Undergraduate Research: Mechanical Engineering

Click on the title for full description of SURE 2017 projects in Mechanical Engineering.

MECH-001: Autonomous Mobile Robotics: Estimation and Control
Professor:   James Forbes
E-mail:  james [dot] richard [dot] forbes [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-7142
 

Research Area:  estimation, control, robotics


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 and/or C programing is desired. Depending on the students interest and/or experience, the students may work more with hardware, such as cameras, IMUs, encoders, etc.

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.

Number of positions:  3
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-002: Investigation on the effects of tool path on the mechanical properties of 3D printed structures
Professor:   Yaoyao Fiona Zhao
E-mail:  yaoyao [dot] zhao [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-2523

Research Area:  Design and manufacturing, 3D printing, process planning


Description:  Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is one of the most commonly used 3D printing techniques. A plastic filament of metal wire is extruded from a heated nozzle to selectively deposit material on the designated area following pre-planned tool path. The type of tool path has significant influence on the properties of end product. This project investigates on the influence of tool path on the mechanical properties of lattice structure. Lattice structure has high application potential in aerospace industry which can produce light weight components with specific tailored properties such as sock absorption, bending dominant performance, etc. This research will use aerospace application to verify the research results.

Tasks:  Specific research tasks include: 1) learn to operate a given FDM printer 2) learn the design software at ADML that generates lattice structure 3) study Design of Experiments methods and design a set of experiments to establish the relationship between FDM tool path and lattice structure mechanical properties 4) conduct statistical analysis of the experiment data 5) establish a model to represent the tool path and mechanical properties relationship

Deliverables:  The student will deliver: 1) a set of data gathered from experiments 2) a model to predict mechanical properties from chosen tool path

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2

MECH-003: Composite Hockey Stick Development
Professor:   Larry Lessard
E-mail:  Larry [dot] Lessard [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6305

Research Area:  Composite Materials


Description:  This project involves research into the development of carbon fiber hockey sticks. The project is part of the Ice Hockey Research Group (IHRG), headed by Professor David Pearsall partnered with Professor Larry Lessard. It has become clear that the most difficult part of the structure of a hockey stick is the design of the “hosel” region of the stick. This is the interface between the shaft and the blade of the stick. Detailed design and testing is necessary to fully understand why hockey sticks break in this region. The student will work with graduate students in the IHRG in the continuing development of carbon fiber hockey sticks.

Tasks:  Testing Methods for Hockey Sticks Finite Element Analysis

Deliverables:  Series of Test on Sticks Improved FEA model

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2

MECH-004: Recycled Composite Materials
Professor:   Larry Lessard
E-mail:  Larry [dot] Lessard [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6305

Research Area:  Composite Materials


Description:  This project aims to develop composite materials by using waste products or used composites as the base materials. These composites would be re-used either as base materials for recycled aerospace structures or for simple building materials. On of our projects hopes to make materials for low-cost housing in third-world countries. The Composites Lab hopes to develop consistent methodologies for sustainable use of composites and recycling is an important part of that effort.

Tasks:  Develop manufacturing methods for recycled composites Testing of recycled materials

Deliverables:  Develop manufacturing methods for recycled composites Testing of recycled materials

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2

MECH-005: Conception of a 3D parametric CAD of the human spine and surrounding tissues
Professor:   Mark Driscoll
E-mail:  mark [dot] driscoll [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6299
Website

Research Area:  Musculoskeletal Biomechanics


Description:  In most areas of Computer Aided Design (CAD) work, engineers are faced with the challenge of optimizing the CAD complexity or geometry to achieve specific goals or applications. In the field of musculoskeletal biomechanics this often leads to a balance of desired accuracy vs. computation costs. This project will consist of simplifying existing complex patient based 3D CADs of the human spine and surrounding tissues. The candidate will be charged with refining the geometry or volumes of the different structures in a manner which enables hexagonal meshing. In brief, this consists of removing unnecessary geometry complexities (such as overlapping planes, small lines, acute angles…). The candidate will use and learn a leading CAD program (ANSYS design modeller or ANSYS SpaceClaim). If time permits, the CADs are to be rendered parametric (scalable) for representation of different spinal pathologies to be leverages in future analyses. Further, should certain physiological geometries present difficulties, the candidate will be able to create “fictive” replacement geometries. Hence, the candidate will gain an important skillset which spans across many fields of engineering.

