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Undergraduate Research: Mechanical Engineering

Click on the title for full description of SURE 2016 projects in Mechanical Engineering.

MECH-001: Design of a Test Bench for Testing Epicyclical Bevel-gear and Spherical Cam-Roller Mechanisms for Automotive Differential Applications
Professor:   Jorge Angeles
E-mail:  angeles [at] cim [dot] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6315

Research Area:  Automotive drive train test bench design


Description:  In the Robotic Mechanical Systems Laboratory of the Centre for Intelligent Machines an innovative mechanical transmission system with two degrees of freedom was developed, to be used as a substitute for automotive differentials. This is achieved by replacing the bevel gears of current differentials by spherical cam-roller mechanisms. The novel mechanism offers a reduction of the envelope volume, a major design goal in electric vehicles. Compared with gear transmissions, cam-roller mechanisms feature lower friction, lower backlash, and higher load-carrying capacity.

Tasks:  1) To design a test bench capable of accommodating either a conventional bevel-gear automotive differential or the cam-roller mechanism, for the purpose of testing and analysis of performance of both devices; 2) To design the interface for connection of the test bench with either of the aforementioned mechanisms; 3) To design interfaces for connection of the input shafts of the mechanisms with the driving motor and the payload; 2) To produce the CAD manufacturing drawings.

Deliverables:  A set of detailed CAD drawings and the Bill of Materials.

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-002: Fabrication and testing of bio-inspired ceramics and glasses
Professor:   Francois Barthelat
E-mail:  francois [dot] barthelat [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6318
Website

Research Area:  Materials Science / Bioengineering


Description:  We are collaborating with companies on the development of novel bio-inspired ceramics and glasses for applications in touch screens, coatings, safety glasses, eyewear and flexible protective layers. These new materials draw inspiration from natural materials such as seashells, bone, teeth and scales to generate new combinations of mechanical properties and very high performance for targeted applications. Your contribution to this project will be to design and fabricate novel bio-inspired glass and ceramic composites using innovative fabrication methods based on three dimensional laser engraving and 3D printing. You will also characterize the performance of these new materials using our mechanical testing facilities (small scale testing, optical methods, impact testing). Interactions with graduate students, McGill collaborators and industrial partners.

Tasks:  1) Material fabrication and testing 2) Analyze experimental data 3) Present your progress in weekly group meetings 4) Poster presentation 5) Possible contribution to a research article

Deliverables:  1) Poster 2) Possible contribution to a research article

Number of positions:  3
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-003: Development Of Reduced Model For Prediction Of Pollutant Emissions
Professor:   Jeffrey Bergthorson
E-mail:  jeff [dot] bergthorson [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-003

Research Area:  Combustion


Description:  The analyses of pollutant emissions are extremely important in land-based gas turbines. Certification standards continuously enforce strict requirements with regard to NOx, CO and UHCs emissions. For this reason it is essential for industrial gas turbine companies to predict such emissions during the development phase of an engine using methods that involve Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Currently, there are models that can help with these predictions, but they are quite detailed (numerous species and reactions) and therefore are computationally expensive. The objective of this project is to develop a reduced model within the Cantera software package that could be versatile in setting various species in steady state to reduce the computational cost of chemistry solutions. The model will have to be validated against different full models such as GRI30.

Tasks:  Use combustion theory to understand detailed combustion modelling Use concept of steady-state approximation to develop reduced model Implement these equations in a solver within Cantera

Deliverables:  A software code that allows for a reduced mechanism to be used to predict combustion and pollutant emissions within Cantera

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-004: Combustion of Metal Particle Fuel Suspensions
Professor:   Jeffrey Bergthorson
E-mail:  jeff [dot] bergthorson [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-2003
Website

Research Area:  Energy


Description:  Metal powders can burn with air to serve as a zero-carbon-emission fuel. The metal oxides formed during combustion can then be recycled back to metal powder to complete the fuel cycle. This project involves experimental and analytical studies of both stationary flames, using a stabilized burner or counterflow apparatus, and propagating flames, in a spherical dust-air mixture contained within a balloon or in a dust-air cloud in the free field. The goal is to determine the fundamental flame propagation properties experimentally, including flame speed and structure, in dust-air mixtures and compare the results with predictions from analytical and numerical models. Hybrid mixtures of dust with a combustible gas mixture will also be studied. Various optical diagnostics will be used, as well as in-situ thermocouples, to probe the thermal structure of the flame.

