Miri – 4 September 2015 – A research project by Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) was among the top winners of the Novel Research and Innovation Competition (NRIC) held at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang recently.
The ‘Aerodynamic Optimisation of Micro Aerial Vehicle’ project presented by mechanical engineering Yeong Siew Ping won the bronze medal in the competition which showcased a total of 127 projects from 25 Malaysian and ASEAN universities.
Yeong’s project was supervised by Associate Professor Sharul Sham bin Dol, Head of the Petroleum Engineering Department of Curtin Sarawak’s Faculty of Engineering and Science.
The project involved computational and experimental studies on the novel propeller design of a quadrotor-type micro aerial vehicle, also known as a drone, to optimise its aerodynamic performance.
According to Yeong, drones can fly autonomously based on a pre-programmed flight path or remotely controlled by a pilot from a ground station to execute assigned missions such as maritime search and rescue operations or surveillance of offshore platform and vessels.
She said that the typical flight time of a battery-powered drone is approximately 30 minutes or less and this makes it difficult to deploy drones, particularly the multi-rotor type, in emergencies occurring quite a distance from land.
The main purpose of Yeong’s study was to improve the aerodynamic capabilities of quad-rotor drones by reducing friction and enhancing the thrust generated by the propellers.
Associate Professor Sharul said the Faculty of Engineering and Science was very proud of Yeong’s achievement, especially as the recognition was given by USM, a prestigious research university and the only APEX (Accelerated Programme for Excellence) university in Malaysia.
“It is a testament to our research strengths in engineering and the calibre of our students,” he said.
Yeong’s project is one of several research projects being conducted at the Turbulence and Energy Research Laboratory at Curtin Sarawak. The Faculty of Engineering and Science intends for the newly-established laboratory to be a catalyst to attract more industry involvement in academic research projects at Curtin Sarawak as well as a research hub for the university’s commercial and industrial consultancy projects in the near future.
The NRIC is an annual competition which began in 2007. It is centred on the theme ‘Modernising Innovation beyond Novelty Research’ and is aimed at providing a platform for young researchers in local universities and in the private sector to explore their potential in research and innovation.
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