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Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science project summaries

Supervisor name: Martin Agelin-Chaab, PhD

Project title: Aerodynamic devices that minimize soiling of road vehicles

Summary of research project:

Automotive aerodynamics covers a wider domain than just the aerodynamic forces and moments experienced by vehicles in motion. The deposition of rain, soil and other contaminants, which are influenced by aerodynamics, impairs safety and is of great concern to aerodynamicists. This is more critical with the emergence of autonomous vehicles, which greatly depend on numerous sensors for navigation. The proposed project aims to develop and test active aerodynamic devices and strategies to minimize soiling of surfaces on vehicles that must be kept clean.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

  • Develop active aerodynamic devices to minimize rear surface contamination by dirt-ladden airstream.
  • Use computational fluid dynamics to optimize the devices before 3D printing scale models.
  • Assist in setting up the experiments and calibrating a model wind tunnel for testing.
  • Conduct a number of experiments to test the effectiveness of the devices using the 3D printed models in the wind tunnel.
  • Analyze the experimental data, interpret the results and write a technical report.

Required qualifications (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, skills):

  • Minimum GPA of 3.5 required.
  • Must have taken MECE 2860U: Fluid Mechanics or in the process of taking it.
  • Prior experience working with another professor is an advantage.

Supervisor name: Sayyed Ali Hosseini, PhD

Project title: Finish Machining of Additive Manufactured Metallic Parts

Summary of research project:

Additive manufacturing creates geometries by depositing material layer-by-layer wherever desired. One of the major roadblocks toward the wide application of additive manufactured metallic parts is the lack of dimensional accuracy and poor surface quality, which necessitates post-process finish machining. This project aims to perform an extensive literature review and set up a test configuration to study the effects of post-process finish machining on the surface integrity and dimensional accuracy of machined surface. The participant will acquire extensive literature-review skills along with hands-on experience in setting up machining tests. 

Student responsibilities/tasks:

Student will be stationed in the Machining Research Laboratory and will work directly with the Principal Investigator and his research group. The main task for the student is to gather information pertinent to the machinability of additive manufactured metallic parts. Upon the completion of sourcing information and literature review, the student will be involved in configuring a test setup, including installing a dynamometer on a computer numerical control (CNC) mill and acquiring data using data acquisition card during the machining tests. The student is also responsible for writing reports and manuals. The required training will be provided to ensure safety.

Required qualifications (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, skills):

  • Must have taken and passed MANE 3190U Manufacturing and Production Processes with minimum B+.
  • Interpersonal, teamwork, communication, computer-assisted design (CAD) software, and academic report-writing skills.
  • Preferably familiar with machine tools and manufacturing processes such as turning and milling.

Supervisor name: Akramul Azim, PhD

Project title: Automated Testing of Embedded (real-time) Operating Systems Functionalities

Summary of research project:

Embedded systems are used to control, monitor or assist the operation of equipment, machinery or plant. Modern embedded systems are quickly evolving into complex arrangements of interconnected powerful and heterogeneous devices. This trend brings great opportunities for deploying advanced functionality, but at the same time, it places more reliance on the operating systems. Technologies like autonomous driving rely heavily on embedded operating systems. This project aims to build automated testing tools and applications for validating different operating system functionalities, including a hardware-in-the-loop testing framework for it.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

  • Configure/ set-up experimental platforms and develop tools/prototypes.

Required qualifications (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, skills):

  • Good systems programming skills.

Supervisor name: Ibrahim Dincer, PhD

Project title: Building a Solar Hydrogen Reactor

Summary of research project:

Due to increasing environmental challenges, hydrogen is proposed as a potential solution. Although there are conventional hydrogen production methods (e.g. steam methane reforming (SMR)), there has been increasing interest in coupling solar energy with photonic technology for hydrogen production. In this summer work, the student is expected to design, build and test a solar photonic reactor for hydrogen production in a cost-effective, efficient and environmentally-friendly manner. In this regard, both theoretical (through thermodynamic analysis, including energy and exergy analyses) and experimental measurements are to be conducted.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

  • Assisting system development phase, including literature survey.
  • Assisting experimental setup model drawing and building.
  • Performing thermodynamic calculations.
  • Data collection and analysis.