Tasks:  Carry out experiments with dust-air mixtures to determine the fundamental properties of dust-air flames. One student will focus on stationary flames and the other on propagating flames.

Deliverables:  Prepare a comprehensive report presenting results (both data and analysis) from the flame tests.

Number of positions:  2
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-005: Reaction of Metal Powders with Water for Sustainable Hydrogen Production
Professor:   Jeffrey Bergthorson
E-mail:  jeff [dot] bergthorson [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-2003
Website

Research Area:  Energy


Description:  Metal powders can react with water, releasing energy and producing hot hydrogen gas. The hydrogen gas can then be used in a fuel cell or burned with air to release additional energy to power an internal or external combustion engine. The metal oxides and hydroxides produced can then be converted back to metal powder to produce a sustainable energy carrier cycle with a zero carbon footprint. This project involves measuring the hydrogen production rate from metal-water reactions within a high-pressure reactor. An apparatus has recently been constructed to study the metal-water reactions at pressures and temperatures up to the supercritical regime. The goal is to determine the reaction rate in metal-water mixtures and how it depends on the type, size, and shape of the metal particles and the initial temperature and pressure.

Tasks:  Carry out experiments with a metal-water reactor using various metal powders, including Al, Mn, Mg, Si-Fe, and B, and measure the hydrogen production rates

Deliverables:  Prepare a comprehensive report presenting results (both data and analysis) from the metal-water reactor tests

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2

MECH-006: Spectral absorption measurements in particle cloud combustion
Professor:   David Frost
E-mail:  david [dot] frost [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6279

Research Area:  Energy


Description:  The key diagnostic capabilities for the characterization of solid fuel combustion are the measurement of temperature and the ability to monitor the chemical species that evolve. In the combustion of particles premixed in a gaseous oxidizer, there is potentially a separation of the temperatures of the gas- and the solid-phase which requires diagnostics which can differentiate between the two. One method of gas-phase temperature measurement is the addition of tracer materials and gases into the fuel mixture which introduce atomic and diatomic species which can be probed in absorption by a broadband laser source and fit to spectral models. The student will identify key suitable tracer materials and gases and verify absorption measurements in flames of known temperatures. The student will then demonstrate the technique in a dust combustion environment.

Tasks:  Carry out experiments with an existing flat dust flame apparatus using optical diagnostics to determine gas and solid particle temperatures.

Deliverables:  Prepare a comprehensive report presenting results (both data and analysis) from the spectral absorption tests

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-007: Bonded repairs of composite structures – preliminary processing study towards an industrial demonstrator
Professor:   Pascal Hubert
E-mail:  pascal [dot] hubert [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6303

Research Area:  Composites


Description:  Composite materials (carbon fibers – epoxy matrix) are increasingly being used for aerospace components because of their weight saving potential and superior mechanical properties over conventional metallic alloys. During service life, flying structures are prone to damage and more confidence is required in repair procedures of primary composite structures. As part of a larger research project involving industrial partners, the McGill research team focuses on the processing aspects involved in repair conditions. Several processing parameters have already been identified in structural bonded repairs of monolithic panels to mitigate void formation and improve strength recovery. In this study, repairs with a representative architecture of semi-impregnated prepregs will be performed in a lab environment to prepare the repair of a composite aerospace component. Then, the quality of repairs will be assessed by optical microscopy and radiography. Mechanical tests will be also performed to assess the strength of the repairs of various qualities. Finally, this knowledge will come in handy to design, perform, and assess repairs of a section of an industrial composite structural part.

Tasks:  With the support of two graduate students and the lab team, you will: - Manufacture composite parent structures and bonded scarf repairs. - Perform mechanical testing of repaired specimens. - Analyze bonded repair quality and failure modes. - Support the team in repairing a section of an industrial airframe.

Deliverables:  - One written report - One oral presentation

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 1, Year 2, Year 3

MECH-008: Processing of Recycled Aerospace Advanced Carbon Fibre Composites Materials
Professor:    Pascal Hubert
E-mail:  pascal [dot] hubert [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6303

Research Area:  Composites


Description:  Composite materials have been implemented with great success to reduce aircraft weight through their great specific properties, their mechanical tailorability, and their ability to reduce assembly part count. That being said, fabrication of composite aircraft structures through the use of pre-impregnated fabrics results in large amounts of uncured waste. This manufacturing waste presents an excellent opportunity for recovery and recycling. In this project, the SURE recipient will be required to perform squeeze flow experiments on a discontinuous composite recyclate to determine suitable processing conditions for production of geometrically complex compression-moulded parts.

