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Undergraduate research symposium by Chemical and Process Engineering Dept. of University of Moratuwa

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Undergraduate research symposium – 2019, organised by the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering (DCPE), University of Moratuwa was held for the first time on 17 January, with Prof. Jagath Manathunge as the keynote speaker. This now will be an important annual event in the departmental calendar. 

Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. P.K.S. Mahanama and Dean – Faculty of Engineering Prof. N. Wickramarachchi participated as Guests of Honour. The undergraduate research symposium was an opportunity for undergraduates to present their research experiences to an audience of over 200 personnel consisting of peers, academia, invitees from various universities and the industry leaders. Furthermore, the symposium provides a common platform for the academia and industry to discuss innovative research topics for the development of the chemical and process industry in Sri Lanka. 

The major force behind the symposium was Prof. P.G. Rathnasiri, former head of the department. The event consisted of 32 research presentation covering three sub sessions as Sustainable energy, Safety and environment and bio technology and Polymer processing and Nano materials. 

The resource personnel at each session were professionals from the academia and industry. Three sub sessions were chaired by Prof. Ajith de Alwis, Prof. Shantha Walpalage and Dr. Duleeka Gunarathne. The symposium was concluded with presenting awards to the best presentation of each session which was supported by Union Chemicals Ltd. and award-winning research topics were:


  • Stability of UASB reactor under shock loads – K.S. Eranga and G.V.D.L. Fernando
  • Hydrolysis of ethyl acetate using low cost heterogeneous catalysts – M.K.S. Fernando and U.B.D. Rajapaksha
  • Hot water washing of rice husk for ash removal – Y.W. Bandara and H.G.P.P. Gamage
  • Adsorption and desorption studies of heavy metals on to coconut shell char – M.S. Abesekara and K.N.R. Kosvinna


Undergraduate research is quite important and the presentations were of significantly mature character. It is hoped that the interest from industry will increase with time as many of the research had direct relevance to the national industry.

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