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Funny Ph.D Cartoon

This is funny. I got it from my wife who found it in a social network site. She giggled alone. I asked why? She said, this Ph.D cartoon is funny. I checked it out and I also laughed. This illustrates how tense and tough a Ph.D student life is.


Seriously I'm feeling it now. Whenever I do anything, I will think and remember my unsettle Ph.D work. When I walk, drive, rest and even sleep... I still think about my research work. I hope this will be over soon... :)

This cartoon can also provide some ideas on a post graduate students life to the undergraduates. Enjoy the cartoon...


If the cartoon is too small, click on the image to enlarge.

I just share this cartoon for fun and it is nothing at all related to me or anybody.

To enjoy the rest of the Ph.D comic, go to this link.


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posted by zaki yamani @ 12:34 PM, , links to this post

Power Failure in Our Industry!

Once upon a time in the Chemical Reaction Engineering Research Laboratory


On a sweet Thursday afternoon (today) when I just started my experiment, a sudden power failure occurred without warning. I was actually in the toilet when the power cut off took place. My wife called and asked, "Do you have electricity there in the lab?". I answered, "We have power here in the lab and I just started my experiment". Then 2 lab assistants walk out from the polymer lab (which is next to the reaction engineering lab) and informed me that the power failure just happened. I was surprised.

Immediately I ran into the lab and discovered that the lab black out. Oh my God!!! This is not good. It's not really about my experiment. It's the Gas Chromatography (GC) which I'm more worried about. The GC is such an important equipment for me and the rest of the students as we use it to identify and quantify our products from the reactor. The GC is very sensitive and frequent power cut-off can jeopardize the equipment and interrupt our research activities. Repairing the GC cost huge amount of money and with limited research budget, we need to do everything to avoid the GC from malfunctioning.

After about 15 to 20 minutes the electrical power resumed. Thank God. I switched it on. I then checked the GC and its PC hoping that nothing will go wrong. When the power failure occurred just now, the oven temperature (of the GC) was 250oC. The standard operating procedure to switch off the GC is when the oven temperature is below 40oC. Sudden GC shut down is not recommended at all. It is strictly a big NO. Luckily the GC works well and nothing seems to be wrong. I restarted my experiment and completed it 3 hours later.

Power Failure in the Plant

The incident reminded me on the power failure that once in a while also occurred in the physical refinery plant I worked in several years ago. Such unavoidable power cut-off from the Electricity Company will firstly trigger chaos within the control room and the entire plant. The supervisor, shift leader and plant operators have to act fast to close all main valves manually from various sections. The flow, temperature and pressure from numerous unit operation equipment such as Niagara filter (filter leaves), deodoriser, packed column, heat exchanger need to be controlled until power resumed. The huge 3000 tonnes per day plant can only be minimally controlled via the PLC which was temporarily powered with UPS (uninterupted power supply) - which provided a few minutes power back up.

Secondly, the power cut off will result in substantial lost and I have to assess and make report about it. Even a milisecond power failure will result in vacuum drop in the plant in result to oil rejection (due to quality off-spec). That also will cost massive lost to the company.

What can we do?

As for my case, in the lab... nothing much can be done. I rest my faith to the God. It's good to install UPS for the GC. If UPS is the answer, then we must have 4 UPS unit in the lab as there are all together 3 GC's and 1 GCMS. However, having UPS alone will not entirely protect this expansive machines. For me, the power company (electricity supplier) must be responsible in providing smooth and reliable power for us (the customers). They should pay all the damage and losses that hit us. Maybe this does not sound like an engineer's solution...

Other option?

A more interesting option is to create and manage our own power system...but can we do it with our resources? I'm referring to solar, wind and frequency (Tesla) energy. I would love to develop one of this power sources AFTER I complete my study. I'll try and do it at my home first... :)


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Image #1 credited to: http://www.wkow.com/Global/story.asp?S=14691294&clienttype=printable
Image #2 credited to:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42761336/ns/us_news-life/t/refinery-warnings-way-life-texas-city/

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posted by zaki yamani @ 7:54 PM, , links to this post

My Ph.D study so far...

I'm now in my 4th semester of my Ph.D studies. I will be lying if I say that doing Ph.D is easy. It's not as easy as that. I told my wife few months ago that preparing the project report for my Institution Engineers Malaysia (IEM) interview (to be a professional engineer) was tougher than doing my Ph.D. I'm wrong!!! Maybe that time, I was not really focus on my Ph.D. But now, as I'm more focus with my studies, I am well aware that completing this study is not as easy as it seems to be. It is so tough. Ask anybody who successfully completed their Ph.D... Nobody says it is easy.

