On left photo: Fulufhelo Tshikhudo, Department of chemistry PhD candidate with some students at Robert Gordon University, Scotland

Ms Fulufhelo Tshikhudo, a final year PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture – University of
Venda, spent ten weeks (30 August – 17 November 2023) at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Scotland, UK to undertake experiments that are part
of her project. She was hosted by Dr Carlos Fernandez whose research interests include among others developing new materials to investigate the
effect of corrosion. Dr Fernandez is part of Ms Tshikhudo’s supervisory team led by Prof Lutendo Murulana (CorroSci Research group leader), Prof
Simon Mnyakeni Moleele (Organic chemistry), and Prof Mwombeki Kabanda (Computational chemistry).
Ms Tshikhudo is one of the six recipients of the 2021 NRF-SASAC Doctoral Scholarship which sponsored her trip to Scotland. NRF-SASAC offers
dedicated three-year bursaries to PhD candidates based at South African universities in collaboration with a researcher from UK-based institutions.
Part of the benefits of the bursary is to travel to UK to meet with the supervisor as well as conducting experiments in their labs.
Ms Tshikhudo is working on synthetic 1,3,5-triazine derivatives as corrosion inhibitors on mild steel and aluminum in corrosive environments.
Some of the work that was done at Robert Gordon University included modifying triazine derivatives with nanoparticles: This work was done in two
stages: firstly, with nanoparticles coated on the metal to investigate the interaction between the coated metal and the triazine derivative solutions
through electrochemical characterization and lastly, the nanoparticle added to the solutions of triazine derivatives. This was done to investigate the
interaction between the modifying inhibitors solution and the metal through electrochemical characterization. The mentioned procedures were
done using the Corrtest electrochemical workstation. Furthermore, the surface morphology and the interaction of triazine derivatives and mild steel
metal were studied using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray analysis (EDXA).
It is every student’s dream to have an opportunity to travel abroad, let alone to work in an international lab. Hence, Ms Tshikhudo in her own words
said that the experience has been nothing short of transformative, it was one of the most valuable experiences in my university life.’ As she is
wrapping up her PhD project, she reflected on how privileged she was for the networks she has built during the time spent in Scotland and is excited
to see how these will help her grow as an independent researcher post her doctoral studies.
The Executive Dean Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture, Prof Natasha Potgieter is supporting these initiatives to provide our students
with opportunities to learn from research collaborations and work in a global environment. The exposure to other laboratories helps our students
to widen their horizon and make their research globally relevant.

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University of Venda
Cell: 082 868 2218 or 082 868 1811

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