Tasks:  - import complex CAD of the spine - clean up geometry - identify contact surfaces between shared geometry - mesh volumes Executing and learning the task of processing 3D volumes for finite element processing

Deliverables:  The deliverables are volumetric CADs of the human spine optimized for finite element analysis.

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2

MECH-006: Space Debris Removal Using Tethers
Professor:   Arun Misra
E-mail:  arun [dot] misra [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6288

Research Area:  Satellite Dynamics


Description:  Space debris is gradually becoming a major challenge for satellite operations. Several passive and active methods to remove space debris have been proposed. One of the methods seriously being considered right now is the use of tethers. Tethers used for debris removal can be either conducting or non-conducting. Conducting tethers, called "electrodynamic tethers" can be used to generate an orbital perturbation effect when they move in the electromagnetic field of the Earth. Non-conducting tethers are used to tow the debris with the help of a tug subjected to a small propulsive thrust. This SURE project will study debris removal using an electrodynamic tether. Details of the dynamics and control of the tethered system will be analyzed.

Tasks:  The SURE student, working under my supervision, will formulate the dynamics model of the electrodynamic tether system and analyze the model using Matlab. The student will then analyze the results obtained from Matlab simulations. The student will be assisted by a graduate student in addition to the supervisor.

Deliverables:  A mid-term and a final report describing the formulation of the model, results of the Matlab simulations and conclusions.

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-007: 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:  Computational Aerodynamics


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. For the first month the student will linearize the three-dimensional transition model and validate the accuracy of the Jacobian matrices against that acquired through a complex-step approach. The next step would be to linearize both the far-field and wall boundary conditions for the transition model and ensure that they are accurate. The final step would be to include the Jacobians into the adjoint solver and subsequently verify the accuracy of the gradient. 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.

Tasks:  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 investigated at off-design conditions as well as for a fully turbulent flow. Frequency of Contact with Supervisor: 2-4 per week.

Deliverables:  Validated Code and bi-weekly reports.

Number of positions:  2
Academic Level: Year 2

MECH-008: Aeroelastic Solutions of Aircraft Wings in Three-Dimensional Viscous Flow.
Professor:   Siva Nadarajah
E-mail:  siva [dot] nadarajah [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-5757
Website

Research Area:  Computational Aerodynamics


Description:  Aeroelasticity is the discipline studying the interaction between a structure and the fluid flow surrounding it. It is primordial in the design process of aircraft since undesired aeroelastic instabilities, be they static or dynamic, often lead to catastrophic structural failure or severe fatigue damage. For example, divergence is a static instability characterized by aerodynamic loads exceeding the structural resisting forces, leading to excessive deformation of structural components and, ultimately, to their failure. On the other hand, dynamic instabilities are characterized by a dynamic interaction between the body and the fluid flow. Flutter is defined as the dynamic instability caused by a positive feedback between the aerodynamic loads and the deformation of the structure, producing a negative global damping. Until lately, the most popular approach for solving unsteady flows is the dual time-stepping technique. Through the assumption of flow periodicity, non-linear frequency domain (NLFD) approach allows us to dramatically reduce the computational expense. Recently, we have developed and demonstrated aeroelastic solutions for inviscid flow using the NLFD approach.

Tasks:  The objective of this work is to (1) perform viscous calculations to allow oscillations of greater amplitude to be modelled and observe stronger nonlinear aeroelastic behavior and (2) employ a fully nonlinear structural solver, such that no assumption has to be made regarding the work lost by discarding the higher harmonics of the flow solution during the fluid-structure coupling. Frequency of Contact with Supervisor: 2-4 per week.

Deliverables:  Validated Code and Bi-weekly Reports

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2

MECH-009: Reconfigurable materials with tailored 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 novel class of materials with tunable coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), low mass, besides high stiffness and strength, and capability to reversibly reconfigure their shapes.