Tasks:  With the support of a PhD student and the lab team: - Prepare and test carbon fibre – epoxy samples in squeeze flow - Manufacture recycled panels for mechanical characterization

Deliverables:  - One written report - One oral presentation to be presented to the composites research group

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 1, Year 2, Year 3

MECH-009: Out-of-Autoclave Processing of Composite Sandwich Structures for Space Applications
Professor:    Pascal Hubert
E-mail:  pascal [dot] hubert [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6303

Research Area:  Composites


Description:  Space Structures must be designed to resist the harsh space environment, which includes atomic oxygen, ionizing radiation, plasma, charged particle plasma, neutral atomic and molecular particles, and micrometeoroids or man-made debris. Composite materials for space structures are typically made of two constituents: fibres and epoxy resin. These materials are able to meet the stringent design requirements for these structures, which include high stiffness, low thermal expansion and high dimensional stability. Out-Of-Autoclave (OOA) processing is an alternative to the use of traditional autoclave to manufacture composite parts. With OOA, it would be possible to build large and complex structures while significantly reducing the processing costs. As part of a larger research project involving two major industrial partners and Concordia University, the McGill research team focuses on the processing aspects and characterization of new materials for space applications. New composite material systems have been selected and need to be characterized by measuring their processing properties such as the glass transition temperature (Tg) and the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE). Other information of interest is the mass loss of the material (volatiles), evolution of viscosity and gel point, permeability and the change of thickness before, during and after cure. Different equipment will be used to characterize these new materials. Custom fixtures and sensors will also be used to obtain processing parameters through a DAQ. The material characterization data will then be analyzed and process models can be developed. The objective is to develop models that predict defect formation during the processing of the laminates with OOA processing.

Tasks:  With the support of a PhD, a Master’s student, and the lab team: - Preparation of resin samples to measure the mass loss, cure rate, Tg, viscosity and determination of gel point, and CTE. - Manufacture of composite sandwich panels to measure the bulk factor (change of thickness during cure). Coupons will be prepared form these panels to measure CTE. - Manufacture of composite panels using a fixture to measure permeability of the material. - Gather and analyze data obtained from each of the experiments.

Deliverables:  - One written report - One oral presentation

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 1, Year 2, Year 3

MECH-010:  Shock-waves in elastodynamics
Professor:    Mathias Legrand
E-mail:  mathias [dot] legrand [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-5321

Research Area:  Nonlinear dynamics of structures with unilateral contact constraints


Description:  The objective of this project is to investigate and implement Finite Volume Methods (FVM) [1] to numerically simulate the propagation of shock waves in multidimensional elastodynamics. The primary interest is to numerically evaluate dispersion and dissipation properties of the FVM. The student will have to review the available literature on FVM used in elastodynamics and implement the most promising methods dedicated to the propagation of shock waves in elastic solids [2]. Lastly, the student will carry out a systematic comparison of the obtained results to the open source library CLAWPACK [3]. This project will give the student the opportunity to become familiar with key notions in shock wave propagation. [1] R. J. LeVeque. Finite Volume Methods for Hyperbolic Problems. Cambridge University Press, 2002. [2] R. J. LeVeque. Finite-volume methods for non-linear elasticity in heterogeneous media. International Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids, 40(1-2):93–104, 2002. [3] Conservation Laws Package, http://www.clawpack.org/

Tasks:  Python programming, Literature review, Numerical analysis

Deliverables:  Python scripts Project report Oral presentation in the lab

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-011:  Composite Musical Instruments
Professor:   Larry Lessard
E-mail:  Larry [dot] Lessard [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6305
Website

Research Area:  Composite Materials


Description:  The goal of this project is to design improved musical instruments using a combination of new materials and improved measurement/evaluation methods. The use of advanced composite materials is one way to make significant improvements in musical instruments, especially stringed instruments such as the guitar and the violin. Composite materials have inherent design flexibility that can be advantageous when designing instruments. It is expected that, using composites, a musical instrument can be designed with the right combination of properties such as stiffness, strength, damping and resulting frequency response. However, establishing the design criteria is not obvious and must be approached by investigating the perception of the response of an instrument. The overall response of a music instrument is complex, so acoustic analysis and measurement methods must be developed. In summary, this is a multidisciplinary project that combines knowledge from different mechanical engineering technologies, as well as music technologies, in order to arrive at a scientific methodology for the design of complex musical instruments.

