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Trinity second year Engineering students receive innovation award at Engineers Without Borders competition

27 June 2017

Picture of Gerard McGranaghan, Oisin Carroll, Uzair Qureshi and Sarah McCormack at the Engineers with Borders competition
Pictured from left to right: Gerard McGranaghan, Oisin Carroll, Uzair Qureshi and Sarah McCormack

Two second year Engineering students, Uzair Qureshi and Oisin Carroll from the module “2E7 Engineering and the Environment”, have received The Arup Innovation award for their “Bamboocherie” project on the chemical treatment of bamboo in order to improve its structural strength and lifespan.  Their “Bamboocherie” idea was one of 13 projects selected from universities and colleges all across Ireland competing in the annual “Where there is no Engineer” competition organised by Engineers Without Borders Ireland. 

The competition focuses on a different country each year, 2017 being Nepal. A group of 4th years from DIT won the competition with their “Life Lid” a water purification device that uses electrolysis to create chlorine using a 9V battery, salt and water. However the TCD second year students, Uzair Qureshi and Oisin Carroll were commended by the judges on their project and received an ARUP Innovation Award, sponsored by the Arup Charitable Trust of Ireland.

Bamboo is widely available in Nepal. However it is generally perceived as a temporary or low grade building material. Uzair and Oisin’s idea directly tackles these shortcomings by increasing the lifespan and the strength of the material. The “Bamboocherie” is a unit that treats bamboo cheaply, easily and effectively. Using readily available materials and a gravity head to provide the compression, a non-toxic solution is forced through the bamboo culm. This displaces the sap that insects would normally feed on preventing infestation.  The end result is 10-15% stronger bamboo and an increase in lifespan by 3-5 times.

Uzair and Oisin’s project was identified by the judges as having the potential to make a significant impact on the health and resilience of communities in developing countries and the award will allow the teams to work with EWB Ireland to refine, test and develop their ideas to a stage at which they can be implemented. 

Uzair and Oisin became aware of this competition through the module “2E7 Engineering and the Environment”, run by Dr. Sarah McCormack, Dr Laurence Gill and Dr. Liwen Xiao from the Dept. of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. The module is designed around the Engineers Without Borders WTINE national competition.  Dr. Gerard McGranaghan from the same department was also involved throughout the competition being a committee member of Engineers Without Borders and the Nepal Ireland Society.


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