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

Deliverables:  Fabrication via additive manufacturing and other processes + thermomechanical testing of a set of material samples

Number of positions:  2
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-010: Metal flame studies
Professor:   Jeffrey Bergthorson
E-mail:  jeff [dot] bergthorson [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-2003
Website

Research Area:  Alternative Fuels and Combustion


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 will focus on experimental study of these flames, using a stabilized counter flow apparatus. Students will help perform experiments, implement different diagnostics, and process data. Students will be expected to use their engineering knowledge to address a wide range of challenges presented in this setting.

Tasks:  Carry out experiments with combustible mixtures to determine the fundamental properties of metal flames.

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

Number of positions:  3
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-011: Slot burner for alternative fuel flame studies
Professor:   Jeffrey Bergthorson
E-mail:  jeff [dot] bergthorson [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-2003
Website

Research Area:  Alternative Fuels and Combustion


Description:  Switching from natural gas to hydrogen fuel can lead to a range of issues with conventional combustion systems and safety infrastructure. Work in the Alternative Fuels Laboratory aims to understand changes in the flame behaviour with changing fuel composition. This project investigates the formation of instabilities that increase flame burning rates and can cause safety issues in engines and fuel-storage facilities. The project involves the fabrication and testing of an opposed-jet slot burner for fundamental studies of instabilities in hydrogen and propane flames. Contact Jan Palecka: jan [dot] palecka [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca to interview for position.

Tasks:  Finalize drawings of slot burner and coordinate manufacture. Assemble burner and flow delivery hardware. Test burner to assess its operational characteristics.

Deliverables:  Fabricated and validated slot burner assembly for combustion studies.

Number of positions:  2
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-012: Metal-water reactions for hydrogen production
Professor:   Jeffrey Bergthorson
E-mail:  jeff [dot] bergthorson [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-2003
Website

Research Area:  Alternative Fuels and Combustion


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. Contact Keena Trowell: keena [dot] trowell [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca to interview for the position

Tasks:  Carry out experiments with a metal-water reactor using various metal powders, including Al, Mg, Si, 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 3

MECH-013: Chemistry reduction for efficient prediction of pollutants
Professor:   Jeffrey Bergthorson
E-mail:  jeff [dot] bergthorson [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-2003
Website

Research Area:  Alternative fuels and combustion


Description:  Increased use of alternative fuels has stimulated concerns for pollutant production and environmental preservation. Faster and more inexpensive numerical methods for prediction of combustion processes must be produced as environmental regulations become stricter. Current combustion models are unable to provide accurate predictions quickly therefore they must be reduced and optimized to efficiently estimate pollutant emission for industrial applications, who will be most affected by the regulations. Accessibility to open source software, such as Cantera, allows modification of source code for the implementation of model reduction methods, such as the Quasi-Steady-State Approximation (QSSA). The QSSA methodology removes the influence of certain intermediate reaction species, thereby decreasing the computational cost. Validation of the reduced models against experiment will be performed to ensure the level of uncertainty remains within acceptable limits. The validated, reduced and optimized models will provide a means to increase our understanding of the combustion of alternative and traditional fuels. Application with premixed and non-premixed flame studies for alternative and traditional fuels will be considered as well as the investigation of auto-ignition for alternative fuels. Contact Antoine Durocher: antoine [dot] durocher [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca to interview for position.

Tasks:  Implement code in Cantera that enables the read in of a reduced chemistry file and implements it into the chemistry solver that is used for reactor and flame simulations

Deliverables:  Provide an implemented and automated model reduction process in Cantera for the prediction of NOx emissions in gas-turbine engines burning alternative and traditional fuels. A detailed report summarizing the code and how to use it.

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-014: Design and construction of a phantom for the investigation of heart sounds
Professor:   Luc Mongeau
E-mail:  luc [dot] mongeau [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-2777

Research Area:  Biomechanics


Description:  The stethoscope is a commonly used tool for the diagnostic of cardiovascular diseases. It is hypothesized that the acoustic signature of recorded with a high sampling rate by a stethoscope array can improve the specificity of the diagnostics and infer information about arteries blockage and heart valve efficiency.

