UTAR bags gold and bronze at PECIPTA 2022

It was another impressive achievement for UTAR when two of its researchers won a gold and a bronze medal at the International Conference and Exposition on Inventions by Institutions of Higher Learning (PECIPTA) 2022 which was held from 1 to 3 November 2022 at Dewan Tuanku Canselor, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK).

Assoc Prof Dr M. Yamuna from the Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology (FEGT) Department of Petrochemical Engineering and her teammates, namely Asmipudin, Dr M. Mathialagan, Prof Dr S. Sumathi, Ts Dr Teoh Yi Peng @ Teng Yi Peng and N. Patmashini Saii were awarded a gold medal under the Environment and Biodiversity category at PECIPTA 2022 for their invention titled “ProGreenRubber”. The invention is an outcome of a successful collaboration with the industry, Bridge Field Resources Sdn Bhd. The team also walked away with certificates.

On the other hand, Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES), Department of Civil Engineering academic Ts Dr Yew Ming Kun and his research mates, namely LAr Ts Dr Beh Jing Han, Assoc Prof Ir Ts Dr Yew Ming Chian, Assoc Prof Ir Ts Dr Bernard Saw Lip Huat, Ts Dr Lee Foo Wei and Assoc Prof Ir Dr Lim Siong Kang won a bronze medal for their invention titled “ECO Innovation Ultra-Lightweight Foam Fibre-Reinforced Concrete” under the Environment and Biodiversity category. Besides the bronze medal, the team also walked away with certificates.

The team leader of the gold-winning team, Dr Yamuna explained, “ProGreenRubber is reclaimed rubber from waste vulcanised products, such as latex gloves and tires. ProGreenRubber can be categorised into natural rubber, nitrile butadiene rubber and styrene butadiene rubber grades. Our reclaiming technology is greener compared to the existing technology because it does not involve the usage of any hazardous chemicals and it could be done at ambient temperature. Compared to rubber powders in the market, ProGreenRubber can be compounded again like virgin rubbers with compounding ingredients such as fillers and vulcanising agents or blended with other polymers to produce products such as rubber mats, rethread tires, safety boots and O-rings.”

Dr Yamuna thanked UTAR and shared her joy by saying, “The competition was a platform for all innovators and inventors to present their inventions to the world. We are very much delighted with this achievement. This winning has motivated us to explore more research ideas on reutilising waste.”

Meanwhile, Dr Yew explained, “The invention ‘ECO Innovation Ultra-Lightweight Foam Fibre-Reinforced Concrete’ was derived from the usage of renewable bio-based and recycled solid polyurethane foamed as lightweight aggregate to produce ultra-lightweight concrete, within the range of 500 - 850 kg/m^3. In addition, polypropylene fibre was added to enhance the performance of lightweight foamed concrete. This invention is affordable, scalable, floatable, durable and sustainable. It is easily available using local waste materials and can be produced locally. This invention has diverse applications and can be used to benefit various industries.”

He added, “This invention features a real-scale ultra-lightweight foamed precast concrete pavement integrated fish cage built at UTAR Kampar lake site to promote Environment and Biodiversity for sustainable development. This invention comes with an estimated material cost of RM250 per meter square. Our invention saves around 30%-50% in price as compared to the price of conventional timber chengal pavement used in the current market for the aquaculture industry, which is equivalent to a cost-saving of about RM150 per meter square. Lastly, this invention brings positive impacts in line with SDG 11— Sustainable Cities and Communities, and SDG 13— Climate Action.”

Dr Yew enthused, “Our team would like to express sincere gratitude to those who have contributed to the development of the invention. All the researchers also sincerely thank UTAR and LKC FES for consistently supporting the team with the research funding and the opportunity to materialise the research.”

Themed Innovation, Creativity, Technology, Entrepreneurship and Society, the International Conference and Exposition on Inventions by Institutions of Higher Learning (PECIPTA) is a biannual programme organised by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia together with its partner institutions of higher learning (IHL).

Hosted by UMK, PECIPTA 2022 also aimed to enhance networking and collaboration among participants, industries, agencies and other potential players to further explore, improvise and ensure the technologies developed can be transferred to industries and communities.

Dr Yamuna (fourth from left) and Dr Yew (far right) at the prize-giving ceremony of PECIPTA 2022

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