Undergraduate research in hydrogen storage modelling receives top prize in U of T competition

Materials Engineering undergraduate student Zhihui Laura Zhu wins top prize at the annual Undergraduate Engineering Research Day (UnERD)


Photo: Zhihui Laura Zhu (MSE 1T4), Year 3 Materials Engineering undergraduate student

August 24, 2012

Congratulations to Zhihui Laura Zhu (MSE 1T4) for winning the top prize in the Physics / Mechanical & Industrial Engineering podium presentation session at the 7th annual Undergraduate Engineering Research Day (UnERD) 2012.

Held on August 7, the event welcomed U of T undergraduate students in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering to showcase their diverse summer research projects to faculty and alumni judges, along with fellow student researchers. This year’s event saw 48 podium presentations and 50 poster contestants.

Image of Zhu’s research depicting H2 adsorption on Stone-Walls defected graphene via computational modelling

Zhu’s work, titled “Computational Design of Hydrogen Storage on Topologically-Defective Graphene” employs a computational approach known as Density Functional Theory (DFT) to manipulate existing surface defects on graphene to improve and stabilize hydrogen fuel storage. Her research has revealed that certain topological defects tend to promote the binding of hydrogen molecules to the graphene surface, which has significant implications for designing efficient and cost-effective storage solutions for hydrogen fuel in medium to large-scale applications.

“I am quite impressed that Laura was able to learn DFT and apply it to good use over a few short summer months,” says Assistant Professor Chandra Veer Singh, Zhu’s summer research supervisor. “This is one example of how Computational Materials Engineering can accelerate effective engineering solutions to address global sustainability and energy resource challenges.”