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TTU News

In a land where the vast majority of gross domestic product is generated by oil and gas and associated industrial activities, Mohamed Abdelrahman, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will spend six months sharing expertise developed at Tennessee Tech about how to maintain pipelines.

Abdelrahman will travel to the Middle Eastern country of Qatar, a peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, after being awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant for the 2006-07 academic year.  He will begin a six-month visit to the University of Qatar in January.

"With oil prices going up, it is important that oil-producing countries learn how you can develop robots to inspect pipelines," said Abdelrahman. "Robots can be used very effectively for pipeline cleanup and inspection."

Abdelrahman and Mechanical Engineering Professor Stephen Canfield began the first university course at TTU featuring featuring mechatronics, the integration of various engineering disciplines, including electronics, controls, computers and mechanical systems. The course evolved into a multidisciplinary senior design course and has given Abdelrahman extensive experience in how to help other universities set up similar courses.

"The country of Qatar is only about three times as big as Putnam County, but it is a major OPEC player in producing oil and gas," said Abdelrahman.

"I might not change the face of the way they do things in six months, but I can tie our TTU research to education in Qatar and help them develop courses and train their own engineers in mechatronics. In this way, we can affect the future of the oil and gas industry in that country."

Abdelrahman is one of approximately 800 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright Scholar Program. Established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program's purpose is to build mutual understanding between people of the United States and the rest of the world.