Ursan Tchouteng Njike

MIT Department: Mechanical Engineering
Undergraduate Institution: Clarkson University
Faculty Mentor: Evelyn Wang
Research Supervisor: Arny Leroy, Elise Strobach
Website: LinkedIn

2019 Research Poster


Born and raised in Cameroon, I am a rising senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Clarkson University. I enjoy listening to music, watching movies, traveling, and reading philosophy. I am highly interested in contributing to the sustainability of the planet through sea water purification. I have been doing research on building a freeze desalination prototype that may have a lower cost of purification than current techniques. I hope to complete this project by the time I graduate, and my ultimate goal will be to obtain a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. I have also been interested in pursuing research in quantum mechanics since I have always been fascinated by the fundamental understanding of entities. I hope to contribute to making the world a better place.

2019 Research Abstract

Characterization and Optimization of Silica and Polyethylene Aerogels

Ursan Tchouteng Njike1, Arny Leroy2, Elise Strobach2, and Evelyn Wang3
1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clarkson University
2,3Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Due to the earth’s growing population, there is a need to optimize energy consumption on regulating the temperature of buildings and homes. Silica and polyethylene aerogels, porous materials, have demonstrated potential to reduce this energy consumptions. The focus of my project was to investigate the thermal and optical properties of these aerogels. For buildings in cold areas, double pane monolithic windows have been made, but only had 85% transparency requiring more optimization. The optimization was achieved using silica aerogels that performed at a transparency of up to 93%. Using 22 samples, a correlation between silica aerogel’s transparency and scanned images processed by ImageJ has predicted the visible transparency at an accuracy of more than 91%. This provides an avenue to quickly and cheaply predict many performance properties like the haze. On the other hand, passive radiative cooling has been done under direct sunlight with a typical temperature reduction ranging between 2℃ to 8℃ below ambient temperature using different approaches. Polyethylene aerogels (PEA) have achieved a passive radiative cooling of 10℃ below ambient. Five different concentrations of ZnS in the PEA was studied using a UV-Vis and FTIR spectrophotometer. At a concentration of 1% by mass of ZnS during preparation, a 4% increase in effective solar reflectance has been achieved. Results from this project provide a better understanding of the aerogels’ thermal and optical properties. By optimizing these aerogels, a reduction in our energy consumption for temperature regulation of our homes and buildings can be achieved.