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Prof Deenadayalu, Professor in the Chemistry Department, To Deliver Inaugural Lecture

Monday, 16 September, 2013 - 16:12

Media Statement by Alan Khan, Senior Director: Corporate Affairs at the Durban University of Technology

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Durban University of Technology, Professor Ahmed C. Bawa, has pleasure in inviting you to the inaugural lecture of Professor Nirmala Deenadayalu, a Professor in the University’s Chemistry Department.

Prof Deenadayalu’s lecture, From Physical Chemistry To Green Chemistry and Collaborations, will take place on Thursday (September 19, 2013) at the DUT Hotel School Conference Centre, DUT Ritson Campus.

The lecture will focus on obtaining experimental data using highly accurate instruments for the calculation of thermodynamic properties. Thermodynamic properties are required for a chemical process design such as separations. These investigations involve the use of ionic liquids, a potential green solvent. The application of ionic liquids can be extended to green chemistry investigations. The ionic liquids are being investigated for the bio refining of ligno cellulosic (sugar cane bagasse) material for the production of value added chemicals, bio plastics or bio fuel.

Prof Deenadayalu is a NRF rated researcher in Chemistry. She has supervised 11 MTech, three DTech and two Postdoctoral fellows. Graduated students include one DTech (first DTech in the Department of Chemistry) and four MTech students. She has examined PhD and MSc theses for national and international universities. Her high citations (currently over 770), with an i10 index of 13, have contributed to her obtaining a NRF C3 rating (2011-2016). Her many research endeavors resulted in funding of approximately R2.9 million from HESA, NRF and DUT.

She completed her BSc Degree at the former University of Durban-Westville (now UKZN) in 1988, majoring in Chemistry and Mathematics. In 1989, she obtained a lecturing position at then ML Sultan Technikon (now DUT). She studied towards a BSc (Hons) degree at the former University of Natal and did her research project with Professor Trevor Letcher in Thermodynamics.

In 1994, she lectured at the former ML Sultan Technikon (now DUT) before commencing with her studies towards an MSc degree in 1995 under the supervision of Professor Letcher. In this study, she investigated the potential of solvents for extractive distillation using gas-liquid chromatography. She returned as a lecturer at the ML Sultan Technikon in 1997-1998. She proceeded to study towards a PhD in 1998, completing her studies in 2001.

While undertaking postdoctoral studies in 2002, she began her work with ionic liquids. From 2002 to 2005, she lectured at UKZN. In April 2005, she took up an appointment as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at DUT. In 2006, she was promoted to Associate Professor. In December 2011, she was promoted to Professor.

During the 12 years since the completion of her PhD studies, Professor Deenadayalu became a member of many professional bodies, such as the South African Chemical Institute (1995), International Association of Chemical Thermodynamics affiliated to IUPAC (2004), American
Chemical Society (2006), Indian Thermodynamics Society (2009) and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2010).

She has received an Honorary Research Fellowship in the School of Pure and Applied Chemistry at the former University of Natal, in 2003 and a nomination for the 8th NSTF Science & Technology Awards in 2005 (T. W. Kambule NRF Research Awards).

She is a peer-reviewer for the NRF’s Thuthuka Programme and for its ratings processes. She is a panel member for the NRF Annual Progress Reports evaluations for its Human and Institutional Capacity Development (2010-2013).

Professor Deenadayalu is a peer-reviewer for the Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics, Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data, Fluid Phase Equilibria, Journal of Solution Chemistry, Journal of Thermophysics, Journal of Molecular Liquids, Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, Journal of Chemistry, International Journal of Chemical Engineering, Chemical Engineering Journal and the South African Journal of Chemistry.

She has published 34 peer-reviewed journal articles and has 38 conference abstracts for oral or poster presentations. Her research work was presented at Imperial College, London, at the Dalhousie University, Canada; at the University of Cambridge, UK; in Aveiro, Portugal; in Beijing, China; in Sesimbra, Portugal; in Boulder, Colorado, USA; in Hersonissos, Crete, Greece; in Sydney, Australia; at Gorakhpur University, Uttar Pradesh, India; in Tsukuba Science City, Ibaraki, Japan; in Manipur, India; in Arlington, Virginia, USA; in Buzios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; in the Algarve, Portugal; at Eskom Convention Centre, Johannesburg; at Stellenbosch University, Cape Town; at CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria; and at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

She hosted three workshops including a HESA/NRF funded IBSA workshop on ionic liquids in 2011. She has a number of international collaborations including those at Delhi University, Warsaw University of Technology and the University of Campinas. These collaborations have resulted in a number of international discussions on the thermodynamic properties of ionic liquid mixtures.

Last year (2012), on the 100th anniversary celebration of Marie Curie’s second Nobel prize (Marie Curie Day), she presented to female pupils at the MTN Science Centre, Durban, and a poster at the MILE Symposium entitled ‘Green Chemistry and the Sustainability for Economic Development and Job Creation’, which she presented at UKZN, Westville Campus.

Her research work on the thermodynamic properties of ionic liquid mixtures has resulted in her forming many collaborations. More recently, her new venture into the use of ionic liquids for lingo cellulose bio refining has resulted in new collaborations and partnerships. She works with a number of national and international collaborators, among them Professor Hofman (Warsaw University of Technology), Dr S. Sen (California State Polytechnic University), Professor Aznar
(University of Campinas), Professor Ramjugernath (UKZN), Dr B. Sithole (CSIR), Dr P. Reddy and Mr S. Davis (both at the Sugar Milling Research Institute).

Issued by:

Sinegugu Ndlovu
DUT Communications
Botanic Mansion
Division of Corporate Affairs
Steve Biko Campus
Gate 1
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