Required qualifications (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, skills):

  • MATLAB, EES, CAD package.
  • Strong background in thermodynamics and energy systems.

Supervisor name: Amirkianoosh Kiani, PhD

Project title: Electropun nanofibers Enhanced by Graphene Nano-Plate for Optical Sensor Fabrication

Summary of research project:

This project introduces a new method for nanofibrous materials fabrication with controlled electrical conductivity via electro-spinning technique of graphene-infused polymer at varying graphene content. Graphene-enhanced nanofibers will be generated by electrospinning poly(e-caprolactone) (PCL) mixed with graphene micro and nano particles and measured to show improved conductivity and optical response as graphene content increases. This method can be used for better optical nano-sensors and photonic devices.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

This position comprises technical and analytical research related to many aspects within the lab, such fabrication techniques, microscopy, and basic statistical techniques. The successful candidate will perform research to develop new methods for nano-materials fabrication and validate these models using materials characterization techniques. Duties will include the design and performance of experiments; data collection and data analysis; interdisciplinary collaboration and managing laboratory affairs. The candidate should display a positive, proactive attitude, and a desire to work as part of a team in a goal-setting environment.

Required qualifications (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, skills):

N/A

Supervisor name: Haoxiang Lang, PhD

Project title: Design and development of an visual perception and object localization device for
autonomous systems

Summary of research project:

Vision is a powerful sensor as it can mimic the human sense of vision and allow noncontact measurement of 
the working environment. It is widely used in industrial control and robotics applications.  

This project involves mapping environment and locating objects using vision and radio frequency identification (RFID). A compact device needs to be designed and developed that includes stereo vision, a micro-controller, and a long distance RF reader. 

The expected system can simutaneously map the dynamic environment and locate objects with ultra-high frequeny tags. The implementations can be in autonomous robots and self-driving vechicle applications.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

  • Mechanical and electrical design; system integration; other duties as assigned.

Required qualifications (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, skills):

  • Students with experice in vision, signal processing, mechanical design and microcontrollers. 

Supervisor name: Xianke Li, PhD

Project title: Intelligent power management for autonomous and connected vehicle

Summary of research project:

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are expected to play an increasingly critical role in the future of urban transport systems. As more and more AVs appear on the roads in the near future, AVs become connected with the support of various vehicular communication technologies and they possess high degree of control to respond to instantaneous situations co-operatively with high efficiency and flexibility. The objectives of this research program is to lower the overall energy consumption of the autonomous transportation system. Thus, it is urgently necessary to explore the large-scale real-time intelligent power management for connected autonomous vehicles.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

  • Carry out experiments and simulations.
  • Prepare progress reports.
  • Write and edit materials for publication and presentation.
  • Meet with faculty supervisor on regular basis to maintain ongoing communication regarding the quality of the assistant’s performance.
  • Perform other related duties as required.

Required qualifications (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, skills):

  • Subject knowledge and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress.
  • Ability to work independently and solve issues that arise during the course of the research.
  • Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis.
  • Strong organizational and interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent computer skills in general, and especially experience with Matlab, C, C++ and Java, C#.
  • Minimum GPA: 3.2.

Supervisor name: Brendan MacDonald, PhD

Project title: Testing and analysis of external heat engines

Summary of research project:

External heat engines, such as Stirling and Ericsson engines, have the potential to provide sustainable power and combat climate change. Since the heat source is external, a wide range of sources can be used, including sustainable options such as solar thermal and biomass. The flexibility also makes the engines more reliable, since a number of heat sources can be used interchangeably. The work will involve experimental hands-on work, along with some theoretical numerical analysis (primarily thermodynamics and heat transfer). The testing will be on various components of external heat engines, to enhance the performance of future engine designs.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

The work will involve some experimental hands-on research, along with some theoretical numerical analysis (primarily thermodynamics and heat transfer). The testing and modelling will be on various components of external heat engines, to enhance the performance of future engine designs.

