Creating leaders in their field of expertise is what the Durban University of Technology strives for.
For Dr Vimla Paul, graduating with a PhD in Chemistry is a dream which finally came true after six years of hard work and dedication. Dr Paul obtained her PhD this week during the University’s Graduation Ceremonies at the Fred Crookes Sports Centre, Steve Biko Campus.
Her dissertation: Synthesis and characterization of a biocomposite derived from banana plants (Musa cavendish) was supervised by Professor Krishnan Kanny from DUT and Professor G G Redhi.
Dr Paul’s dissertation focused on the synthetic composite material systems which are an indispensable part of our lives today. With the dwindling supply of fossil fuels, increased oil prices, together with the growing public concern of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, has forced scientists to search for new and sustainable materials from renewable resources. This has also led her to her researching, which is a world-first investigation of the synthesis of a banana sap based bio-resin.
“Banana sap was extracted for the formulation of the bio-resin since there is an abundance of banana plants in KwaZulu-Natal and which is a herbaceous plant and has been suggested as a suitable crop for bio-composite application. I decided to find use for the waste material of the banana plant, to make it more useful. It is clear that the use of biodegradable materials for the automotive industry will have a profound effect on the environment in years to come,” she said.
Dr Paul said her PhD studies were a long journey with lots of sacrifice on family time, adding that without the support of her husband and children, they would not have been possible. She also added that she was happy to be able to address environmental issues and with her thesis and find ways of making biodegradable material to be used in the auto industry.
– Waheeda Peters
Pictured: Dr Vimla Paul who graduated with a PhD in Chemistry at DUT.