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Amelia MD Som

Amelia MD Som

PhD Research Student

Department Address – Geotechnical Research Offices (GRO), Department of Engineering, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ
College Address - Newnham College, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DF

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 766683


Amelia Md. Som is a professional Chemist and graduated from Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia in 1997 with a First Class Honours Degree in Applied Chemistry following a Diploma in Microbiology from the same university. She then studied for a Master Degree in Environmental Engineering at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia while working full-time as a Chemist in a Civil, Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering Laboratory, Geolab (M) Sdn Bhd.

Her masters research was on the feasibility of using pineapple waste for gibberellic acid production. In Geolab, she was responsible for the operation of three laboratories; Civil, Geology and Chemistry Laboratory. Her work involved environmental monitoring, site investigation and materials and field testing for civil engineering works.

She joined the Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering Research Group at the University of Cambridge in April 2009 as a PhD student, supervised by Dr. Abir Al –Tabbaa, investigating the impact of biochar on soil processes. She is funded by the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust - Special Cambridge Malaysia Bursary and MARA, Malaysia. She is affiliated to Newnham College.

Departments and Institutes

Department of Engineering:

Research Interests

Charcoal is as old as mankind. Its initial use as fuel had initiated countless research efforts into improving its production method. Since 1700, it has been used as adsorbent and starting in 1900 the term activated carbon was used. As the years progress more research has been done to improve it production process and to find the best precursor for its function as an absorber.

Bio-char is charcoal made from biomass. Adding it to the soil has been proposed as a climate change mitigation strategy and as a means of regenerating degraded land. Charcoal as fuel and absorber are well research areas but its use as an environmental tools and its agronomic values require different set of perspectives. Bio-char properties are as diverse as the feedstock it came from. The heat treatment it received gives rise to unique set of physical, chemical and biological properties depending on its process. Bio-char impact on soil processes requires a study on bio-char characterization base on the different feedstock and production processes. Its impact on soil processes will involve analysing how its diverse natures play a role in soil processes.