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Chemical Engineering

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Dina Ibrahim Abou El Amaiem

Dina was born and raised in Lebanon. She got her BSc in Chemical Engineering from the American University of Beirut in 2013. She then moved to London to do her masters where she received her MSc degree in Chemical Process Engineering from UCL in September 2014. She worked on her thesis project with Dr Koon-Yang Lee on manufacturing of high-performance macro-porous polymer foams.

She then started her PhD in November 2014 with Professor Dan Brett and Dr Paul Shearing in collaboration with Maria-Magdalena Titirici’s group in Queen Mary University of London. The aim of the project constitutes the application of bio-based materials in electrochemical energy conversion and storage devices.

If not around UCL, Dina would either be in kickboxing classes, shopping or watching football.

Research project

Title: The Application of Functionalized Cellulose-based Papers in Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage Devices

With rapid development of the global economy, increasing environmental pollution and depletion of fossil fuels, there is a vital need for sustainable sources of energy as well as technologies allied with energy conversion and storage. Among many application fields, some of the most practical technologies for electrochemical energy conversion and storage are fuel cells, batteries and supercapacitors. Recently, these devices have attracted significant attention, each with recognized advantages. Driven by this need and the promise of the technology, significant progress of these devices has taken place.

One of the challenges of developing these technologies is the use of low cost and readily available materials that possess complex requirements of different applications. To overcome obstacles of high costs of raw materials and avoid usage of depleting sources, biocarbon materials are believed to lead the next generation of many industries due to their abundance, electrical conductivity, low cost and high specific surface area. Cellulose has eco-friendly attributes that are feasible to replace man-made fibers. Cellulose-based nanocomposites are being reinforced recently to make environmental-friendly products including lithium-ion batteries, electrode materials for supercapacitors and catalyst support in different electrochemical devices. Carbonization of cellulose yields carbons, including activated carbon and graphite fibers. The process briefly comprises of introducing the fibers in an inert atmosphere, preheating the fibers, treating them up to a certain temperature at which they carbonize and finally cooling the residues.

In this project, bio-cellulosic materials have been investigated as a candidate for supercapacitor electrode materials. The activated materials have been functionalized and characterized to study the effect of morphology and surface area of the residues on their performance in supercapacitors. This work has been coupled with a range of electrochemical tests in two and three-electrode systems to highlight the importance of relating different characterizations and the performance of the carbons as electrode materials.

Education

BSc in Chemical Engineering, American University of Beirut, Lebanon, 2013
MSc in Chemical Process Engineering, UCL, 2014