Tasks:  Task 1: develop design of a new prototype instruments, suitable for composite manufacturing Task 2: build prototypes Task 3: detail and finishing of prototypes Task 4: develop evaluation techniques for finished instruments

Deliverables:  Deliverable 1: New prototype violin Deliverable 2: New prototype guitar Deliverable 3: Testing and evaluation setup

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 1, Year 2, Year 3

MECH-012: Hybrid Composite Aerospace Parts
Professor:   Larry Lessard
E-mail:  Larry [dot] Lessard [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6305
Website

Research Area:  Composite Materials


Description:  The project involves fabrication of L-angles using composite materials as per a fabrication plan and carrying out a basic mechanical test on them. The materials for the L-angles/ brackets would be hybrid fiber architectures of carbon/thermoplastic. Hybrid fiber architecture refers to a combination of randomly oriented strands (ROS) or short fibers and standard unidirectional composite materials in specific proportions. Compression molding technology will be used for fabrication. 4-point bending tests will be performed on the L-angles/brackets. Stiffness and strength comparisons of the various configurations will be made. The candidate might have to obtain micrographs by polishing the cross-sections of the coupons as required. This project will be a part of a larger project for Bell Helicopter Textron Canada.

Tasks:  Task 1: learn about new class of composite materials (ROS composites) Task 2: manufacturing prototypes Task 3: perform evaluation tests Task 4: use imaging techniques for examining samples

Deliverables:  Deliverable 1: Repeatable manufacturing methodology Deliverable 2: Quality test samples Deliverable 3: Streamlined test and evaluation procedure

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 1, Year 2, Year 3

MECH-013:   Sri Lanka project
Professor:   Larry Lessard
E-mail:  Larry [dot] Lessard [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6305
Website

Research Area:  Composite Materials


Description:  There are ways in which useful materials can be made from waste materials. Waste fiber and other materials can be converted into composite materials using a minimal amount of equipment and some ingenuity. There is great potential to help third-world countries develop such an industry, which would allow them to produce good products and building materials while at the same time reducing/consuming waste materials. This is a pilot project in collaboration with University of Western Australia and country of Sri Lanka. McGill’s role is to develop a simple but efficient manufacturing process for the project and to make prototype parts. The project involves experimental manufacturing based on composite materials theory.

Tasks:  Task 1: learn about low cost composite materials Task 2: develop manufacturing process Task 3: perform evaluation tests, manufacturing of prototypes

Deliverables:  Deliverable 1: Repeatable manufacturing methodology Deliverable 2: Quality test samples Deliverable 3: Low-cost manufacturing procedure

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 1, Year 2, Year 3

MECH-014: Composite Joining Methods for Aerospace
Professor:   Larry Lessard
E-mail:  Larry [dot] Lessard [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6305
Website

Research Area:  Composite Materials


Description:  Aircraft components must be joined to each other, either by bolting or by bonding, and each has its advantages. Combinations of both bolting and bonding are known as “hybrid joints”. In the COMP506 project “Design of bonded/bolted composite joints” our modeling team is pursuing a two-pronged approach. On one hand, an efficient modeling approach is being developed (for preliminary design, optimization and sensitivity studies). For this purpose we make use of combined analytical/FE methods. We are also developing an industry code for aerospace companies so that they can have a useful design tool. This project is in conjunction with Bombardier Aerospace.

Tasks:  Task 1: work with graduate students that are currently involved in the project. Task 2: The student will be involved in modeling and testing of hybrid joints.

Deliverables:  The work in this project will help the student develop expertise in i) composite material testing, ii) stress and failure analysis prediction models, iii) design and structural optimization

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 1, Year 2, Year 3

MECH-015:  Development of Numerical Methods for the Design of the Next-Generation of Environmental Friendly Aircraft
Professor:   Siva Nadarajah
E-mail:  siva [dot] nadarajah [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-5757
Website

Research Area:  Fluid Mechanics, Aerodynamics, Numerical Methods, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Aircraft Design


Description:  The objective is to design the next-generation of environmentally friendly aircraft where extensive amount of laminar flow is present on the aircraft wings, engine nacelles, and the horizontal and vertical tails. The contribution towards the project will primarily fall within two areas. First, extend and employ an adjoint-based turbulence-transition model based on the gamma-Re_{theta} formulation for the analysis and design of three-dimensional flows. We have concluded extensive validations of the underlying transition model that have improved the robustness of the scheme as well as the accuracy for higher Reynolds numbers. Redesign of three two-dimensional airfoils for total drag while maintaining lift as well as increasing the lift-to-drag ratio has resulted in airfoils with Stratford-type pressure recoveries with a significant delay in the transition location. In the past year, we have extended the scheme for three-dimensional flows and currently extensive validation studies are being conducted.

