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Crisis Centre

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science project summaries

Supervisor name: Martin Agelin-Chaab, PhD
Project title:
Active aerodynamic drag reduction devices for road vehicles

Summary of research project:
Up to 50 per cent of the fuel in road vehicles is used to overcome aerodynamic drag. To improve fuel efficiency and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, drag reduction strategies can be employed. While there are both passive and active flow control devices, the latter holds the key to achieving significant drag reduction as passive shape optimization of vehicles is now close to an optimum. Indeed, active aerodynamic devices are the future of road vehicle aerodynamics, especially with the emergence of autonomous vehicles. The proposed project, therefore, aims to develop and test active drag reduction devices and strategies for road vehicles.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

  • Develop active aerodynamic drag reduction devices for road vehicles.
  • Use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to optimize the devices before 3D printing 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.
  • Analyze the experimental data, interpret the results and write a technical report.

Student qualifications (i.e. courses completed, minimum grades, skills required): 

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

Supervisor name: Akramul Azim, PhD
Project title:
Heterogeneous embedded computing cluster for Internet of Things

Summary of research project:
Using heterogeneous computing to accelerate highly complex computational processes is useful in affordable multicore and General-Purpose Graphics Processing Unit (GPGPU)-based technologies. A heterogeneous architecture offers different types of processing elements to be present in a system. Some processing can be run in parallel while others can run in sequential. The heterogeneous architecture offers an affordable solution to many applications. In this project, student is expected to set up a heterogeneous architecture, analyze the benefits, and demonstrate the advantages by implementing computationally intensive applications.

Student responsibilities/tasks:
Configure/set up experimental platforms and develop tools/prototypes.

Student qualifications (i.e. courses completed, minimum grades, skills required):
Good programming and systems skills.

Supervisor name: Ibrahim Dincer, PhD
Project title:
Performance Assessment of Solar Hydrogen Production Reactor

Summary of research project:
There is strong need for carbon-free fuels (particularly for hydrogen production) as integrated with renewable energy sources, e.g., solar. Such sustainable hydrogen production represents a major potential to address global energy challenges. However, there are various technical and practical challenges as to be addressed. In this project, we aim to design, build and test new solar light driven reactor for hydrogen production in a cost-effective, efficient, and environmental-friendly manner. In this regard, both theoretical (through thermodynamic analysis, including energy and exergy analyses) and experimental studies are to be conducted.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

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

Student qualifications (i.e. courses completed, minimum grades, skills required):

  • MATLAB, EES, CAD package
  • Strong background in Thermodynamics and Energy Systems.

Supervisor name: Walid Morsi Ibrahim, PhD
Project title:
Impact assessment of integrating plug-in electric vehicles into smart grids

Summary of research project:
Plug-in electric vehicle currently available in the market are considered environmentally friendly; however, they may degrade the quality of the electric power delivered to the consumers. In this research project, the impact of electric vehicle on the electric power quality is investigated and potential impacts on the grid will be assessed.

Student responsibilities/tasks: 
The student is expected to be working on monitoring the power and energy from the plug-in electric vehicles and will perform power quality assessment and perform compliance testing to power quality benchmarks and technical standards.

Student qualifications (i.e. courses completed, minimum grades, skills required): 
ELEE 2200 Electric Engineering Fundamentals.

Supervisor name: Amirkianoosh Kiani, PhD
Project title:
Enhancing lubricant properties by nanoparticle additives

Summary of research project:
Lubricant nano-additives can reduce wear and increase load-carrying capacity of base oil remarkably; various types of nanoparticles were used to prepare nano lubricants, including polymers, metals, and organic and inorganic materials. An experimental investigation will be performed into the tribological properties of mineral oil lubricants containing metallic and/or carbon-based nanoparticles additives with various concentrations (wt.%). The effect of the size and morphology of nanoparticles suspended in lubricating oils on the lubrication performance at contact interfaces will be examined by appropriate tribology tests.

Student responsibilities/tasks:
This position includes technical and analytical research related to many aspects within the lab, such as lubricants, organic and inorganic materials, tribological properties and materials characterization techniques to evaluate the properties of oils/lubricants enhanced by nanoparticles. The work is provided with general instruction and the Research Assistant and supervisor must make choices about how the work will be completed within set deadlines. The candidate should display a positive, proactive attitude, a desire to work as part of a team, and to work closely with graduate students and professors in a goal-setting environment.

