Engineering staff wins best PhD presentation

Zakhele Zondi

In July 2022, Zakhele Zondi, a Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, won the Best Presentation award for his PhD presentation at the Cape Peninsula University (CPUT), in the Western Cape. Zondi was making a presentation with other students in the same level of study. Zondi’s research topic is the Modelling of a mass absorber to suppress wind-induced vibrations of transmission line conductors. An overhead power line is a structure used in electric power transmission and distribution to transmit electrical energy along large distances. This research topic discusses the investigation of an asymmetric Stockbridge damper that is used to suppress wind-induced vibrations on slender structures such as overhead power lines. The transmission lines vibrate because of wind motion and this causes fatigue failure to transmission lines usually at the suspension clamp where the maximum stress occurs.

Zondi says the objective of the study is to conduct experiments on a modified Stockbridge damper that would work more efficiently than the current dampers. “The effectiveness of the damper depends on the number of resonance frequencies produced by it. The current dampers are producing four resonance frequencies to absorb vibration from the overhead power line. The one that I need to design would produce six resonance frequencies to absorb vibrations from overhead power lines,” said Zondi. Zondi added that companies like Eskom would benefit by using the newly designed damper to protect transmission lines so that the transmission lines would last longer.

Zondi said what made his presentation to be successful was the confidence he had about his work, “I was not reading the slides; I presented my knowledge about my work. My presentation contained all important topics and sub-topics,” said Zondi. Zondi said he covered a lot in the 10 minutes they were given: the introduction, problem statement, the main aim of the study, research objectives, hypotheses, the research gap, and the significance of the study, literature review, methodology, results, and conclusion. The presentation was virtual. Zondi thinks there must have been about 20 students that made their presentations.

Zondi did his MEng at CPUT.