Tasks:  Student #1: The student will perform an aerodynamic design optimization at a single point of a simple two-dimensional geometry and perform a cross-comparison analysis. The aerodynamic performance of the final geometries will be invesigated at off-design conditions as well as for a fully turbulent flow. Student #2: The student will linearize with the assistance of the research supervisor the three-dimensional transition model through the use of an automatic-differentiation code. Perform sensitivity analysis to ensure that the gradient is accurate. The project will provide the student with a greater in depth knowledge and experience in computational fluid dynamics, aircraft design, and the work will provide an improvement to our current capabilities. Frequency of Contact with Supervisor: 4-5 per week.

Deliverables:  Student #1: The student will simulate three two-dimensional cases at various flight conditions and perform a multi-point optimization of the cases and a technical report. Student #2: A code that contains the linearization of the three-dimensional transitional model and a technical report.

Number of positions:  2
Academic Level: Year 2

MECH-016:  Flight Testing of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Professor:   Meyer Nahon
E-mail:  meyer [dot] nahon [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-2383
Website

Research Area:  Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Dynamics and Control. Data Acquisition.


Description:  The Aerospace Mechatronics Laboratory currently houses a number of unmanned aerial vehicles, including several quadcopters, an aerobatic fixed-wing aircraft, and an indoor fully-actuated blimp. Research is currently ongoing with all these platforms with the overal objective to develop autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles. For example, the research ongoing aims to develop autonomous landing capabilities for a quadrotor on a moving platform, in the presence of ground effect and other disturbances. The fixed-wing aircraft serve as testing platforms for the development of autonomous acrobatic maneuvers. Currently, about eight graduate students are involved in different aspects of research and development of these platforms and their capabilities. A SURE student is sought with strong interest and aptitude for research in the areas of robotics, mechatronics and aerial systems. telemetering of aircraft motion data in real-time, and closed loop control of the aircraft. The student is expected to assist with lab and outdoor tests, as well as the resulting data analysis.

Tasks:  Depending on the status of the above projects, the student is expected to contribute to experimental testing of components of the above platforms and to flight tests with the platforms. In particular, thruster testing and performance modelling will be required for our quadrotor platforms.The student is expected to assist with the development of required testing rigs, to conduct or assist with the experiments, process the data and help to develop insights into our model validation. The fixed-wing platform has been recently upgraded with a new data acquisition system. Further improvements to the hardware and control of the aircraft are anticipated. These include adding additional sensors, The tasks will be quite varied and could accommodate a mechanical or electrical student(s); but ideally someone with experience in both. Tasks will include some interfacing of hardware with microprocessors; some CAD modeling; some Matlab/Simulink modeling; and finally, experimental testing.

Deliverables:  Improvement of landing performance of our quadrotor; and enhancement of our fixed-wing aircraft data acquisition/closed-loop control.

Number of positions:  2
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-017:  Lattice materials with low coefficient of thermal expansion for aerospace
Professor:   Damiano Pasini
E-mail:  damiano [dot] pasini [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6295
Website

Research Area:   Aerospace Materials


Description:  Systems in space are vulnerable to large temperature changes when travelling into and out of the Earth's shadow. Variations in temperature can lead to undesired geometry deformation in sensitive applications requiring very fine precision, such as sub-reflector supporting struts. To suppress temperature induced failures, materials with a low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) are generally sought over a wide range of temperatures. Besides low CTE, desirable stiffness, strength and extraordinarily low mass are other mechanical properties critical to guarantee. We are developing a class of lattice material with tunable coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), low mass, besides high stiffness and strength.

