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.

zakiyamani@cheme.utm.my

 

 

 

 

Students

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.

timetable

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.

googlescholarchemicalengineering

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.

powerwall

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.

googlescholaralert1

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

New Journal in Town

By Zaki Yamani ZakariaNo Comments

JournalofenvironmentalchemicalengineeringIf you are really into writing journal, I mean good quality journal, that is merge chemical engineering and environmental, here is one new journal that you may want to consider. It is the new “Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering“. Up to the moment this post is published, the journal present Volume is 1 and Issue is 3. The first volume and first issue was published in June 2013.

The journal is another product from Elsevier with ISSN: 2213-3437. Since it is new, the journal does not have any Impact Factor (IF) yet. Just wait for few years and I believe the IF will be an encouraging one. To review among the first research publication in this journal, you can click here and read the interesting topics available.

Journals

10 Tips for Writing an Academic/Technical Journal

By Zaki Yamani Zakaria1 Comment

For those who have not published, writing an academic or technical journal maybe tedious and a hassle. Getting it accepted is another fearful chapter. But, if you have the write planning, mindset, strategy, coach and guideline, you can write and publish successfully.

Following is 10 tips of how to write an academic journal so that it will be easier for you to publish it in reputable journal. The tips are from Rowena Murray, a professor in education and director of research at the University of the West of Scotland.

biomassbioenergyjournal1) Have a strategy, make a plan

Why do you want to write for journals? What is your purpose? Are you writing for research assessment? Or to make a difference? Are you writing to have an impact factor or to have an impact? Do you want to develop a profile in a specific area? Will this determine which journals you write for? Have you taken their impact factors into account?

Have you researched other researchers in your field – where have they published recently? Which group or conversation can you see yourself joining? Some people write the paper first and then look for a ‘home’ for it, but since everything in your article – content, focus, structure, style – will be shaped for a specific journal, save yourself time by deciding on your target journal and work out how to write in a way that suits that journal.

Having a writing strategy means making sure you have both external drivers – such as scoring points in research assessment or climbing the promotion ladder – and internal drivers – which means working out why writing for academic journals matters to you. This will help you maintain the motivation you’ll need to write and publish over the long term. Since the time between submission and publication can be up to two years (though in some fields it’s much less) you need to be clear about your motivation.

2) Analyse writing in journals in your field

Take a couple of journals in your field that you will target now or soon. Scan all the abstracts over the past few issues. Analyse them: look closely at all first and last sentences. The first sentence (usually) gives the rationale for the research, and the last asserts a ‘contribution to knowledge’. But the word ‘contribution’ may not be there – it’s associated with the doctorate. So which words are used? What constitutes new knowledge in this journal at this time? How can you construct a similar form of contribution from the work you did? What two sentences will you write to start and end your abstract for that journal?

Scan other sections of the articles: how are they structured? What are the components of the argument? Highlight all the topic sentences – the first sentences of every paragraph – to show the stages in the argument. Can you see an emerging taxonomy of writing genres in this journal? Can you define the different types of paper, different structures and decide which one will work best in your paper? Select two types of paper: one that’s the type of paper you can use as a model for yours, and one that you can cite in your paper, thereby joining the research conversation that is ongoing in that journal.

3) Do an outline and just write

Which type of writer are you: do you always do an outline before you write, or do you just dive in and start writing? Or do you do a bit of both? Both outlining and just writing are useful, and it is therefore a good idea to use both. However, make your outline very detailed: outline the main sections and calibrate these with your target journal.

What types of headings are normally used there? How long are the sections usually? Set word limits for your sections, sub-sections and, if need be, for sub-sub-sections. This involves deciding about content that you want to include, so it may take time, and feedback would help at this stage.

When you sit down to write, what exactly are you doing:using writing to develop your ideas or writing to document your work? Are you using your outline as an agenda for writing sections of your article? Define your writing task by thinking about verbs – they define purpose: to summarise, overview, critique, define, introduce, conclude etc.

4) Get feedback from start to finish

Even at the earliest stages, discuss your idea for a paper with four or five people, get feedback on your draft abstract. It will only take them a couple of minutes to read it and respond. Do multiple revisions before you submit your article to the journal.

5) Set specific writing goals and sub-goals

Making your writing goals specific means defining the content, verb and word length for the section. This means not having a writing goal like, ‘I plan to have this article written by the end of the year’ but ‘My next writing goal is to summarise and critique twelve articles for the literature review section in 800 words on Tuesday between 9am and 10.30′. Some people see this as too mechanical for academic writing, but it is a way of forcing yourself to make decisions about content, sequence and proportion for your article.

6) Write with others

While most people see writing as a solitary activity, communal writing – writing with others who are writing – can help to develop confidence, fluency and focus. It can help you develop the discipline of regular writing. Doing your academic writing in groups or at writing retreats are ways of working on your own writing, but – if you unplug from email, internet and all other devices – also developing the concentration needed for regular, high-level academic writing.

At some point – ideally at regular intervals – you can get a lot more done if you just focus on writing. If this seems like common sense, it isn’t common practice. Most people do several things at once, but this won’t always work for regular journal article writing. At some point, it pays to privilege writing over all other tasks, for a defined period, such as 90 minutes, which is long enough to get something done on your paper, but not so long that it’s impossible to find the time.

7) Do a warm up before you write

While you are deciding what you want to write about, an initial warm up that works is to write for five minutes, in sentences, in answer to the question: ‘What writing for publication have you done [or the closest thing to it], and what do you want to do in the long, medium and short term?’

Once you have started writing your article, use a variation on this question as a warm up – what writing for this project have you done, and what do you want to do in the long, medium and short term? Top tip: end each session of writing with a ‘writing instruction’ for yourself to use in your next session, for example, ‘on Monday from 9 to 10am, I will draft the conclusion section in 500 words’.

As discussed, if there are no numbers, there are no goals. Goals that work need to be specific, and you need to monitor the extent to which you achieve them. This is how you learn to set realistic targets.

8) Analyse reviewers’ feedback on your submission

What exactly are they asking you to do? Work out whether they want you to add or cut something. How much? Where? Write out a list of revision actions. When you resubmit your article include this in your report to the journal, specifying how you have responded to the reviewers’ feedback. If your article was rejected, it is still useful to analyse feedback, work out why and revise it for somewhere else.

Most feedback will help you improve your paper and, perhaps, your journal article writing, but sometimes it may seem overheated, personalised or even vindictive. Some of it may even seem unprofessional. Discuss reviewers’ feedback – see what others think of it. You may find that other people – even eminent researchers – still get rejections and negative reviews; any non-rejection is a cause for celebration. Revise and resubmit as soon as you can.

9) Be persistent, thick-skinned and resilient

These are qualities that you may develop over time – or you may already have them. It may be easier to develop them in discussion with others who are writing for journals.

10) Take care of yourself

Writing for academic journals is highly competitive. It can be extremely stressful. Even making time to write can be stressful. And there are health risks in sitting for long periods, so try not to sit writing for more than an hour at a time. Finally, be sure to celebrate thoroughly when your article is accepted. Remind yourself that writing for academic journals is what you want to do – that your writing will make a difference in some way.

These points are taken from the 3rd edition of Writing for Academic Journals.

Rowena Murray is professor in education and director of research at the University of the West of Scotland – follow it on Twitter @UniWestScotland

Journals, Research
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