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Zaki Yamani Zakaria Semi-Official Page

My Official Website

By Zaki Yamani ZakariaNo Comments

This is my semi official website that I used for work (teaching, research etc). However, my faculty just created a new website for all of us, the academic staffs. Hence, I have a new website, an official one. Check it out: http://cheme.utm.my/zakiyamani/. It is still under construction in terms of content. I may need quite some time to have all contents posted in it.

Will definitely announce it again once the official website is 90% completed.

News, Personal

Grade Record Form SKK 2014-15 Cohort

By Zaki Yamani ZakariaNo Comments

Dear my PA students,

Please kindly download the excel file below. Use it wisely to record and monitor your marks and grades throughout your study in UTM. If you are not sure how to use it, please kindly get back to me.

- Curriculum SKK Cohort Excel File Form -


Looking for Master/PhD Student

By Zaki Yamani ZakariaNo Comments

I am currently looking for master and/or PhD student to work on a project with me. Following are the criteria/information for the future student.

  1. Malaysian (because scholarship can easily be obtained).
  2. Topic: related to biodiesel sustainability study.
  3. Scope: experimental, optimization, modelling and kinetics.
  4. Full time position.
  5. Trusted, honest, self discipline, self motivated, responsible.
  6. Have the desire to complete master in 2 years and phd in 3 years.
  7. Good command in English (writing especially)

If you fulfill the above criteria, you are welcome to contact me via email.







Getting back to basics: What is pH?

By Zaki Yamani ZakariaNo Comments

The most used measure in wastewater treatment, and for good reasons

The “potential of hydrogen” or “pH” is the measure of free hydrogen activity in water and thereby indicative of the measure of its free acidity or free alkalinity. Gauged on a numeric scale of 0-14, solutions with a pH of less than 7.0 are acids. Solutions with a pH greater than 7.0 are bases and solutions with a pH of 7.0 are neutral.

The pH is the most used measurement in wastewater treatment. Dependence on pH is found at every phase of water supply and wastewater treatment, including acid-base neutralization, water softening, precipitation, coagulation, disinfection and corrosion control.

In the simplest terms, bases are used to neutralize acids, while acids are used to neutralize alkalis. The terms “alkali,” “alkaline,” “caustic” and “base” are often used interchangeably.

The pH of common solutions vary dramatically such as lime juice having a pH of <2.5 to Milk of Magnesia having a pH of >10.0.

The best pH for a wastewater treatment process depends on the water’s ultimate use.

For example, the pH value for discharging treated wastewater into an environmental water stream, be it ocean, river or creek, often requires regulated pH ranges between 6.0 and 9.0. In comparison, pre-treated wastewater being discharged into a municipal sewer systems requires regulated pH ranges between <6.0 and >9.0.

Optimum pH also varies dependent upon wastewater treatment requirements, especially when treatment process tanks receive untreated wastewater from production processes or upon the available wastewater treatments available, and the need for tightly maintained set points.

For certain wastewater treatment processes a pH as low as 3.0 is maintained, while others specify a precise pH value as high as 11.0.

Consider the following in regards to controlling pH in treatment tanks to sustain unique wastewater treatments during a continuous or batch process.

Continuous pH adjustment

In continuous pH adjustment, the treatment tank operates full at all times. Consequently, one gallon entering the tank displaces one gallon exiting the tank discharge. As the influent flow enters the treatment tank it mixes with the tank contents. If the influent pH varies from that of the tank contents, which is likely, then the influent flow will be pH adjusted through the resultant chemical reaction that occurs as the influent mixes with the contents.

An equal and opposite reaction takes place within the tank contents. This opposite reaction is sensed by the pH probe which delivers a continuous pH feed-back signal to the pH controller. The controller triggers the appropriate metering pump to bring the tank water level back into set-point range.

If the influent flow was alkaline, for example, the result would be a steady rise in the tank pH as measured by the pH probe at the tank discharge location. The pH controller would then signal to operate the acid metering pump at an appropriate rate to return the pH to set-point range.

A major advantage to this layout is simplicity and relatively high flows. However, since the tank is always full there is no guarantee, regardless of tank size or control-system proficiency, that the effluent will always be in set-point range. Recognize, the pH control uses a feed-back loop, which does nothing until an out of set-point value is sensed.

