A YOUNG ENGINEER CONTRIBUTING GREATLY TO THE GROWTH OF ADVANCED MANUFACTURING, MATERIALS & INDUSTRY 4.0

Meet Dr. Madaraka Mwema– A Lecturer, Researcher, Collaborator and Mentor

 

Lourine Owiti

"I am driven by my desire to make an impact both as a professional (academic) and human being. My belief is that every human being in this world has a small role to play and the most significant of all is to impact on others. The desire to see my students and colleagues excel propels me; I would like to ensure my students graduate well-grounded in both theory and hands on skills in mechanical engineering and related subjects. I am also driven by my passion on growth of advanced manufacturing, materials and Industry 4.0 in Africa; as a continent and country, we cannot develop if we do not grow skills in these areas. As such, I am keen on sharing my skills on advanced manufacturing and materials with the current generation of students and researchers in Kenya and the rest of the continent. As a country, we still rely on old techniques of processing materials and it is time we administer the modern techniques to advance our industries and products. To contribute towards this advancement, I am working hard to champion the agenda of nanomaterials and thin film technology in the region as a solution to most problems. I have written and published several data-based peer reviewed articles and books on this topic and I am confident that our industries shall advance”- Dr. Madaraka Mwema

 

Dr. Madaraka is a Mechanical Engineering professional having pursued his B. Sc. in Mechanical Engineering at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology(JKUAT), Kenya from 2006 to 2010; M. Sc. in Mechanical Engineering at the same institution from 2012 to 2015 and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the Universityof Johannesburg, South Africa from 2017 to 2019. He is currently the Director of the University’s Nanomaterials and Nanoscience Research Centre (CNSR), Chairman of the Mechanical Engineering Department and a Lecturer of both the undergraduate and postgraduate students in the same department; he lectures in the specialization of materials & manufacturing - a field that deals with design of efficient and effective methods of producing components or parts from the natural or artificial materials. As a Chair of Department (CoD), he is involved in coordinating all the departmental activities including teaching, examinations and students matters. In addition to the undergraduate programme, the mechanical engineering department has three Masters programmes and one PhD programme. Dr. Madaraka is involved in guiding students in his area of research towards developing their research proposals as well as supervising their research activities. He is currently guiding four Master’s students and one PhD student in various research topics some of which include Waste Polymer-based Composites for Green Construction, Surface Repair of Steel Components through TIG Welding, Development of Machining Models for Biomedical Glass/Lenses andSevere Plastic Deformation of Light-weight Materials for Structural Applications,among others. Dr. Madaraka’s involvement at the Nanomaterials and Nanoscience Research Centre is to champion the agenda of nanotechnology and production of nanomaterials and products in the University. He is currently working on possible research areas, with other colleagues in the University and in collaboration with the recently launched Semiconductor Technology Limited (STL) here at the Universitywith the hope of making the University and STL a leader in nanomaterials research in Africa and beyond.

 

This young man yet with wealth of knowledge and experience in his field hasbeen involved in various academic and engineering projects in the past to present. In 2012-2015, he worked on severe plastic deformation processing of AlSi Piston Alloys for automotive and other advanced applications in collaboration with University of Southampton, UK, University of Nairobi (UoN) and JKUAT. In this work, he published a peer-reviewed article that led to partial attainment of his M. Sc.degree. Between 2014 and 2016, he co-authored a proposal on, “Development of small stone crusher for off grid applications” in collaboration with UoN and JKUAT in which they were awarded 4.6 million shillings by JKUAT research fund office. Thisproject is ongoing and several Master’s students have benefited from the fund. In 2015, in collaboration with UoN, Dr. Madaraka was in a team that developed a proposal on “Sustainable materials for green construction” and they were successfully awarded 6 million shillings by NRF-Kenya. The project is ongoing; one M. Sc. student has graduatedthrough it and he is currently supervising one PhD student under the same project. Between 2017 and 2019, Dr. Madaraka successfully worked on the project, “Thin film Al materials produced via magnetron sputtering” leading to award of his PhD degree. Out of this work, he was able to publish several peer reviewed articles in journals, book chapters and conference proceedings. In 2019, Dr. Madaraka was granted an opportunity as a postdoctoral research fellowby the University of Johannesburg to carry out research on “Thin film technology as a driver for Industry 4.0”. This project is ongoing and he has been able to publish one book on, “Sputtered Thin Films: Theory and Fractal Descriptions” published by Taylor & Francis in 2021. He is also working on 3D printing technology as a technology for manufacturing of functional components out of which he has managed to publish a book titled, “Fused Deposition Modeling: Quality Enhancement Strategies”through Springer Ltd. This academic and research fireball is also currently working on research on “Atomic Layer Deposition Technique for Fabrication of Nanometric Sheets for Advanced Applications” in collaboration with University of Johannesburg. In the same line, Dr. Madaraka is involved in a project titled, “High Entropy Thin Film Sputtering” in which they hope to produce nanometric entropy film materials for extreme condition applications. In collaboration with his students at DeKUT under the CNSR, he is working on proposals on thin film materials for biomedical, cutting tools and flexible/portable energy sources. “We have recently submitted a proposal for potential funding on nanometric materials for biomedical applications and I am concurrently working on two proposals on thin film materials for flexible energy devices and cutting tools to be submitted sometimes early in July,2021 for funding” he adds. In addition, this father of twin boys (9 years old) and a husband to one beautiful wife for the past ten (10) years is also working on a book contract for a book titled, “Thin Film Technologies: Basics, Properties & Applications” to be published by CRC Press (Taylor & Francis). He is also working on a project, with a master’s student, titled, “Evaluation of Machinability of Medical PMMA for Glass Lenses”, which is at an advanced stage and they hope to complete and report their findings by end of July, 2021. In terms of collaborative work, Dr. Madarakais working with a friend in Czech Republic and Nigeria on two projects: (i) Development of flexible conductors through 3D printing/sputtering techniques and (ii) Evaluation of coated 3D printed PLA for the food industry packaging. In terms of engineering projects, he leads a team of designers in the department of mechanical engineering and they are currently setting up a center for development of mechanical gadgets at DeKUT. This center is already operational to an extent and through it, they solve several engineering problems from different clients. For instance, they have worked with Manufacturing on Wheels Ltd. to motorize agro-processing machines from Agri-works Ltd., Thika and Muharata Ltd., Nairobi. They are also working on several projects from other DeKUT departments such as DeKUT Farm, Coffee Lab, Institute of Food BioresourcesTechnology, Center for Electronic Devices, Siemens Centre, etc.

 

Dr. Madaraka who considers being a husband and dad as his greatest achievement says that he is inspired by God’s love for all. This inspiration leads him to doing his part; the little or much he can, at his capacity to spread that love through his profession and career. In addition, he is inspired by his fear of poverty. “Having risen from very humble beginnings, the semi-arid and arid regions of Kenya, I was knocked down severally by poverty and I wish to use my profession to improve the lives of others and the society at large to reduce poverty. This is why I work so hard for my family and my students” he narrates.

 

As an institution, we consider ourselves lucky to have him as a partner in our endeavor to provide quality education to our students thus preparing them to be leaders in the various fields and industries. Further, he is a great contributor to the attainment of our vision of being the Premier Institution Excelling in Quality Education, Research and Technology Transfer for Development. We hope his journey and his contribution to advancement inspires you to do your little or much in your space and capacity to make the world a better place.

 

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