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Tonnam Balankura
Total Earnings
PHD Chemical Engineering Pennsylvania State University 2018
| Facilities Engineer Intern
01 Apr 2012 - 01 May 2012 Bangkok, Thailand
When natural gas are mined out, they come with a mixture of liquid oil, water and contaminants such as hydrogen sulfide. The natural gas stream needs to be purified through several separators before it can be sold. These separators have limited capacities and they are spread out among many off-shore platforms. To enhance flexibility of operations, I designed a process control system for split flow of natural gas to different off-shore platforms.
Penn State University
| Materials Simulation PhD Research Assistant
01 Aug 2013 - Present Pennsylvania
Nanomaterials can be used as materials for next-generation photovoltaics and catalysts, although large-scale production requires precise shape-control. In order to scale-up, the understanding of the shape-control mechanism is critical. My research goal is to understand the chemistry and physics that governs the shape-control of nanomaterials production. Advised by Prof. Kristen Fichthorn with collaboration with Prof. Robert Rioux's experimental group. X Qi, T Balankura, Y Zhou, KA Fichthorn. Nano Letters, 2015, 15(11), 7711-7717.
Chulabhorn Research Institute
| Reaction Engineering Research Assistant
01 May 2012 - 01 Aug 2013 Bangkok, Thailand
Glycerol is a low-value side-product from the production of bio-diesel. One profitable pathway to add value is by polymerization to polyglycerols, in which glycerol is simply heated in the presence of a catalyst. From my research, I found that using microwaves to heat up glycerol can yield more uniform polyglycerols compared to conventional heat. With industry funding, I have optimized and patented this process. Advised by Dr. Siwarutt Boonyarattanakalin. S Boonyarattanakalin, T Balankura, S Ruchirawat, DIP (Thailand), 2013, DIP (Thailand) 1301002073.
Projects & Publications
Cast Your Tweet! Predicting the 2016 US Presidential Election From Twitter
09 Apr 2016 to 10 Apr 2016 Link
According to our Twitter analytics, Republican, Donald Trump, wins the 2016 presidential election with 28 states. Hillary Clinton was a close second with 22 states. For the 2016 PSU Hackathon, me and my partner had hoped to predict the presidential election via Twitter. In order to do so, we sampled real-time tweets produced from each state, labeling each unique user tweet as a particular vote for 1 of 4 candidates. For example, tweets that contained the hashtags #ImWithHer, #Hillyes, #Hillarymostqualified or #VoteHillary counted as a tally for Senator Clinton. Using the tweet’s location origin, we also were able to determine the winner by state.
Activities & Interests

Hip Hop dancer and teacher with accomplishments such as semi-finalist team on Thailand’s Got Talent in 2011, which demonstrates ability to work as a team and make tenacious commitment.
Hobbyist game developer at the beginner level.

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