If influent flow and chemistry are high enough or strong enough then the effluent pH diverge from and remain out of the pre-programed set-point ranges. Therefore, a pH control backup measure such as regular monitoring may be advised.

Batch adjustment of pH

Here there is a treatment tank, mixer, acid and caustic metering pumps, pH probe and controller, level sensor and discharge valve. Influent flow enters the tank anywhere convenient and exits the tank near the bottom.

In batch pH adjustment, untreated influent enters and fills the tank to the high tank-level point. For the untreated waste, the pH adjustment process occurs much in the same way that a continuous system performs. The difference, however, is that a large volume is treated in one cycle. Once the tank contents are within the discharge range for a minimum working period of time the effluent discharge valve opens thereby allowing the tank to empty. Once the tank is empty, the cycle repeats.

The batch advantage is that no effluent is removed from the tank until the discharge criteria is met. Batch systems are far more suitable for smaller treatment volumes and effluents that may be characterized by large swings in influent pH, concentrated discharges, or erratic flow rates.

The throughput of many designed pH neutralization / adjustment systems is limited by several major drawbacks. These flaws pertain to pH probe response time, mixing efficiency, tank design, chemical metering precision, chemical reaction times and pH control interaction.

So-called “advanced-procedure” pH controls address each of these deficiencies individually and harmoniously. With the use of advanced procedure pH controls, consistent, reliable results are achievable.

Certain general steps for controlling pH have been described. If you have specific pH or other wastewater queries, please submit a question.

This article is originally from Water/Waste Processing and this great article is written by Daniel L. Theobald. Daniel L. Theobald, also known in the industry as “Wastewater Dan”, proprietor of Environmental Services, is a professional wastewater and safety consultant/trainer. He has more than 24 years of hands-on industry experience operating many variants of wastewater treatment processing units and is eager to share with others his knowledge about water conservation (www.ConserveOnWater.com). To read more of Daniel’s article, please click here.

Featured, green, Technology

How to have an incredible productive day at work

By Zaki Yamani ZakariaNo Comments

Here is how to do it. Just understand the self explained infographic below and you’ll understand.


Musing, Personal

My Google Scholar Stats up to Today

By Zaki Yamani ZakariaNo Comments

I found it interesting to view my own Google Scholar page, just to see how am I performing as a relatively new academician and researcher. As one who just joined the faculty in mid 2008, I think I need to improve more. Thank God I have several publications in 2012 and 2013. I’m also fortunate to already have a paper published this year, 2014. I hope I can work harder and smarter to improve my citations and h-index. Presently I only have 8 citations and my h-index is only 2.


The reason I post the snap shot above is for me to compare my future stats with this one. I just hope to see some positive progress. InsyaAllah.

Journals, Research

What is POWERWALL? Do we need a powerwall?

By Zaki Yamani ZakariaNo Comments

Have you heard about Powerwall? When I first heard/read about it, I have no clue what it is. I read more about it from their website. Then I found the answer.

So, what is a Powerwall?

My understanding… It is a huge computer screen, bigger than any monitor that I have seen before. It cannot be positioned on a table. It can only be fixed on a wall. Hence, any data interpretation/analysis that requires huge display can be easily monitored via the Powerwall.

The actual detail about Powerwall is as follows:

The powerwall has a large rear projection surface of 5.20 m x 2.15 m which is illuminated by 8 networked and synchronised projectors. Thanks to the high resolution of 4640 x 1920 pixels and the soft-edge blending that provides an overall picture with no overlapping, it is possible to picture large quantities of data down to an extreme level of detail.


For us chemical engineer, is Powerwall relevant for us?

I believe it is especially when massive data interpretation and analysis are involved. Also when there are several pages of data, it ease data comparison and analysis. Information that need to be zoomed, can also be viewed clearly as the screen is massively huge. Don’t you agree with me?

More information about Powerwall can be referred here.

News, product, Technology

New citations to my articles – #1 in 2014

By Zaki Yamani ZakariaNo Comments

Earlier today, while checking my emails via my wife’s Samsung Galaxy S3 phone (due to my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 motherboard faulty), something caught my attention right away. It was this email from Google Scholar Alerts. I clicked the email and saw a new article published in Applied Catalysis A: General. What surprised me further is that the title of the paper is about Glycerol conversion to olefin… which was the topic I worked for my Ph.D. It is good to see somebody else is pursuing this research area.


