Future Sustainable Materials: Green Chemistry and Hybrid Materials

Reported by: Liew Son Qian, IMM-UTAR Student Chapter Organizing Secretary

Edited by: Nurul Fatahah Asyqin Zainal, Universiti Teknologi MARA


On the 29th of November 2018, Institute of Materials, Malaysia – Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (IMM-UTAR) has successfully organized a talk on ‘Future Sustainable Materials’. The word “Sustainable” has been emphasized a lot recently and is practiced by most of the country around the world. Sustainable Goals, that are developed by United Nation, such as “Building up strong infrastructure, supporting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and incubating innovation” and “Enabling Access to affordable and clean energy” were the themes of this event. The event is aimed at instilling interest, knowledge about the future direction of the industry and importance of sustainability. A total of 55 undergraduate students participated in this event. An external IMM council member, Assoc. Prof. Dr, Lim Teck Hock was also invited to the talk. This event was kicked off with the welcoming speech by the event advisor, Dr. Kuan Seng How.

The speakers for this event are highly qualify academicians as well as those actively involved in various research projects in the field of heterogeneous catalysis, nanomaterials, sustainable cement concrete, new polymers, palm oil/rubber-base polymers technology, nano chemicals for sustainable nano high-performance concrete/ultra high performance concrete (SNHPC/SNUHPC) and CO2 polymers hybrid cement concrete. The first speaker was Assoc. Prof. Dr. Juan Joon Ching, an Associate Professor and Acting Director at Nanotechnology and Catalysis Research Centre (NANOCAT) in 2016, University of Malaysia (UM), Malaysia and he is also appointed as Senior Research Fellow (Adjunct) position at Monash University, Malaysia. His talk was mainly about his current research on the improvement of the performance and properties of biofuels (biodiesels). Biodiesel is an alternative fuel similar to conventional or ‘fossil’ diesel which is highly available in vegetable oil, animal oil/fats, tallow and waste cooking oil. Most biodiesels are produced from waste vegetable oil obtained from restaurants, chip shops and industrial food producers which are converted into biodiesels through transesterification process (Figure 1). Interestingly, the experimental results show that the biodiesel produced from waste vegetable oil may be one of the sources that can compete with fossil diesel.

The second speaker was Dr. Lai Fook Chuan, a Chartered Building Engineer and Fellow Chartered Association Building Engineer, UK (C Build. E and FCABE), Fellowship Member in Professional Institute Kimia Malaysia (IKM) and Institute Materials, Malaysia. He is also the Adjunct Fellow Professor for Inti Laurate University, Nilai and Linton University College, Mantin, Malaysia. He is a Professional Chemical Engineer, Associate Member of Institute Chemical Engineer Malaysia (AMIChemE), Professional Chemist Member of Royal Society Chemistry UK (MRSC) and Professional Technologist (PT or Ts.) registered under Malaysia Board of Technologist (MBOT). He highlighted the hybrid concrete construction, a method of construction which integrates precast concrete and cast in-situ concrete to make best advantage of their different inherent qualities. This hybrid concrete construction offers many advantages such as reducing the potential for accidents by providing successive work platforms on a generally less cluttered site, opportunity to exploit the inherent thermal mass of concrete by exposing the soffit of precast concrete floor slabs and safer and faster construction with consistent performance.

In conclusion, this event has not only successfully instilled the interest in sustainable materials among the students, but also has given the awareness, new knowledge and importance of sustainability to the students.