Monday, August 17, 2020

Ralph H. Potts Memorial Fellowship Recipient: Parichat Phaodee

Q&A with Ralph H. Potts Memorial Fellowship Recipient: Parichat Phaodee

Bio: Parichat (Tam) Phaodee graduated with a PhD in Environmental Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. She previously received a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at Mahidol University, Thailand, and a master’s degree in Petrochemical Technology at the Petroleum and Petrochemical Collage of Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. During her master’s degree, she gained experience investigating microemulsion phase behavior of semisolid triacylglycerol soil using different surfactant systems for hard-surface cleaning which made me passionate in colloidal science. In 2015, she further pursued my interest in pursuing a doctoral degree. Her main research focus is related to apply surfactant for laundry detergency of semisolid triacylglycerol soil which is the most difficult soil removal in cold-water detergency. To overcome the difficulty of semisolid soil removal at low washing temperatures, an insight in colloidal science was employed to enhance soil removal efficiency and determine its removal mechanism as well. Moreover,  she has applied a hydrophilic-lipophilic deviation (HLD) microemulsion model to predict an optimal HLD range of effective removal for oily and solid non-particulate soils which required a creative approach to perform detergency of soils varying from low to high equivalent alkane carbon numbers (EACNs).

1) What was your reaction when you learned you won Ralph H. Potts Memorial Fellowship?

I was excited to hear the great news which really made my day. I was proud that what I have studied in my PhD research was valuable to a community of my peers. I consider this is a significant recognition of the work I have done.

2) How did you get started in the area of focus that you are studying?

I have always been interested in colloid and surfactant science. During my master’s degree, I conducted research, investigating microemulsion formulation for designing low-temperature hard-surface cleaning. After that, I decided to gain more insight by pursuing a doctorate degree at Oklahoma University where they are known as a distinguished institution for applied surfactant. I am very glad I made the decision. 

3) What challenges have you overcome during your course of study?

I switched my degree from Chemical Engineering to Environmental Engineering. It was quite a big change. I took several classes on microbiology which was a new topic for me. I had to extensively study by myself to achieve my goals. 

4) Do you have any words of wisdom for other AOCS student members?

Failure is our teacher that we learn how to find another route to achieve. It gives us the proper perspective on success. And we should not give up because success awaits us.

5) How has winning the AOCS Ralph H. Potts Memorial Fellowship helped you develop as a young scientist?

So far, AOCS has helped me by giving me a different perspective on the industrial side of my area of focus along with a new network of fellow professionals. I get to keep myself update with new scientific articles on AOCS which helps build my knowledge and skills. 

6) Can you tell us about your current research?

In the past, HLB was used to design surfactant formulations for cleaning applications but it does not account for the impact of surfactant structure (linear versus branching chain) and formulation variables (i.e. surfactant concentration, salinity, temperature, additive, and etc.) which affect designing surfactant formulations. Hence, my current research is focusing on the utility of HLD principle to design detergency of oily and solid non-particulate soils. The HLD equation reveals to be a potential tool for designing detergency of a wide range of soils.

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