LKC FES Tan Jun-Yan won special prize at 3rd Tan Sri Ir Yusoff Best Engineering Final Year Project 2019

Second row, most right: Tan Jun-Yan with judges and other award-winning recipients

A former student of UTAR Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES) Tan Jun-Yan won the special prize at the 3rd Tan Sri Ir Yusoff Best Engineering Final Year Project 2019 competition.

The Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Mechanical Engineering student walked away with a cheque worth RM400 and a certificate of achievement. His award-winning project was titled “Study of the Combined Effect of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Phase Change Material (PCM) in Solar Desalination”. Tan is currently pursuing Masters of (Mechanical) Engineering at UTAR.

His research was mainly on solar still, a device that performs solar desalination of water. This device needs an upgrade to improve water security in water-scarce areas. CSP in the form of a Fresnel lens, as well as paraffin wax (a type of PCM), is one of the most popular ways to improve solar still performance. The project aimed to identify the changes in desalination performance when CSP and PCM are incorporated into the setup.

Four sets of experiments were done to evaluate the individual and combined effects of CSP and PCM. In the experiments, solar flux readings and temperatures of water and glass were taken periodically. The distilled water produced at the end of the experiment was then compared with the amount of solar energy received to evaluate the performance of a particular setup.

The results clearly showed that desalination performance is at the maximum when both CSP and PCM are used together with the solar still, provided that the PCM was fully immersed and in contact with the saline water. When PCM was not fully immersed, the presence of PCM had a negative influence on desalination performance.

However, fully immersing the PCM requires a large volume of water, which is detrimental to performance. Therefore, it is advisable to optimise the encapsulation of PCM materials to allow better performance in the future. In conclusion, the combination of CSP and PCM has a positive impact on desalination performance in a solar still.

Tan’s award-wining FYP was titled “Study of the combined effect of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Phase Change Material (PCM) in solar desalination”

The Tan Sri Ir Yusoff Best Engineering Final Year Project Award was initiated by the IEM Education Fund and was jointly organised by the Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).  The “Tan Sri Ir Yusoff Best Engineering Final Year Project” award is presented to final year undergraduates by IEM and IET regularly and the year 2019 was the third year of its rollout to encourage engineering undergraduates to produce better quality Final Year Project.

The competition was open to all universities with accredited engineering programmes. It saw the submission of 45 projects from different universities and faculties such as faculties of Computing, Electronic Engineering, Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Mechatronic, Materials & Manufacturing, Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering and Biomedical and Chemical Engineering.

The projects were evaluated based on the aim, research objective, research questions, knowledge gap and major findings of their research. All the submitted projects were evaluated by two independent reviewers in Round One and 10 shortlisted finalists were invited to the Round Two presentation. The judges involved in Round Two presentation were Assoc Prof Dr Amran Ayob and Ir Dr Wang Hong Kok representing IEM as well as Assoc Prof Dr Lai Weng Kin and Indiran Nadarajan representing IET.

Tan also expressed his gratitude to his final year project supervisor Dr Rubina Bahar from the Department of Mechanical and Material Engineering for providing guidance and support in participating in the competition and also UTAR for providing the resources required for the project.

Second row: Tan Jun-Yan (eighth) and his FYP supervisor Dr Rubina Bahar (thirteenth) with award-winning recipients, supervisors and judges
Front row, from left: Dr Amran Ayob, Dr Wang, Dr Lai and Indiran

Certificate of achievement by Tan

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