Lua Aik Chong

Lua Aik Chong
Acting Executive Director, Maritime Institute @NTU
Tel: 6790 5535
Email: maclua@ntu.edu.sg
Office: N3-02b-56 
  • PhD University of Sheffield 1982
  • BEng(Hons) University of Sheffield 1976

Dr. Lua is a Professor at the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University. He joined the Nanyang Technological Institute (NTI) as a Lecturer in 1987, was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1989 and Associate Professor in 1999 under Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Dr. Lua was promoted to Professor in 2006. He obtained his BEng (Hons) degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Sheffield, UK, in 1976. He then worked as a Process Engineer at Monsanto Electronics Sdn Bhd for more a year. Subsequently, he was awarded a Frank Greaves Simpson Postgraduate Scholarship from the University of Sheffield for his PhD study at the Department of Mechanical Engineering which he obtained his PhD degree in 1982. He continued his research there for another four and a half years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow before joining NTI.

Dr. Lua was awarded “The Ernest William Moss Prize for 1989 by The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, UK” for the paper entitled “A.C. Lua and R.F. Boucher, A study of the parametric effects on magnetic coal cleaning, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part E, Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering, Vol 203, No E2, U.K., 1989, pp 93-100”. In 2001, he was awarded the "Notable Mention, Asian Innovation Awards 2001" organized by the Far Eastern Economic Review, in recognition of his outstanding and innovative research in converting oil-palm-shell wastes into activated carbon adsorbents for air and water pollutants.

  • Interest:
    Activated carbons, mixed matrix composite membranes, gas separation, hydrogen production, catalysts.
  • Projects:
    Development of activated carbons prepared from pistachio-nut shells.
    Activated carbons were prepared from pistachio-nut shells by a two-step physical method. The effects of the preparation variables on the activated carbon pore structure were studied, followed by the optimization of these operating parameters. It was found that the activation temperature and dwell time are the important parameters that affect the characteristics of the activated carbons obtained. The effects of CO2 flow rate and heating rate during activation were also studied. Under the experimental conditions used, the optimum conditions to prepare activated carbons with high surface area and pore volume were identified. The microstructure of the activated carbons prepared was examined by scanning electron microscopy while the Fourier transform infrared spectra showed the changes in the surface functional groups produced during the different preparation stages.
    [Thermal and Fluids Lab, Thermo-Fluid & Energy]
    Preparation of activated carbons from oil-palm-shell chars by microwave-induced carbon dioxide activation
    A novel method of preparing activated carbons from oil-palm-shell chars by microwave-induced CO2 reaction was studied. The effects of processing parameters (gas flow rate, input microwave power and exposure time to microwave energy) and the presence of CuO receptors on the characteristics of the activated carbons were investigated in order to determine and optimise the control parameters for the process. Experimental results showed that it was feasible to prepare activated carbons with high density and predominant microporosity from oil-palm-shell chars by microwave heating. These activated carbons are to be used as gas-phase adsorbents. CO2 gas flow rate, input microwave power and exposure time were found to be important processing parameters that would significantly affect the quality of the final products. Adding CuO receptors to the char samples increased the surface temperature and significantly reduced the processing time.
    [Thermal and Fluids Lab, Thermo-Fluid & Energy]
    Hydrogen production by methane decomposition using Ni-Cu alloy nano-particle catalysts
    A series of Ni-Cu alloy particles with different atomic ratios of Ni/Cu were prepared by the thermal decomposition of fibrous Ni-Cu oxalate precursors in methane atmosphere. The resulting porous aggregates of Ni-Cu alloy particles showed promising catalytic activities for methane decomposition at temperatures of 700 and 750°C. A Ni-Cu alloy catalyst with 62.5% nickel content was able to achieve the highest methane conversion of about 82% at a reaction temperature of 750 °C. The addition of the right amount of copper led to the formation of alloy particles with small crystalline and particle sizes. Unlike the supported catalysts, the self-regulating system of the unsupported catalysts led to the formation of isometric, round catalyst particles which showed stable catalytic activity even at 750 °C. The frequent appearance in the supported catalyst system of liquid-like Ni-Cu catalyst at temperatures above 700 °C was suppressed in the unsupported Ni-Cu alloy catalyst system.
    [Thermal and Fluids Lab, Thermo-Fluid & Energy]
    Preparation and characterization of polyimide-silica composite membranes and their derived carbon-silica composite membranes for gas separation.
    Polyimide (PI)-silica composite membranes and their derived carbon-silica composite membranes were prepared for gas separation. The polyimide-silica composite membranes were prepared using the sol-gel technique, in which the polyimide matrix was synthesized by the condensation of pyromellitic dianhydride (PMDA) and 4,4'-oxydianiline (ODA) while the inorganic phase was prepared by the in situ hydrolysis of tetraethyl orthosilica (TEOS) and a silane coupling agent, (3-aminopropyl)triehtoxysilane (APTES). The derived carbon-silica composite membranes were prepared by the pyrolysis of the polyimide-silica composite membranes at 900 degrees C under vacuum. The gas (He, CO2, N-2 and O-2) permeabilities of the polyimide-silica composite membranes and carbon-silica composite membranes were investigated. With the introduction of the silica, there was no significant enhancement of the gas separation in the resulting polyimide-silica composite membranes over the polyimide membrane. However, the derived carbon-silica composite membranes exhibited better gas separation properties. The C-SiO2 28% composite membrane produced the highest permeances of 1042.18, 991.21, 296.03 and 155.26 GPU for He, CO2, O-2 and N-2, respectively, which were 21.61, 137.67, 103.15 and 150.74 times, respectively, of those of the pure carbon membrane. The C-SiO2 11% composite membrane produced the highest selectivities of 37.57, 36.61 and 7.09 for He/N-2, CO2/N-2 and O-2/N-2, respectively, which had surpassed the Robeson's upper bound for these gas pairs.
    [Thermal and Fluids Lab, Thermo-Fluid & Energy]

