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Mechanical Engineering graduate students Ebrahim Al-Hajri & Mohamed Alshehhi both received American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE) Grant-in-Aid monetary awards for the scholastic year to support their research in fields of interest to the heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and refrigerating (HVAC&R) industry.

Both students are part of an ongoing cooperative relationship initiated between the University of Maryland and The Petroleum Institute (PI) of Abu Dhabi to establish an Education and Energy Research Collaboration (EERC). The agreement seeks to initiate and develop collaborative educational and research activities in the field of energy sciences and engineering, and to enhance the undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programs of both institutions.

The ASHRAE Graduate Student Grant-in-Aid Award Program provides research funds to full-time graduate students in support of the development of innovative ASHRAE-related technologies. It is awarded once each year for use in the following academic year. Normally 10 to 25 grants are made each year. Competition is open to both students in the U.S. and abroad.

The grant is intended to encourage the student to continue his/her preparation for careers in the HVAC&R industry. The relevance of the research proposed by the candidate is a consideration for awarding the grant. Typical expenditures include living expenses, tuition, travel to ASHRAE meetings, experimental equipment, and supplies.

Al-Hajri?s thesis deals with better understanding of condensation in very small channels with applications to development of highly compact and highly efficient condensers. Condensers are widely used and are an essential part of all refrigeration and energy systems with diverse applications in building energy systems, automotive, petrochemical, aerospace and other industrial sectors.

Alshehhi's thesis deals with development of smart and compact electrostatic separators with diverse applications in refrigeration, petrochemical and biomedical applications. Such separators have the ability to separate particles of a size of micron or smaller and will replace the bulky and much less efficient conventional separators. He has already developed prototypes that are being tested by industry for their performance.

Their advisor Professor Michael Ohadi adds, ?Our laboratory has been very successful in receiving these awards. Over the past ten years at least one of our students received an ASHRAE Grant-in-Aid award each year.? Last year the award recipients were Parisa Fouroughi & Gohua Kuang.

In addition to the $7,500 award granted to each student's research, the students will receive a $1,500 check directly from ASHRAE upon publishing a research article based on their respective projects in ASHRAE's highly acclaimed International Journal of HVAC&R Research or in ASHRAE Transactions.

June 5, 2007


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