Dr Tokoloho Rampai

Lecturer and Researcher

Tokoloho also known as 'TK', is a lecturer and researcher in the UCT Department of Chemical Engineering. TK's research focus is mainly in Materials Engineering, this is applied both in Antarctic sea ice research and advanced ceramic materials development for application in catalysis processes. Under the advanced ceramics research, she focusses on powder metallurgy, thermodynamics for materials development, material properties development and tribological testing for suitability of application. And under the sea ice research she focusses on improving the understanding of the material properties (structural and mechanical) of Antarctic sea ice, predominately through artificial sea ice growth experiments in temperature-controlled laboratory conditions and nominally through filed testing in the Marginal Ice Zone in the Southern Ocean. She is an active supervisor of postgraduate students and has published in both sea ice and ceramics development journals.

Qualifications:

  • PhD Chemical & Metallurgical Engineering, University of Witwatersrand
  • MSc Materials Engineering, University of Cape Town
  • BSc (Hons) Material Science, University of Cape Town
  • BSc Chemistry, University of Cape Town

Research Affiliations:

  • UCT Marine and Antarctic Research centre for Innovation and Sustainability (MARIS), which is a large cross faculty multi-disciplinary research centre. Within this centre, she is also a representative for the Innovation in Chemical, Materials and Observational Engineering disciple in the Scientific Steering Committee.
  • Polar Engineering Research Group

Through UCT-MARiS, her research focus is mainly in Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research using an approach that involves Innovation in Chemical, Materials and Observational Engineering. She focusses on investigating the influence of the changes in atmospheric conditions and ocean chemistry affect the growth dynamics of sea ice. How these dynamics then influence the structure and texture of the sea ice and how these in turn affect the mechanical properties of sea ice (particularly compressive strength, elastic modulus, and Poisson’s ratio). The sea ice that my research focusses on is partially in the Marginal Ice Zone of the Southern Ocean in the eastern Antarctic. This research is approached using three different disciplines, Materials engineering, Glaciology and Process engineering. The research is carried out in both lab scale experiments and field-based measurements. To supplement the measurements, particularly in the field. Our team has a large focus on designing innovative methods and/or equipment in addition to optimising some existing methods or equipment.

The specific research topics that she focusses on are:

  1. Investigating the thermodynamic of sea ice growth and focus on different drivers and contributors that can be used to optimise sea ice thermodynamic models. This lab-based approach topic is in collaboration with the UCT chemical engineering Process Modelling and Optimisation team and Department of oceanography.
  2. Investigating the sea ice desalination mechanisms and dynamics using Quasi 2D Hele-Shaw cell and modified Harp cell, Direct light and schlieren optical methods and Digital Image Processing (DIP) techniques. This project is in strong collaboration with Laboratory of Glaciology, Faculty of Science, Université libre de Bruxelles where the Hele-Shaw cell resides.
  3. Evaluating the structural and textural properties of Antarctic Sea ice from the Marginal Ice Zone of the Southern Ocean during winter and spring seasons. This project involves optimisation of methods and equipment used and using cross polarisation and computer tomography methods.
  4. Evaluating the Mechanical properties of Antarctic Sea ice from the Marginal Ice Zone of the Southern Ocean during winter and spring seasons. This project involves design of specialised spindle-based strain rate-controlled compression jig. This project is in strong collaboration with Institute of Materials Science, University of Duisburg-Essen where a complimentary hydraulic based stress driven compression machine resides.
  5. An investigation of the effect of ice growth on the sea ice algae found during winter in the Marginal Ice Zone of the Southern Ocean. The effect of the sea ice algae on the sea ice texture and structure, particularly the EPS synthesised by the sea ice algae and the distortion of the structure and texture resulting. This is in close collaboration with UCT oceanography department and Université libre de Bruxelles.

 

TK is a PI of the following projects:

  • Design and construction of a motor-actuated sea-ice compression testing machine, project started in 2020 and the optimization of the testing machine is ongoing.
  • Heat transfer analysis on the growth of artificial sea ice using dynamic temperature profiles, project started in 2020 and the optimization of the testing machine is ongoing.
  • Antarctic Sea Ice phytoplankton growth rates and survival mechanisms, project started in 2020 and the testing of the behavior of the sea ice algae under different conditions is ongoing.
  • Factors Influencing the Morphology of Sea Ice, project started in 2020 and the evaluation of the factors under different conditions is ongoing.
  • Evaluation of the Changes in the Crystal Structure of Antarctic Sea Ice from the Marginal Ice Zone during Winter and Spring, project started in 2019 and the evolution of the structure and texture changes over time is ongoing.
  • Design of a Small-Scale System for the Growth of Artificial Sea Ice, project started in 2017 and the optimization of the various lab-based equipment is ongoing.
  • Investigating the dynamics and exchanges across the ice ocean interface in artificial sea ice, project started in 2021 and the evaluation of the dynamics under different conditions is ongoing.
  • Investigating the Brine and Air Porosity Profiles of Antarctic Sea Ice, project started in 2019 and the evaluation of the factors under different conditions is ongoing.

The different spaces that these projects emulate are from SCALE, NRF-SANAP, CRIceS.