Curtin Malaysia engineering students gain insights into major engineering projects

The students at the Bakun Dam.

Miri – 23 May 2017 – 34 students of the civil and construction engineering and environmental engineering programmes of Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) extended their classroom learning to the field by visiting the massive hydroelectric dam at Bakun and the construction site of a large upscale high-rise development in Bintulu recently.

At the Bakun Dam, the second-highest concrete-faced rockfill dam in the world located some 60 kilometres west of Belaga, the students were able to better understand the aspects of the dam operation and power generation, including environmental flow release at the spillway and power plant water intake.

They learned how environmental flow involves releasing a substantial amount of water into the river on a daily basis to maintain its ecosystem. At Bakun, the environmental flow consists of the release of surface water at the impoundment. This is to ensure that the environmental flow has sufficient dissolved oxygen levels to keep the ecosystem downstream healthy.

Following their visit to the dam, the students spent a day in Bintulu to visit the construction site of the Pinnacle Condominiums, a new 27-storey residential development that will be amongst the tallest in the state. They learned about the design and architectural aspects of the building and how these elements are being implemented in the engineering works, as well as how the requirements of all the stakeholders have been taken into account in its development.

Fourth-year civil and construction engineering student Aaron Wong Ching Chuan said he appreciated the opportunity to learn about mega projects like the Bakun Dam, particularly its design and construction and spillway operations, and the innovative use of modern construction materials like lightweight concrete at the Pinnacle Condominiums.
Curtin Malaysia engineering students gain insights into major engineering projects – page 2

Third-year environmental engineering student Shivashanggeeta Kanthasamy, meanwhile, remarked that the visits to the two sites ‘brought her studies to life’.

“At the Bakun Dam, I gained more knowledge about the environmental safeguards put in place to protect the environment, as well as environmental protection procedures that must be fulfilled before such construction projects can be approved,” she said.

Head of the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering Associate Professor Muhammad Ekhlasur Rahman said field trips are an integral part of student learning at Curtin Malaysia. He said they can learn as much in the field as they do in the classroom and, more importantly, see theories learnt in the classroom being applied in the real world.

“Our students are given lots of exposure to the engineering industry. This equips them with valuable industry-relevant knowledge and skills that will enhance their marketability when they graduate,” remarked Associate Professor Muhammad.

Students and staff pose for group photo following their tour of Bakun Dam.

The students at the Pinnacle Condominiums site.

科廷大学(澳洲大学马来西亚分校) Curtin University Malaysia
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