Tasks:  The project will be aimed at the design and construction of a phantom of a blood vessel with a constriction. The phantom will be utilized for detailed flow and sound measurements of the turbulent pulsatile flow using particle image velocimetry and available accelerometer sensors. The phantom will be made of polymers with an index of refraction that matches that of the working fluid. Results will be compared with data from human subjects.

Deliverables:  Final Powerpoint presentation and poster.

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: No preference

MECH-015: The influence of encapsulated primary vocal fold fibroblast cells on the the biomechanical properties of the synthesized lamina propria
Professor:   Luc Mongeau
E-mail:  luc [dot] mongeau [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-2777

Research Area:  Tissue Engineering


Description:  Ongoing research has been aimed at the development of injectable scaffolds for voice restoration that injectable with a syringe within the human vocal fold lamina propria. So far the predominant strategy has been to inject the scaffold with no cells, relying on the recruitment of vocal fold fibroblasts from the surrounding native tissue. In this project, primary celles will be harvested, grown, and encapsulated within the scaffold in order to speed up reconstruction.

Tasks:  Primary cell harvesting, cell culturing, and encapsulation withing an existing chitosan+collagen scaffold. Testing in an existing bioreactor.

Deliverables:  Powerpoint presentation, and poster.

Number of positions:  2
Academic Level: No preference

MECH-016: Fabrication and testing of high-performance bio-inspired materials
Professor:   Francois Barthelat
E-mail:  francois [dot] barthelat [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6318
Website

Research Area:  Mechanics of Materials


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 the microstructure of high performance natural materials such as seashells, bone or teeth to generate new combinations of mechanical properties. 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:  2
Academic Level: No preference

MECH-017: Particle sorting in high-speed granular flows
Professor:   David Frost
E-mail:  david [dot] frost [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone: 514-398-6279
Website

Research Area:  Thermofluids


Description:  When a granular material containing different-sized objects is shaken, the largest objects rise to the top. This is often called the “Brazil nut effect” since when a can of mixed nuts is shaken, the largest nuts, which are typically the Brazil nuts, rise to the top. When a mixture of particles containing two different types is rapidly accelerated, in some cases the two particle types are observed to separate. This reason for the particle segregation is not understood, but it is likely a different mechanism than those proposed to explain the “Brazil nut effect” in lower speed granular flows. When a binary particle mixture is explosively dispersed, the particle segregation can occur on a millisecond timescale and result in the formation of particle jets. This project involves investigating the mechanism of this segregation process in such high-speed granular flows. Please contact Bradley Marr: bradley [dot] marr [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca to interview for this position

Tasks:  The student will carry out computational experiments with a hydrocode that is available to investigate the segregation of a simple array of two types of particles that are rapidly accelerated. The degree of the spatial uniformity of the particle mixture will be tracked in time. The student may also assist a PhD student with further field experiments to observe with high-speed photography the dispersal and jet formation when different mixtures are dispersed with a small high explosive charge.

Deliverables:  The student will deliver a report containing the results of all simulations carried out, including any graphics or animations to visualize the results.

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2

MECH-018: Dynamic Filling of Gas Gradient for an Implosion Driven Hypervelocity Launcher
Professor:   Andrew Higgins
E-mail:  andrew [dot] higgins [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone:514-398-6297
Website

Research Area:  Mechanical Engineering: Thermofluids


Description:  A hypervelocity launcher that uses implosion to create very high temperature and pressure gas in order to propel a projectile to velocities exceeding 10 km/s is being developed at McGill. This project will explore techniques to create a gradient of gases (helium/argon) in order to have a more continuous acceleration process that can reach greater velocities.

Tasks:  Student will develop a device that can dynamically fill a tube (already filled with one gas) with a slug of a second gas, creating a gas gradient, using a rupturing diaphragm. The student will write a computer code to model the process, design the diaphragm holder and rupturing mechanism, and explore methods to quantify the gas gradient. Proof of concept with actual hypervelocity launcher firings will be conducted.

Deliverables:  Detailed drawings of design, report describing operation, and analysis of all experiments performed will be delivered. The code (Matlab, etc.) will be fully documented and delivered.

