Papers by UST students selected as the cover papers in international academic journals
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(Left: Cover of Nanoscale; right: Cover of ACS Catalysis)
“Achievements of focusing on research”
- Papers by UST students selected as the cover papers in international academic journals
Research papers published by students of UST (University of Science and Technology, President Ieehwan KIM), the unique graduate university based on national research institutesin Korea, have been selected as the cover papers in international academic journals. The authors of the two papers that made the covers of Nanoscale and ACS Catalysis are Mr. Tan Hao Lam from Vietnam, a UST student, and Dr. Pravin Pandharinath Upare from India, a UST alumnus, respectively.
Mr. Tan Hao Lam is currently a student in the master’s-doctorate integrated program at UST’s Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (“KRICT”) school and his focus is Advanced Materials and Chemical Engineering. The research paper of which he was the co-first author was selected as the cover paper for the January 28 issue of Nanoscale, a renowned international academic journal in the field of nanomaterials. The title of the paper is “Rediscovery of Nylon Upgraded by Interactive Biorenewable Nano-fillers.”
(Mr. Tan Hao Lam)
Typically, plastic is relatively mechanically weak so inorganic particles, such as fiberglass, are added to it when it is used as a construction material or to make automobile parts. However, fiberglass can get stuck in the lungs of workers during the manufacturing process. Furthermore, if plastic with fiberglass burns, inhaling its smoke can have serious effects on the respiratory system. However, strengthening materials found in nature, such as chitin which can be found in the shells of insects and crabs, can improve the mechanical strength of plastic with naturally produced nanofibers that are environmentally friendly. Mr. Tan Hao Lam and the research team imitated this natural phenomenon and extracted chitin nanofibers, reinforcing the plastic material nylon’s mechanical strength by over 200%.
Mr. Tan Hao Lam explained that “the significance of the research is that it provides a method to increase the mechanical strength of plastic in an environmentally friendly manner that can replace harmful fiberglass, which takes place in the trend of replacing metal parts with high-strength plastics to reduce the weight of automobiles.” Dr. Jeyoung Park, Dr. Sungyeon Hwang, and Dr. Dongyeop Oh, all of whom are faculty members at the UST-KRICT school and are affiliated with the Bio-based Chemistry Research Center at KRICT, and Prof. Yeongho Uhm of Pukyong National University also participated in this research.
Dr. Pravin Pandharinath Upare graduated from the UST-KRICT school in 2013 with a focus on green chemistry and biology. He is currently working as a researcher in the Green Carbon Catalysis Research Center at KRICT. The research paper of which he was the first author was published as the cover paper of the January issue of ACS Catalysis, an international academic journal in the field of chemistry. The title of the paper is “Highly Efficient Hydrotalcite/1-Butanol Catalytic System for the Production of the High-Yield Fructose Crystals from Glucose.”
(Dr. Pravin Pandharinath Upare)
The environmentally friendly plastic PEF is manufactured by converting glucose to fructose, fructose to HMF, and then HMF to FDCA. Glucose is a simple sugar produced by plants. It is abundant and inexpensive, but it cannot be directly used as a raw material in bioplastics, so it must be processed into fructose. Existing methods convert glucose into fructose using enzymes, but these processes are costly and require expensive equipment to separate out unconverted glucose after the fructose conversion process has completed.
Dr. Pravin and his research team developed a new catalytic process that changes PEF as the starting material from glucose to fructose through this research. This new process is 50% less costly than existing enzyme processes and simplifies existing two-stage processes into a single stage.
(After glucose is absorbed into the surface of the catalyst, hydrogen bonding and deprotonation occur, producing fructose.)
Dr. Pravin expressed that he “was able to achieve many research accomplishments while attending UST, such as publishing a paper as the first author in an international academic journal and four SCI articles, and had the chance to continue to work on existing research at the research institute which led to these fruitful outcomes.” Dr. Dongwon Hwang and Dr. Youngkyu Hwang, UST-KRICT school faculty and researchers at the KRICT Green Carbon Catalysis Research Center, as well as Prof. Sangkyu Kwak of UNIST participated in this research.
President Kim of UST commented, “UST has been an accredited college since 2015 according to the International Education Quality Assurance System that is sponsored by the Ministry of Education, thanks especially to the various educational programs and support policies for international students,” adding that “UST will continue to make efforts as a university to create an environment in which international students can focus on their studies and research.”
UST nurtures talent in the fields of science and technology by educating students at 32 national research institutions subsidized by the government. Students receive a site-centered education, utilizing cutting-edge research equipment at the research institutes. Since producing its first group of graduates in 2006, UST has produced a total of 2,353 professionals, including 767 doctoral and 1,586 master’s degree recipients.