Student qualifications (i.e. courses completed, minimum grades, skills required):

  • Undergraduate student in Manufacturing, Energy or Mechanical Engineering.
  • Experience in advanced manufacturing or related field preferred.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, and fluent in English.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint) and Internet skills.

Supervisor name: Haoxiang Lang, PhD
Project title:
Design and development of a 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 non-contact measurement of the working environment. It is widely used in industrial control and robotics applications. This project involves mapping the environment and locating objects using vision and radio-frequency identification (RFID). A compact device needs to be designed and developed; it must include stereo vision, a micro-controller, and a long distance RF reader. The expected system can simultaneously map the dynamic environment and locate objects with ultra-high frequency tags. The implementations can be in autonomous robots and self-driving vehicle applications.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

  • Mechanical and electrical design.
  • System integration.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Student qualifications (i.e. courses completed, minimum grades, skills required):
Students in FEAS, with experience in vision, signal processing, mechanical design and microcontrollers. 

Supervisor name: Brendan D. MacDonald, PhD
Project title: Biomimicry for evaporative cooling technology

Summary of research project: 
Evaporative cooling technology is being designed to provide highly effective cooling strategies for emerging technologies. Advanced robotics and microelectronic devices require advanced thermal management strategies to cool the increasingly dense power loads they have. We use the designs from nature to inform our designs and advance the cooling technology.

Student responsibilities/tasks: 
The tasks involve some theoretical/modelling work and some build/experimental activities. The specific tasks will be assigned based on the student preference and skill. The goal is to test new cooling strategies to push the thermal management capability forward.

Student qualifications (i.e. courses completed, minimum grades, skills required):
Ideally, students should have taken the Heat Transfer course. Otherwise, a strong curiosity, passion for discovery, and honesty are the most important characteristics.

Supervisor name: Atef Mohany, PhD
Project title:
Development of an Innovative Pulse-Electro Thermal De-Icing for Automotive Application

Summary of research project:
Frost or ice attachment to structures can cause unpredicted loads or limited visibility in many engineering applications such as airplanes, cars, bridges, wind turbines and high-voltage power lines. When frost occurs over the windshield of a car, it requires a significant amount of time and energy to efficiently remove the ice. Therefore, the main objective of this project is to experimentally investigate the use an innovative Pulse-Electro Thermal De-Icing (PETD) technique in automotive applications.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

  • Assist in the design and manufacturing of the experimental setup.
  • Conduct experimental measurements.
  • Analyze the experimental data.
  • Prepare report/presentation for the industrial partner.

Student qualifications (i.e. courses completed, minimum grades, skills required)

  • GPA of 3.3 or higher.
  • Students in third year are preferred.
  • Experience with electrical circuits.

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.

Student qualifications (i.e. courses completed, minimum grades, skills required):
The successful candidate must have very strong engineering, design, mathematics, programming, and written/oral English communication skills. Robotics experience along with experience with the Robot Operating System (ROS) are definite assets.

Supervisor name: Carlos Rossa, PhD
Project title:
Development of a robotic system for rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders

Summary of research project:
This research will develop new robotic rehabilitation devices to treat musculoskeletal disorders. These systems will be controlled remotely, enabling a home-based patient and a hospital-based therapist to physically interact via a teleoperation network. Thanks to the use of force-feedback, the patient feels the forces applied by the therapist (and vice-versa) as if they were interacting directly with each other. The proposed research will add a new dimension to telemedicine by enabling patients and therapist to interact physically through a teleoperation scheme and will allow patients to receive physical therapy from their homes.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

  • Develop, build, and test a robotic system for upper limb rehabilitation using two haptic devices available in the BioMechatronics lab (www.biomechatronics.ca).
  • Characterize the devices, implement a real-time control scheme using matlab, and document the results.
  • Implement a teleoperation scheme and validate the concepts with user experiments.

Student qualifications (i.e. courses completed, minimum grades, skills required): 

Past experience with CAD, matlab, programming, 3D printing, and real-time control would be appreciated.

