CENTRAL FACILITY / CoORDINATED RESEARCH
1. Central Research Facility
The Central Research Facility (CRF) at Karunya University houses modern equipment/instruments for catering to the needs of research workers from within and outside. The CRF was mooted in the year 2001 and since then an amount of Rs. 80 million has been invested for infrastructure development. This facility includes versatile equipments such as X-ray diffractometer, Scanning electron microscope, Gas chromatography, BET surface area analyzer, physical vapour deposition unit, etc. Only one-fourth of the total time is rendered for outsourcing the equipments, concentrating more on in-house research servicing. With a focus to enrich research environment in the campus, three centres were established, namely Centre for Research in Thermal Management, Centre for Research in Nanotechnology and Centre for Research in Renewable Energy, of which the former two are attached to the School of Mechanical Sciences and School of Science and Humanities, respectively.
2. Centre for Research in Thermal Management
Research activities in the centre focus on thermal management in electronic cooling, high temperature material processing and food processing. Research on thermal management is essential to save energy, to increase the life of the equipment, to reduce production cost and also to address the global warming. Various types of heat pipes, which are efficient heat transfer devices, have been developed and tested successfully in the centre. Field trials on heat pipes are being undertaken. Efficiency of the heat pipe has been enhanced by using nanofluids. Heat transfer processes in heat sinks and microchannel used for electronic cooling are being investigated both experimentally and numerically. A plasma arc facility has been installed in the centre to produce nanopowders and protective coatings. Computational fluid dynamics models have been developed to simulate the plasma arc, plasma jet and plasma-substrate interaction, which are very important to control the plasma spraying process to get quality coatings. Antibacterial studies have been carried out with plasma produced titanium oxide nanopowders. Preliminary works are under way for the development of a novel jet impingement oven to reduce the baking time and enhance the shelf life of the bakery products. The centre is collaborating with esteemed organizations like Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai; Institute for Plasma Research, Gandhinagar; and Ion Arc Technologies, Coimbatore.
The centre has been providing staff and student support and has two externally funded projects of DAE and DST.
3. Centre for Research in Nanotechnology
The Centre for Research in Nanotechnology is budding as an emerging shelter nurturing research that could benefit the society. The vision of the centre is to develop devices and to find solution for problems that could serve the society through simpler and cheaper methodology using nano-based materials. The centre focuses on active participation in the rapid development and validation of future generation nano based devices as well as associated material development and processes through virtual prototyping at multiple levels of fidelity. The thrust areas of the Centre for Nanotechnology are : (i) Nanofluids - for heat pipes, interconnect fabrication for the printed circuits, control of water hyacinth and realization of nano size in ayurvedic preparations; (ii) Nano-scaled anodic material for lithium battery; (iii) Interfacial analysis of nanoscaled solid oxide fuel cells; (iv) Nanolubricants with very low vapour pressure; (v) Fabrication of nanobased sensors for NOx and Sox; and (vi) High dielectric material for FINFET devices. Centre has external support and collaboration with Defence Metullurgical Research Laboratory, Hyderabad; Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, etc. The academic programme in nanotechnology is supported by DST, under the Nano Mission.
4 Centre for Research in Renewable Energy
The center for research in renewable energy has been envisaged to serve as a facility for research, testing and hands-on training in the areas of biomass and solar energy. The center focuses on the process development of alternate fuels for energy production as it reduces the nation's dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, and support rural economies. The center through biomass research, has developed systems to convert biomass - plant matter such as trees, agricultural residue, and industrial waste like spent tyres - to fuels. A process has been developed to produce liquid fuels from waste materials containing organic solid materials by the process of flash pyrolysis. Two gasifiers (atmospheric and pressurized) have been developed and tested. The preliminary studies on Bio-mechanization process applicable to use of organic wastes such as kitchen waste and food waste are being carried out at lab scale. A new research project has been initiated by the Biotechnology team in collaboration with W2E, a US based firm, to develop biofuel from algae. Design of Experiments (DOE) is a powerful statistical approach which was used in bio-diesel studies for optimizing the process parameters for high FFA rubber seed oil through two stage esterification process. The fuel was tested for properties such as viscosity, calorific value, carbon residue, etc using standard test procedures and found to be analogous with diesel, which makes it possible to use this alternate fuel in the existing engine without any modification. The center is presently establishing facility for desalination using solar energy. The centre has completed a BRNS project and has published 5 papers in international journals.