UAEU receives Grant for Inventions from U.S. Patents Office
Date: 24 January 2012
The Vice Chancellor, Dr. Abdullah Saad Al Khanbashi, and the Provost of the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), Dr. Wyatt Hume, announced today that UAEU has received a U.S. Patent for an invention created at the University by the Faculty of Engineering.
Process to Produce Carbon Nanotubes from Microalgae
Inventor: Dr. Yousef Haik, Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department, UAEU.
Professor Sehamuddin Galadari, Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies, stated: “We are very pleased to have received notice that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted a U.S. Patent to this invention. This is a significant step for UAEU and recognizes outstanding accomplishments on the part of member of our faculty.”
“The development of such intellectual property here in the United Arab Emirates is very important and we are pleased to make such a significant contribution.”
“We would also like to recognize the support of the Technical Development Committee of Abu Dhabi in assisting UAEU through the Patent Harvesting Program”.
Professor Galadari further stated: "Clearly the UAEU is contributing towards a knowledge nation and a knowledge based economy, and we are pleased to ensure a smooth flow from theoretical research to practical application.”
Professor Yousef Haik achieved the breakthrough in just over a year of dedicated research, and he is delighted not only to receive official recognition in the form of a patent, but also to learn that his innovative procedure is the focus of industrial application in the United Arab Emirates with the collaboration of Alhamili Group.
“Carbon nano-tubes are produced as fundamental elements in industry producing electronic equipment components, construction materials, vehicle tires, brake systems, batteries, solar cells, high-tech clothing, and protective garments,” he explained.
“Simply put, they are carbon molecules technologically arranged in cylindrical structures about 5-20 nanometers in diameter and up to one millimeter in length, becoming excellent conductors of electricity and heat, and incredibly strong – stronger than steel,” he continued, “in fact, you could easily stand an elephant on carbon nano-tubes!”
Before the discovery of this innovative production method, carbon nano-tubes were produced by three methods, all of which requiring high energy, resulting in small quantities produced, and very costly as pure carbon was the raw material – these processes were based on complex systems of electric arc discharge, furnaces, or laser beams.”
“This new patented technology instead uses simple combustion, similar to a combustion chamber found in a car engine. The raw material is waste carbon, and it produces high-value nano-tubes in quantities of kilograms, which are all results previously unheard of.”
Professor Haik oversees multiple teams in various research strands at UAEU, consisting of five Research Assistants, Ph.D. and Master degree students, and the support and contribution of colleagues from the faculties of Medicine, Science and Engineering.
Professor Haik was awarded a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 1997 and has been conducting research at UAEU since 2003. Originally he hails from Jordan, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, with his post-grad studies and lecturing experience in the U.S.A. He also serves as Director of the Center for Research Excellence in Nanobioscience at the University of North Carolina, U.S.A., in a scientific collaboration that ties UAEU with research institutions around the world.
The challenge he finds in conducting research of this caliber is in finding the trick to overcome the current technologies, because “if you just follow what other people have done, you will end up with the same results,” and so applying creativity to science requires a different mental approach, and “that is not easy.”
“While we start with an anticipated result, we most often do not know if it will work – such is breakthrough research; seeking the results is the heart of research, with many times learning what does not work.”
Professor Haik further disclosed that he has another patent in the making: another inventive method for producing carbon nano-tubes, which utilizes the exhaust gases out of motor vehicles! It not only produces the valuable nano-tubes, but also minimizes waste into the environment. He is hopeful that this next patented process will see widespread use and benefit.
The personal satisfaction for the patent awarded, according to Professor Haik, is seeing his painstaking work utilized by industry to improve the quality of life of human kind, and not only remaining in academic books for the next generations to study and improve.
Notes to Editors
- United Arab Emirates University (UAEU)
- 21st Century research-based university, providing research solutions to support the UAE and, through its global partners, the wider world
- Founded in 1976 by HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan; the UAE’s first national university
- Chancellor: His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research
- Ranked # 338 in the 2011/2012 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings
- Nine faculties:
- Business & Economics
- Food & Agriculture
- Humanities & Social Sciences
- Information Technology
- Medicine & Health Science
- 12,279 students enrolled in 2010/11
- First PhD program in UAE national institution commenced in 2009
- Strong focus on providing specific research solutions and benefits to society − the new model of a 21st Century university, furthering research as part of the global network of discovery and innovation