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-019: Stability of Liquid Cavity Implosion 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 a collapsing cavity may result in the inner surface of the cavity becoming unstable, 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 operation 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 and laser Doppler velocimetry.

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 analysis (image analysis, Fourier transform of laser Doppler data) of the results obtained in a detailed report.

Number of positions:  2
Academic Level: No preference

MECH-020: Design of a Fast Liquid Jet Driven by an Energetic Material
Professor:   Andrew Higgins
E-mail:  andrew [dot] higgins [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone:514-398-6297
Website

Research Area:  Mechanical Engineering: Thermofluids


Description:  The ability of energetic materials to drive fast jets at velocities exceeding 100 km/s has been demonstrated, but the nature of these jets and optimization of the velocity has not been performed.

Tasks:  The student will review existing literature on fast jets and design an experiment and optical diagnostics to measure their velocity. Student will construct an experiment and optical break screen diagnostic for measuring velocities approaching 100 km/s. Formation of jets will be simulated in ANSYS Autodyn.

Deliverables:  Detailed drawings of design of experimental apparatus and associated diagnostics will be delivered. Analysis of preliminary experiments performed will be delivered. The results of ANSYS Autodyn simulations will be fully documented and delivered.

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 3

MECH-021: Dynamic Modelling and Control of a Soft Robot
Professor:   Xinyu Liu
E-mail:  xinyu [dot] liu [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone:514-398-1526

Research Area:  Robotics


Description:  Soft robotics is a newly emerging research direction in the field of robotics, and have found many important applications such as wearable medical devices and robotic transformers. 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, dynamic modelling, and control

Deliverables:  A functional robot with a high-performance controller; and a comprehensive technical report

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2

MECH-022: Force-Controlled Robotic Manipulation of Small Biological Organisms
Professor:   Xinyu Liu
E-mail:  xinyu [dot] liu [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone:514-398-1526

Research Area:  Bioengineering


Description:  Robotic systems integrating high-resolution MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) devices can serve as powerful tools for automated manipulation of biological samples (single cells and small organisms), which provides higher accuracy, precision, and throughput than conventional techniques used in biological laboratories. In this project, a force-controlled robotic micromanipulation system will be developed to mechanically stimulate freely-moving larvae of Drosophila (fruit fly) and quantify their behavior and neuronal transmission responses. The SURE student will collaborate with a graduate student on robotic system integration, controller design and implementation, and biological experiments.

Tasks:  Robotic system integration, controller design and implementation, and biological experiments

Deliverables:  Experimental demonstration of the functional robotic system; and a comprehensive technical report

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 2

MECH-023: Flight Testing of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Professor:   Meyer Nahon
E-mail:  Meyer [dot] Nahon [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Telephone:514-992-2146

Research Area:  Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Dynamics and Control.


Description:  The Aerospace Mechatronics Laboratory currently houses several unmanned aerial vehicles: both quadrotor platforms and model fixed-wing aircraft. Research is currently ongoing with all these platforms with the overal objective to develop autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles. For example, some of the research ongoing with quadrotors aims to develop autonomous collision recovery and advanced autonomous landing capabilities. The fixed-wing aircraft serve as testing platforms for the development of autonomous acrobatic maneuvers. In addition to aerial vehicles, the lab has acquired a mobile ground robot to serve as a landing platform for testing of quadrotor landing algorithms. A SURE student is sought with strong interest and aptitude for research in the areas of robotics, mechatronics and aerial systems. Depending on the status of the above projects, the student is expected to contribute to experimental testing of components and to flight tests with these platforms. In particular, flight testing of the fixed-wing acrobatic maneuvers and flight testing of the quadrotor landing algorithms. In addition, the student will be involved in the setup and control of the ground robot. The student is expected to assist with the development of required testing rigs, with hardware interfacing, conduct experiments, process the data and develop insights into our model validation.

Tasks:  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:  Demonstrate control of the mobile ground robot; Assist in the improvement of landing performance of our quadrotor and fixed-wing aircraft closed-loop control.

Number of positions:  1
Academic Level: Year 3

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