Tasks:  The student will help graduate students in fabricating and testing proof-of-concept lattice materials with tunable thermal expansion

Deliverables:  Fabrication via additive manufacturing and other process + thermomechanical testing of a set of lattice samples

Number of positions:  2
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-018: Numerical modelling of unsteady shock interaction phenomena
Professor:   Evgeny Timofeev
E-mail:  evgeny [dot] timofeev [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-4382

Research Area:  Gasdynamics, computational fluid dynamics (CFD)


Description:  A number of research projects related to shock reflection from obstacles and converging shock waves is now in progress in the Shock Wave Physics Group. These basic problems are of significant importance in a great variety of practical problems ranging from air-breathing propulsion to medical applications of shock waves and innovative approaches to thermonuclear fusion because various types of reflection lead to markedly different flow parameters (temperature, pressure) and hence could lead to different positive and negative consequences. A particular project will be chosen in April-May 2016 based on the needs of ongoing research projects and student's interests and will be aimed at further inquiry into these phenomena using an in-house CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software, with the goal of explaining the reasons of various physical behaviors, conducting parametrical studies and reconciling the predictions of the existing shock theories with the results of numerical experiments. In parallel, some experimental studies will be performed by collaborators in Canada and Australia. Special mandatory requirements: (1) MECH-430 course (Fluid Mechanics 2) must be already taken or the student should be registered for it in Winter 2016 term. (2) A laptop or desktop computer working under MS Windows (not Mac) will be needed to carry out on the project. Honours Thesis project on the same subject is possible, starting from September 2016, as well as subsequent Master thesis projects.

Tasks:  (1) Conduct parametric numerical simulation studies; (2) Compare the numerical results with experimental data and analytical findings; (3) Modify setups for the existing in-house CFD software as may be required.

Deliverables:  Computational results (saved data points); the results of post-processing (e.g. plots, tables); mini-report. Optional (depending on the outcome): preparation of a conference and/or refereed journal submission.

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-019:  Vehicle Localization via Constrained Estimation
Professor:    James Forbes
E-mail:  james [dot] richard [dot] forbes [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-7142
Website

Research Area:  Robotics, Estimation, Dynamics


Description:  Vehicles that are able to autonomously drive in cities must fuse various forms of sensor data together in order to ascertain the vehicles precise location relative to objects. Typical sensor data includes GPS data, inertial measurement unit (IMU) data, and some sort of range data from an optical camera, radar, or LIDAR. Objects detected by a range sensor may be "expected", while other may be "unexpected". For instance, a car driving on a previously mapped road may "expect" to see a particular landmark or road feature, while the same car driving on the same road cannot reasonably predict what other cars, trucks, or pedestrians may be present at any given time. This SURE project will focus on using a priori map and landmark information within an estimator, such as a Kalman filter, to enhance ground vehicle location estimation. In particular, the a prior distance between known landmarks will be used as a constraint within the estimation algorithm thereby enhancing the quality of the vehicles location estimate. Students best fit for this position are those interested in using mathematical tools, such as linear algebra, probability theory, and numerical optimization, to solve problems found in robotics. Experience with matlab programing is also desired.

Tasks:  - formulate the constrained estimation problem. - write matlab code to test the algorithm in simulation. - test on experimental data.

Deliverables:  A report written in LaTeX must be completed. Ideally a conference paper is submitted in September.

Number of positions:  2
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-020: Position and Attitude Estimation Using Tango
Professor:    James Forbes
E-mail:  james [dot] richard [dot] forbes [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-7142
Website

Research Area:  Robotics, Control Systems, Estimation, Dynamics


Description:  Many new technologies, such as self-driving cars, autonomous delivery helicopters and aircraft, phone and tablet ``virtual reality" apps, and others, hinge on the ability of the vehicle or hand-held device to ascertain their position and attitude relative to the world around them. Project Tango is a Google technology platform designed to help researchers develop new algorithms to do so. Specifically, the Project Tango dev kit, https://www.google.com/atap/project-tango/, is a tablet that enables 3D motion and feature tracking and integrated depth sensing that can be used to estimation the position and attitude of the device This SURE project will focus on the implementation of state-of-the-art position and attitude estimation methods on a Project Tango dev kit. Students with a interest in robotics, kinematics and dynamics, control, with strong math and programming skills, are encouraged to apply.

Tasks:  - learn how to access data (i.e., camera, accelerometer, rate gyro) data from the Tango device. - Implement an attitude estimator, then a pose (position and attitude) estimator on the Tango device.

Deliverables:  A report written in LaTeX must be completed. This report will form the basis for a conference paper to be submitted in September 2016.

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-021: A microfluidic device for DNA application
Professor:    Xinyu Liu
E-mail:  xinyu [dot] liu [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-1526
Website

Research Area:  Bioengineering


Description:  This project aims at developing a simple-to-use microfluidic system for automated DNA amplification. The design of an existing microfluidic device will be revised, and cleanroom microfabrication will be performed to implement the updated design. A control program will be developed to control the system hardware and monitor the experiment process under microscope. Proof-of-concept experiments will finally be performed to investigate the effectiveness of the developed system.