Supervisor name: Jaho Seo, PhD
Project title:
Modeling and Control for an Autonomous Operation in Agricultural Machinery

Summary of research project:
To improve productivity and precision in agricultural tasks, the proposed project will deal with advanced and reliable autonomous functions for agricultural machinery that is usually exposed to complex environmental conditions. As a methodology for this project, literature reviews will be firstly conducted to identify the state-of-the-art technologies developed in the related areas, and then modeling of a dynamics system and design of control algorithms will be carried out for autonomous operations of manipulators in agricultural harvesting machinery. Finally, the developed model and controller will be evaluated through simulation studies.

Student responsibilities/tasks:
The main tasks that students will carry out include:

  • Providing a brief literature view on recent studies in autonomous agricultural harvesting machinery.
  • Doing kinematic analysis of manipulators in the harvesting machinery.
  • Designing basic motion control algorithms for autonomous operations with the manipulators.
  • Verifying the performance of developed controllers by simulation using MATLAB/Simulink.

Student qualifications (i.e. courses completed, minimum grades, skills required):
Applicants should successfully complete the courses of Kinematics and Dynamics of Machines and Control Systems. The applicants who took the course of Robotics and Automation, and are good at utilizing the MATLAB/Simulink tool, will be considered first.

Supervisor name: Shahram ShahbazPanahi, PhD
Project title:
Optimal multi-carrier relay-assisted wireless communications.

Summary of research project:
The goal of this research project is to find the structure of optimal beamforming matrix using a relay, which aims to establish a one-way or two-way communication between two nodes. The student will use his/her mathematical skills to solve the problem of optimal resource allocation and network beamforming in a relay-assisted communication scheme.

Student responsibilities/tasks:
The student will conduct a literature survey on the area of relay-assisted multi-carrier communications. Then he or she will aim to solve the resource allocation problem using mathematical techniques such as Lagrange multiplier techniques.

Student qualifications (i.e. courses completed, minimum grades, skills required):
The student must be in third year, with a GPA of 3.9 or higher. He or she must have a strong mathematical background and must have passed ELEE 3110 with a very good mark.

Supervisor name: Sheldon S. Williamson, PhD
Project title:
Design and development of a wireless charging infrastructure for long-range autonomous electric drones

Summary of research project:
Autonomous electric drones (e-drones) are being used today for several applications. However, the major roadblocks of using e-drones for longer missions include:

  • Limited operating range of the battery pack; and
  • Long charging times or battery swapping.

Wireless charging offers convenience, safety, flexibility and weather immunity in charging e-drones. Because charging takes place frequently, e-drones can fly the same distance, or even longer distances with smaller, lighter battery packs; this will potentially drastically reduce overall cost of the drone itself. Moreover, the battery life is extended by reducing the depth of discharge.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

  • Preliminary design of wireless inductive fast charge couplers (rated up to standard 3.7 kW).
  • Realization of a grid-connected wireless charge port.
  • Design and development of the power electronics.
  • Overall design and testing for varied flying routes in ACE.

Student qualifications (i.e. courses completed, minimum grades, skills required): 

  • Minimum GPA of 3.7.
  • Courses completed: Electric Circuits, Electric Machines, Control Systems, and Power Systems.

Supervisor name: Mohamed Youssef, PhD
Project title:
Single Stage Solar Battery charger with Maximum Power Point Tracking for Energy Harvesting applications

Summary of research project:
Internet of Things (IoT)-based sensor nodes rely on harvesting the energy form photovoltaic cell(s) to power its circuitries and recharge a small internal battery as an intermediate storage. Many circuit topologies and algorithms are introduced to perform such functionality, which can be either linear low drop out voltage regulators; charge pump converters; or DC-DC switch mode power supplies. Although all of these converters are capable of meeting their design target, all of them are based on two-stage configuration, which increases the cost of such low-cost systems. Therefore, it is the project’s target to implement a low-cost single-stage converter.

Student responsibilities/tasks:

  • Design a case study.
  • Simulate the developed converter model.

Student qualifications (i.e. courses completed, minimum grades, skills required): 
Preferably an upper-year student.

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