Research Staff and Students under supervision

Research Staff
Name Title Email
Chen Guang Research Fellow CHEN.GUANG@ntu.edu.sg

PhD Students
Name Project
Chen Qianqian Theoretical Analysis and Experimental Investigation of Hydrogen Production by Thermo-catalytic Decomposition of Methane

Selected Publications
  • A.C. Lua and T. Yang*, Theoretical analysis and experimental study on SO2 adsorption onto pistachio-nut-shell activated carbon, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Journal, Vol 55(2), USA, 2009, pp 423-433.
  • A.C. Lua and J.C. Su*, Structural changes and development of transport properties during the conversion of a polyimide membrane to a carbon membrane, Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Vol 113(1), USA, 2009, pp 235-242.
  • A.C. Lua and Q.P. Jia*, Adsorption of phenol by oil-palm-shell activated carbons in a fixed bed, Chemical Engineering Journal, Vol 150(2-3), Ireland, 2009, pp 455-461.
  • Y. Shen* and A.C. Lua, Preparation and characterization of mixed matrix membranes based on PVDF and three inorganic fillers (fumed nonporous silica, zeolite 4A and mesoporous MCM-41) for gas separation, Chemical Engineering Journal, Vol 192, Ireland, 2012, pp 201-210.
  • H.Y. Wang* and A.C. Lua, Development of metallic nickel nanoparticle catalyst for the decomposition of methane into hydrogen and carbon nanofibers, The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, American Chemical Society, USA, 2012, Vol 116, No 51, pp 26765-26775.
  • A.C. Lua and Y. Shen*, Preparation and characterization of asymmetric membranes based on nonsolvent/NMP/P84 for gas separation, Journal of Membrane Science, Vol 429, Ireland, 2013, pp 155-167.
  • Y. Shen* and A.C. Lua, Theoretical and experimental studies on the gas transport properties of mixed matrix membranes based on polyvinylidene fluoride, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Journal, Vol 59(12), USA, 2013, pp 4715-4726.
  • Y. Shen* and A.C. Lua, A facile method for the large-scale continuous synthesis of graphene sheets using a novel catalyst, Scientific Reports 3, Article number: 3037, Nature Publishing Group, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 2013.
  • A.C. Lua and H.Y. Wang*, Hydrogen production by catalytic decomposition of methane over Ni-Cu-Co alloy particles, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, Vol 156-157, UK, 2014, pp 84-93
  • Y. Shen* and A.C. Lua, Sol-gel synthesis of Ni and Ni supported catalysts for hydrogen production by methane decomposition, RSC Advances, Vol 4, Issue 79, UK, 2014, pp 42159-42167.

  • Fluids Mechanics
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Introduction To Thermo-Fluids
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Clean Technology And The Environment