Tasks:  Microfluidic device design, fabrication, and experimentation; C++ or LabView coding

Deliverables:  A comprehensive technical report

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2, Year 3

MECH-022: Integration and Control of an Automated Microindentation System
Professor:    Xinyu Liu
E-mail:  xinyu [dot] liu [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-1526
Website

Research Area:  Mechatronics


Description:  This project aims at the development of a cost-effective, automated microindentation system for mechanical characterization of soft biomaterials. The student will work on the integration of system hardware such as motors, a micro force sensor, micropositioning stages, and data acquisition boards. The student will also make a graphical user interface (GUI) using C/C++ or LabView. Preference will be given to applicants with knowledge/experience in Ardurino and/or embedded system boards, or C/C++/LabView coding.

Tasks:  Mechatronic hardware integration, C/C++/LabView coding

Deliverables:  A functional microindentation system, a comprehensive technical report

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2, Year 3

MECH-023: Paper-Based Microfluidic Nanobiosensors
Professor:    Xinyu Liu
E-mail:  xinyu [dot] liu [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-1526
Website

Research Area:  Bioengineering


Description:  Paper-based microfluidics, the technology of manipulating small amounts of fluids in patterned channels in a single- or multi-layer paper device, has emerged as a simple yet powerful platform for bioanalysis. We are focused on developing paper-based biosensors for use in a wide range of applications, such as point-of-care diagnosis, environmental sampling testing, and large-scale drug screening. In this project, the student will fabricate new paper substrates integrating novel functional nanomaterials, and investigate the fluid-transport dynamics in these substrates. Proof-of-concept experiments will be finally conducted for disease marker detection.

Tasks:  nanomaterial synthesis, paper substrate fabrication, fluid dynamics simulation, biosensing experimentation

Deliverables:  a comprehensive technical report

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2, Year 3

MECH-024: Soft Robotics: Design and Control
Professor:    Xinyu Liu
E-mail:  xinyu [dot] liu [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-1526
Website

Research Area:  Robotics


Description:  Soft robotics is a recently emerging direction in the field of robotics, and have found many important applications such as robotic wearable devices and transformer robots. The objective of this project is to investigate the dynamics and control of a pneumatically actuated soft robot made from highly stretchable elastomers. The research tasks include robot design and fabrication, strain sensor integration, and dynamic modelling and control.

Tasks:  Robot fabrication, modeling, and control

Deliverables:  A functional robot, a comprehensive technical report

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 1,  Year 2, Year 3

MECH-025: INTRALATTICE 3D printing design software development
Professor:    Yaoyao Fiona Zhao
E-mail:  yaoyao [dot] zhao [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-2523
Website

Research Area:  Design for Additive Manufacturing (3D printing)


Description:  McGill Additive Design and Manufacturing Lab (ADML) has recently developed a versatile plugin to CAD software Rhinoceros, which allows users to generate 3D lattice structures within a predefined design space. The plugin was built as a flexible alternative to software like Within and Mimics, and has sparked the interest of various research labs worldwide. We are looking for a candidate to help test and package the plugin for an official open-source release. Consisting of various Python scripts and Grasshopper algorithms, this project is not very code-intensive. However, candidates are expected to be familiar with CAD, polygon meshing and open-source workflow (i.e. GitHub).

Tasks:  The candidate’s responsibilities include: 1. investigate and develop modules that are able to generate randomized lattice topology, 2. integrating the modules with existing INTRALATTICE platform, 3. investigate methods to modify surface rouhtness of lattice structure.

Deliverables:  Develop the aforementioned modules and package them. Connect the developed modules with simulation interface

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2

MECH-026: A Novel Left Ventricular Assist Device
Professor:  Rosaire Mongrain
E-mail:  rosaire [dot] mongrain [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-1576
Website

Research Area:  Cardiovascular biomechanics, implant design, soft tissue mechanics, blood flow, numerical simuations, phantom design and experiments


Description:  Heart failure is a serious cardiovascular disease and the main cause of death in the world. The gold standard of treatment of end stage heart failure is transplantation. Given the se-vere universal shortage of suitable organ donors, long term mechanical heart support serves as an alternative to heart transplantation. To this end, there is an ongoing quest to improve the technology that will compete favorably with heart transplantation. Despite technological advancement, current pump designs present important limitations. Conven-tional pumps are designed to operate optimally at one speed, usually in a patient’s resting state, and are configured using either a centrifugal or axial architecture employing a con-ventional single angle blade rotor.