Suddenly I felt time is very limited. I'm beginning to feel the pressure. I have more or less one year to complete my studies. I need to start working on my experiments. My experimental rig is fine and I believe it will be ok as I already tested it several times. The only concern for me is the quartz reactor that is brittle in nature. I need to keep sufficient stock of it. In addition, I also need to ensure my other equipments and consumables have spare as well. When talking about the experimentation work, the Gas Chromatography (GC) should also be in perfect condition for me and my Iranian colleague (Maryam) to analyze our products. The GC is the basically the heart of the study besides the rig reactor and process. I'm going to start my experimental work tomorrow officially and I hope everything will be fine... (Need to pray a lot!!!) OK ...enough about the experimental work.

Journal Paper... This is another thing hunting my back and consuming a huge chunk of my time. I have a draft prepared and submitted to 2 reputed publishers only to see on both occasions it got rejected for funny reasons (the first one) and out of scope reason (the second one). I admit that I felt miserable being rejected just like that. Well... I need to bounce back and fight to improve my draft paper and then send it again to other journal.

Thermodynamic modeling... Yeah...not only experimental work, I also need to work on the thermodynamic modeling of my catalytic reaction. This is quite interesting but at the same time it is my weakest part. I'm slowly working on this section and I hope I can complete this study in the next 2 months... (also, I need to pray to God a lot on this). I'm receiving some help from Maryam on this. She has been helping me when I got confuse and lost.

There are certainly a lot more to share about my research journey as a Ph.D student. I think I should reserve the rest for future sharing. For the time being, I just need to focus on my study for a while. Wish me luck... :)

Before ending... I would like to thank my other half of her undivided support for me. It is good to have a partner who is also in the same chemical engineering field. She understood what I'm doing and at the same time provided me precious input and ideas.

Also, my other colleague in the lab... All of you are great...haha...especially Emm2020...who has been next door to me in the lab...Let's finish this together!!!

p/s: Sorry if this post is not of any benefit to you guys. I just need to vent off some tense in me.



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posted by zaki yamani @ 10:14 PM, , links to this post

Questions and Answers for Engineers

Usually engineers meet very specific questions, which need exact answers from an expert in the area. Actually, with the advancement of internet, we have many solutions for people to find an expert and a get an answer but those are broad in scope and costly. Many solutions need your credit card, while some free options are wider in scope. It's hard to get attention on your question by an engineer as most of users of such website are young internet surfers seeks and support tech questions.

Engineers are professionals, who usually surf internet to explore new knowledge and developments on their existing knowledge. With my experience on internet for more than 4 years, I distinguish most of them even willing for contribution to expand the existing knowledge base around their expertise. I decided to take these trends as advantages to build a questions and answers community around engineers. (www.engineers.name). With leading web technologies available on SAAS (Software As a Service) it was possible to build a comprehensive question and answer platform with many attractive features for answer seekers and experts contributing to the community.

Answer seekers are able to browse for existing questions and answers base to avoid repeating already asked questions which will help them to save time, even when they typing their question the similarities will just list down under the input box. They can even browse for experts on many categories who already being ranked. They can just ask questions from community or select an expert to ask questions personally from them.

Engineers who willing to contributing as experts by answering questions will able to be ranked in their specific area and stand out the community as an expert.

Actually, this is totally free expert questions and answers solution, which is totally powered by sponsored advertisements. According to success stories of Wikipedia and many other free solutions, the platform stand with a hope to contribute to engineering world with a vision to give proper answers for engineering questions.

This article was contributed by my good chemical engineering online friend from Sri Lanka, Dilantha Thushara Subasinghe who is the Editor for Engineering Questions and Answers.

My comment: This is a good effort made by Thushara. He took the initiative to create a platform (www.engineers.name) where questions and answers related to engineering can be viewed. Anybody can participate by asking or providing answers. It's like a forum but it is not. It is more simple. Looks like a wiki-type of site. For us who are from chemical engineering field, we can read several questions related to basic questions by choosing "Chemical Engineering tab" on the side bar.


-------------------------------------------------------------------
FREE Recommended magazines to get you updated with current engineering news

Have you downloaded my free "Choosing Alternative Fuel" Ebook? If not, then please download it here. It's Free and on top of getting the free ebook, you'll get eCourse on Alternative Fuel. It's a good and easy way to add more valuable information to yourself.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 7:05 PM, , links to this post

The Author

zyz

I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!


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