From this, I would like to see:

1. More researcher pursuing this specific area.

2. To see more of my articles cited by others.

To see/read my journal papers/conference papers/google scholar, please click here. Here is my Scival Expert.

Journals, Personal, Research

9 Things Student should not do when meeting lecturer in his/her office room

By Zaki Yamani Zakaria1 Comment

meeting-lecturerAs a lecturer, I faced various occasion that I am not comfortable with when dealing with students in my office room. From my short servicing years and a relatively longer one of my other half, we experienced several unpleasant moment with students, which leads to the compilation of this short article. Before that, let me explain that lecturer welcome students to their office, but the students need to know the etiquettes and limits. We gathered only 9. There may be more spectacular or unbelievable act of students that we do not experience. OK let’s not waste any time. Let’s dive into the 9 things student should not do when meeting lecturer in his/her office room.

1. Entering lecturer’s office room without knocking
This is pure basic polite necessity. When you enter anybody’s room, you must show respect by knocking the door to ask permission to enter the room. No need for rocket scientist brain to think of that.

2. Sitting on the chair without asking permission
What do you do when you attend an interview? When you were called, you enter the room and ask permission to sit in front of the interview panel. It should be similar practice when you meet your lecturer. Ask permission when you want to sit. I still do that when I meet my supervisor in her office, even though I am a lecturer, which simply means we are colleagues.

3. Playing or touching stuffs on lecturer’s table
Please show some respect to your lecturer. You are in his/her office. It must be interesting to be in the office. You see numerous interesting and exciting stuffs such as shiny medals/awards, working files, official letters, confidential documents, photo frames, attractive looking pen, stack of business card, latest gadgets and so on. You have no right to touched all those private items belonging to your lecturer. Just sit still and do just what you are supposed to do with your lecturer. Not touching stuffs.

4. Checking out/trying to see what is displayed on the lecturer’s monitor/laptop (without the lecturer asking to)
It’s annoying. Why you should be so interested in what is displayed? If you are not asked to see the monitor/laptop screen, don’t attempt to do so. If you do so, you are entering your lecturer’s sky zone, and that’s not good. However, if your lecturer ask you to do so, that’s perfectly fine.

5. Texting (SMS) while talking/discussing/consulting in front of the lecturer
This act is so rude, especially when your lecturer is showing you something or is looking at you, who require eye contact, you deviate your focus and attention towards your hand phone, replying SMS. Please don’t do this, or you won’t get your lecturer’s attention anymore after this.

6. Answering phone call while talking/discussing/consulting in front of the lecturer
Who is more important? You or your lecturer? Does your lecturer need you? Or you need your lecturer? Should the lecturer wait and listen to your telephone conversation? This behaviour is just like the previous one. You should show more respect. Silence your hand phone and focus on your consultation with your lecturer.

7. Meeting the lecturer unprepared
I believe it is not easy to meet your lecturer. They are very busy person with various tasks to perform, in and outside the office. So, when you managed to meet your lecturer, please make full use of the chance. You may want to ask something or consult your research direction (if you are a master or Ph.D student). Make sure you bring all the required information that can support the discussion and analysis. Don’t come unprepared. Come with full preparation.

8. Not knowing when to leave the office room
You are at your lecturer’s room. You have got the answer to your subject or research problem. However, you decided to stay longer, acting casual, wanting to chit chat with your lecturer. It is fine to have a brief mingle session. However, you need to know your limit. As stated earlier, your lecturer is a very busy person, with journal papers to write/edit, not to mention other countless KPI to accomplish. So, don’t take more time than required in your lecturer’s room. Know when you should leave.

9. Meeting lecturer nagging / begging for additional marks
Oh no… don’t do this. You should have prepared extremely well for your examination and test. When the marks are released and you get shocked starring at some numbers which you think you do not deserve, you frantically ramp into your lecturer’s office and begin the begging process, asking for that tiny little marks with just one reason, to improve your grade from C to B or from B to A and so on.

Perhaps other points lecturers or students would like to share?

