Assoc. Prof. Dr. Supree Pinitsuntorn wins the “FameLab Thailand 2020” from his research on changing coconut gelatin to carbon nano-sponge for oil sorption

“FameLab Thailand 2020” is the scientific communication competition. This year, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Supree Pinitsuntorn from Department of Physics won the championship of Thailand, obtaining the Research Award and getting ready to enter the FameLab International 2020, which will be organized online in October this year.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Supree Pinitsuntorn, a researcher in material science and a professor interested in metallurgy works in Department of Physics, Faculty of Sciences, Khon Kaen University. He related that the topic he used in the competition, “Carbon Nano-Sponge for Oil Sorption from Polluted Water” had its background from oil contamination from leaks into bodies of water, which is a very important world issue. Oil leaks can be found everywhere, in the sea, the ocean, and even in rivers. The oil comes from discharge of wastes that contain mixtures of oil into water sources without undergoing treatment. This issue has been interested by researchers all over the world, who have been attempted to find the best solution. To date, the research studies have detected the effective property of carbon in absorbing oil. In his study, he said, “I tried transforming coconut gelatin cellulose bacteria into carbon foam that has a nano-structure. That is, the inside is like foam with a lot of small air pockets. These enable efficiency in absorbing oil and various toxic metals contaminated in water. The reason I chose coconut gelatin is that a lot is being manufactured in Thailand. Its future manufacturing is also promising.”

“The next plan is to extend my research by producing the carbon nano-sponge at a larger scale. I want to experiment on making 10 m2 carbon nano-sponge. At present, most researchers got stuck at the stage of laboratory experiments. They gad to try in beakers. If the result is good, the study is published. However, this is still not very much extended. The optimal target is to produce the carbon nano-sponge at a tremendous quantity with low cost and good oil-absorbing capacity. Moreover, the sponge must be reusable,” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Supree added.

Besides research, scientific communication is another important issue. This is because when a study is ongoing, there is the stage where researchers want to apply for scholarship. And, in order to obtain scholarship, researchers must be able to efficiently convey what they have in mind so that people will understand the importance and the benefits that will arise from the research if it is awarded the scholarship. I learners about FameLab a few years back as an audience. I thought relating scientific stories should not be difficult. As a lecturer and researcher, I had thought we should be able to relate such stories well; however, when I entered the contest this year, I found it was not at all easy. We need to make it concise and easy to understand from the organization to the presentation on the stage.”

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