Required qualifications (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, skills):

The two most important attributes to work in my lab are curiosity and honesty. For this project it is preferable if students have some previous hands-on experience, and have taken a thermodynamics and/or heat transfer course.

Supervisor name: Ruth Milman, PhD

Project title: Quad-copter flight for power line monitoring

Summary of research project:

Overhead power lines are widely used for power distribution throughout North America and the world.   Aging infrastructure makes inspection and early detection of faulty equipment critical. This project explores the use of quad-copters with multiple sensors attached in order to fly around the hydro towers and perform these inspections. This project is part of a larger scale research project. The summer student will work as part of a team. There are various areas of interest in this project and the student may work within different areas of the project.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

Student can work within different areas of the project, including processing of sensor images, quad-copter flight and controller programming,

Required qualifications (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, skills):

Students must have completed second year and have a working knowledge of Matlab.

Supervisor name: Scott Nokleby, PhD

Project title: Development of an Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (AUAV) for an Autonomous Amphibious Robot (AAR)

Summary of research project:

The goal of this project is to develop an Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (AUAV) that will launch and land from an Autonomous Amphibious Robot (AAR). The AUAV will be used to take aerial photos of the littoral zone (the area between land and water). These images will be used by the AAR to autonomously navigate through the littoral zone from land to water and vice-versa. The Robot Operating System (ROS) will be used to develop the software to control the AUAV and allow for interactions with the AAR..

Student responsibilities/tasks:

The successful candidate will focus on research tasks related to the design and development of novel robotic systems, which may include tasks related to the design, analysis, assessment, modeling and development of novel or innovative products, processes, and/or systems. Duties include, but are not limited to: designing, developing and building lab-scale equipment prototypes; programming; designing and conducting experiments; analyzing results; and writing reports.

Required qualifications (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, skills):

The successful candidate must have very strong engineering, design, mathematics, programming, and written/oral English communication skills. Robotics experience along with experience with UAVs and Robot Operating System (ROS) would be an asset.

Supervisor name: Ghaus Rizvi, PhD

Project title: Electrospinning of Nano Fibers Reinforced with Cellulose Nano Whiskers (CNW)

Summary of research project:

Electrospinning is extensively used for fabricating micro and nano fibers. This research project involves: producing material formulations in which CNW are dispersed by using proper surfactants and ultra-sound energy; electrospinning this material under large electric potentials; collection of fibers on a rotating drum to obtain thin sheets of the deposited fibers; finally undertaking characterization and analysis activities so that effects of various parameters can be evaluated. This study will lead to development of novel materials for applications such as tissue scaffolds, electronic components, filtration, etc.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

The researcher’s responsibilities include preparing material formulations and using these for producing and collecting electro-spun fibers on a rotating drum. A thin sheet is obtained from the drum once the process is complete. Specimen from this film will be used for characterization studies. The characterization will involve use of image analysis and mechanical testing on a dynamic mechanical analyzer (DMA), among other equipment. Finally, data analysis will be carried out.

Required qualifications (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, skills):

Completed two years of Engineering with good grades.

Supervisor name: Carlos Rossa, PhD

Project title: Development of a smart helmet for structural firefighters in hazardous environments for simultaneous localization and mapping

Summary of research project:

In partnership with the City of Oshawa and Oshawa Fire Services, we are designing a smart helmet to guide a firefighter in an unknown environment. The helmet has mounted sensors, such as laser scanners, ultrasonic sensors, and inertial measurement units, that are used to create a map of the environment and their surroundings to locate walls and obstacles. Then, an algorithm will be implemented to determine the easiest way towards the exit, or from the exit towards the current location. The created map can then be shared with other rescuers.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

Develop a full functional prototype of the sensorized helmet, work on sensor integration and fusion, program and control the helmet in Matlab or Arduino, test and validate the complete system

Required qualifications (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, skills):

A background in mechatronics/electrical engineering and a strong interest in robotics, sensors, programming, and control systems are required. See biomechatronics.ca for more information.

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