Skip Navigation

Texas A&M at Qatar student researchers win outstanding thesis award

Published May 21, 2020


Rahul Balamurugan (second from left) and Fatima Al-Janahi (far right) win Undergraduate Research Scholars Outstanding Thesis Award. Photo taken November 2019.

Texas A&M University at Qatar electrical engineering students Fatima Al-Janahi and Rahul Balamurugan received the Undergraduate Research Scholars Outstanding Thesis Award in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) from Texas A&M’s main campus for their research that could prevent electrical hazards that threaten personnel and property.

Al-Janahi and Balamurugan, who were named Texas A&M Undergraduate Research Scholars and who both graduated earlier this month, presented their thesis, “Characterizing Photovoltaic System Arc-Faults,” during the LAUNCH Undergraduate Research Symposium in Texas in late February.

The team worked with Dr. Robert S. Balog, associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Program, on the project, automating a testbed to generate dc (direct current) arcs to study photovoltaic (PV) arc faults. When an arc fault occurs, it creates an electrical hazard that threatens personnel and property and could lead to a fire if not detected and mitigated. The aim of the project is to develop a system that allows researchers and manufacturers to study the electrical properties of PV system arcs and test their detection algorithms inside the lab without having to wait for an actual failure in a deployed solar array. This project was made possible by a grant UREP24-023-2-010 from the Qatar National Research Fund.