Ingenuity built the world, resourcefulness sustains it and our imaginations will take it forward. This is evident from some of the interesting and important PhDs that the North-West University’s (NWU’s) Faculty of Engineering has delivered in 2021.
In the field of chemical engineering, Innocentia Erdogan received her PhD for her thesis titled “Species dispersion from a closed Namaqualand metalliferous mine into water sources, South Africa”.
She evaluated the potential of dispersion of hazardous contaminants from the closed metalliferous mine in O’Kiep Namaqualand, South Africa, and examined the potential threat these contaminants pose to human and environmental health, including through groundwater contamination.
Given the ever-greater emphasis on protecting our environment, it is research such as Innocentia’s that will be decisive in our fight against pollution.
Johannes Jacobs also focused on the mining industry. In his thesis, “Failure prediction of critical mine machinery”, Johannes developed a new failure prediction model using a unique combination of existing reliability engineering tools. Johannes was born in Randfontein which is at the centre of South Africa’s mining hub.
We are not leaving the world of deep shafts, precious metals and tailing dams yet. Middelburg’s Chantelle Pelser devised a way for mines to make better predictions about energy consumption. Her thesis is titled “Improved energy budgeting process for mines using measurement and verification principles”.
Sarita Greyling’s thesis, “Graph-based fault detection for a gas-to-liquids process: an exergy approach” has made this scholar, who was born in the small town of Dordrecht in the Eastern Cape, a bona fide electrical and electronic engineering star.
The same goes for Brandon Peterson, whose thesis, “A discriminative approach to harmonic emission assessment”, proves that the field of electrical engineering has boundless possibilities to explore.
When we think of engineering, we might think of the titans of old like Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of the greatest engineers of the 19th century, who wanted to change the world, and did.
As the trailblazing ways of the NWU’s engineering students continue to grab headlines and expand the knowledge in their respective fields, so does our world continue to be shaped by the hands of science. In our epoch, this is, more often than not, for the better.