Image credited to http://www.thebands.biz/article/meeting-with-professor-prefaced/

Personal, Research, Students

Finally, the PhD battle is over

By Zaki Yamani Zakaria1 Comment

phd-sessionThe announcement/notice at Sekolah Pengajian Siswazah (SPS) UTM on the day of my Ph.D viva

After roughly 4 years, I successfully completed defending my doctorate study. Alhamdulillah. Praise be only to Allah. It has been such a challenging and tough experience, discipline demanding which at finally end up with a happy ending. Thanks to everybody who have been supporting and helping me.

I wished I can immediately update and announce this wonderful news to the world (I mean my blog). Unfortunately I was quite hectic with work. I guess now, that I am already an active lecturer, I lost the luxury of time and freedom. I am now subjected and answerable to several bosses and superiors. They can give me task, assignments and anything, you name it – I must do it.

My PhD journey was not as fast as I have expected. I targeted to complete my PhD within 3 years. However, many things happen. It took me 4 years and 4 months. Below, I would like to share my PhD timeline.

My PhD timeline

1/7/2009 – My PhD commenced.

30/3/2010 – Presented my 1st stage PhD examination. I did it in my 2nd semester.

August 2011 – IEM professional interview @ IEM Head quarters, Petaling Jaya.

October 2011 – Passed IEM professional interview which means I’m a member of IEM and could get the IR title from BEM.

November 2011 – I was awarded the IR title from BEM.

November 2011 – IChemE Chartered Engineer interview at Daya Bumi, Kuala Lumpur.

January 2012 – Passed the interview and become member of IChemE and awarded Chartered Engineer title from Engineering Council of UK.

January 2012 – My first book chapter under Wiley Publication was published.

May-June 2012 – Research attachment in Newcastle University, UK to work on my thermodynamic modelling.

July 2012 – My first ISI paper was published in Chemical Engineering Journal. Very please and happy. Alhamdulillah.

January 2013 – My contribution in the Industrial Engineering Term was published, Wiley as well.

March 2013 – My second ISI paper was published in Biomass Bioenergy journal.

August 2013 – Submitted my PhD draft to Sekolah Pengajian Siswazah (SPS)

November 2013 – Successfully defended my Ph.D thesis. Alhamdulillah.

December 2013 – Completed all corrections.

January 2014 – Settling all the bureaucracy for my graduation. Completed thesis hard cover.

phd-viva-defenceJust after the Ph.D viva session. Alhamdulillah, happy faces can be seen. From left, Dr. Abbas (Assist. Chairman), Prof. Dr. Taufik Yap – UPM (External Examiner), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ramli Mat – UTM (Internal Examiner), myself, Prof. Dr. Rozainee – UTM (Chairman), Prof. Dr. Nor Aishah (My Supervisor), Prof. Dr. Salasiah – UTM (Internal Examiner). Rough time and date: 11.40 am, 12th Nov 2013.

If you read everything in the timeline, you’ll noticed that there were several activities that were not at all related to my Ph.D. However, they were related to my career and I have to do it. Bottom line is I managed to managed everything despite various obstacles and challenges along the way. I study in UTM which is also the place I stay. I have a family with 4 kids to entertain. It is indeed super tough to stay focus. However, my supervisor constantly urged and motivated me to write journal papers. I believe that helped a lot. At the end, I just compiled all the content of the papers in thesis form, aligned the flow a little bit and submitted the thesis. My supporting wife was always by my side to discuss research and non-research related stuff.

There were times I was not in my comfort zone. When I was asked to do thermodynamics and reaction kinetics, I was lost in no where land. I don’t know what to do and where to start. I was not sure of what I was doing. I can simply give up. However, I tried and tried to seek for the light. Fortunately, along the way, there were always helpful people that were generous to give a helping hand. Finally I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Alhamdulillah. Well, if you are a graduate student like I was before and are presently lost in your research, don’t give up. Stay focus. Remember the purpose of why you are doing your masters or Ph.D. Pray hard. Work hard. Organize your work. You’ll get it. You’ll finish it. You’ll win the battle.

If somebody asked me, how you did it? How you complete your Ph.D… here’s my answer… in no particular order.

  • Organize your work.
  • List them down.
  • Stay focus to complete them (the tasks/goals).
  • Be persistent.
  • Be discipline (I allocated about 2 hours per day in the early morning to do my writing).
  • Do what your supervisor asked to do.
  • Always be in solution mode – think creatively to solve any problem.
  • Pray hard and asked for God’s help and guidance.
  • Tawakkal

Personal, Research
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