Tasks:  Using engineering computed assisted design tools, computer simulations, rapid prototyp-ing and hydraulic tests, the candidate will contribute to the progress of this innovative concept based on mini-turbine design to minimize blood damage and maximize pumping efficiency.

Deliverables:  The candidate will contribute for computers drawings, numerical simulations, hydraulics tests.

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2

MECH-027: Study of initiation and propagation of cylindrical detonation
Professor:  John Lee
E-mail:  john [dot] lee [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6301

Research Area:  Fluid mechanics and Thermodynamics


Description:  The project is an experimental study of the initiation energy and the propagation limits of cylindrical detonation. The apparatus for the study is already in place and the student will carry out experiments which are continuation of current work.

Tasks:  Carry out experiment

Deliverables:  write a report at the and of the summer

Number of positions:  2
Academic Level: Year 2, Year 3

MECH-028: Dynamics of Front Roughening of a Discrete Source Flame
Professor:  Andrew Higgins
E-mail:  andrew [dot] higgins [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6297
Website

Research Area:  Mechanical Engineering: Thermofluids


Description:  The project will examine how a flame front will become rough as it propagates in a medium consisting of fuel particles. This is motivated by an experiment to be conducted in microgravity on board a sounding rocket to be flowing by the ESA in 2016.

Tasks:  The student will write a computer code to model the propagation of a flame in discrete media. The model consists of superimposing randomly positioned Green’s function solutions to the heat equation to represent ignited sources, and then solving for the ignition time of new sources.

Deliverables:  The student will deliver a computer code with supporting documentation, processed results of simulations varying the ignition temperature and combustion time. The average flame speed and characterization of the front roughness will be reported. Result will also be visualized by the student via animations.

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2, Year 3

MECH-029: Cavitation and Spall of Liquid Cavities for Magnetized Target Fusion
Professor:  Andrew Higgins
E-mail:  andrew [dot] higgins [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6297
Website

Research Area:  Mechanical Engineering: Thermofluids


Description:  In a concept called Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF), a plasma is compressed to fusion conditions using a collapsing liquid cavity. The use of shock waves to collapse the cavity will result in the inner surface of the cavity spalling (detaching), which may limit the degree of compression achieved. This project studies the dynamics of spall for the MTF application.

Tasks:  Student 1: Student will conduct experiments using a gas gun to launch a flat-faced projectile into a thin layer of liquid in a capsule. The resulting shock and spall of the liquid will be observed using laser Doppler velocimetry. Student 2: Student will assist in construction of a rotating apparatus and support stand that will permit the collapse of liquid cavities to be conducted in a cylindrical geometry. The resulting dynamics of cavity collapse will be recorded via high speed videography.

Deliverables:  Student 1: Detailed drawings and analysis of all experiments performed will be reported. Analysis of the results using simple one-dimensional modelling (to be performed by the student) and multidimensional modelling using ANSYS Autodyn will also be reported. Student 2: Student will provide detailed CAD drawings of constructed apparatus and operational manual. Analysis and reduction of preliminary experimental results (movies, etc.) will also be reported.

Number of positions:  2
Academic Level: Year 1, Year 2, Year 3

MECH-030: Use of Energetic Materials for Magnetized Target Fusion
Professor:  Andrew Higgins
E-mail:  andrew [dot] higgins [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6297
Website

Research Area:  Mechanical Engineering: Thermofluids


Description:  In a concept called Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF), a plasma is compressed to fusion conditions using a collapsing cavity. Preliminary testing of this concept utilizes energetic materials to rapidly collapse an aluminum cylinder containing a plasma. Technical issues related to the collapse could result in the plasma being contaminated with material from the container wall.

Tasks:  Student 1: Student will examine the use of heterogeneous energetic materials with inclusions (inert particles, etc.) to result in a softer launch of the wall. The results will be studied using laser Doppler velocimetry. Student 2: Student will examine generation of ejecta from the container wall and how it can be eliminated. The influence of compression of magnetic fields and how they affect jetting of material will also be studied.

Deliverables:  Student 1: Detailed drawings and analysis of all experimental configurations tested will be provided. Analysis of results using ANSYS Autodyn will also be reported. Student 2: Detailed drawings and analysis of all experimental configurations tested will be provided. Analysis of results using FEMM and ANSYS Autodyn will also be reported.

Number of positions:  2
Academic Level: Year 1, Year 2, Year 3