Faculty of Chemical Engineering Award, Best Scientific Research Award London, and Outstanding Scientist in Publication and Citation awarded by i-Proclaim Malaysia.

In addition, Associate Professor Mubarak is a Fellow Member of The Institution of Engineers Australia, as well as a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) of The Institution of Engineers Australia and Chartered Chemical Engineer of the Institute of Chemical Engineering (IChemE) UK.

He also has the distinction of being listed in the top two per cent of the world’s most influential scientists in the area of chemical and energy. The List of the Top 2% Scientists in the World compiled and published by Stanford University is based on several factors, the most important of which is the power of international scientific publication, the number of scientific citations for research, and participation in the review and editing of scientific research.

Commenting on Ahsan’s achievement in Scientific Report by Nature, Associate Professor Mubarak said it was a great honour for a student of Curtin Malaysia to have his paper published in such a prestigious scientific journal. He added that it is a testimony of the high quality of education Curtin provides, its commitment to excellence and innovation, as well as the calibre of the university’s students and the academics and researchers who support and guide them. Ahsan’s paper in Scientific Report by Nature can be read at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-77139-2.

Meanwhile, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Professor Tuong-Thuy Vu, said Ahsan and other outstanding students like him are products of Curtin Malaysia’s very active and strong research culture where final-year undergraduate and postgraduate research students get to engage in a diverse range of research projects under the guidance of research-active academics and researchers.

“At Curtin Malaysia, students are exposed to, and wherever possible, get to participate in our research endeavours as part of their student learning, to help transform complex problems into innovative solutions that have a far-reaching impact and prepare themselves to be career-ready when they graduate,” said Professor Vu.

Final-year chemical engineering student Ahsan Mehmood.

Ahsan’s supervisor, Associate Professor Mubarak Mujawar.

Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Science, Professor Tuong-Thuy Vu.

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