Mechanical Engineering

Applications are now closed

  1. » Life cycle analysis of an expander
  2. » Characteristics of a refrigeration system
  3. » Development and testing of software and algorithms for rehabilitation robotics
  4. » Experimental validation of ‘smart’ wearables
  5. » Experimental testing of robotics for people with disabilities
  6. » Improving the Reliability of VEX Robot Hardware Used in Teaching
  7. » Development of an inkjet-printed EMG circuit for the control of bionic devices
  8. » Autonomous Tuning of Multirotor UAVs
  9. » Skydiver Tracking from a Free-Fall UAV
  10. » Development of microfabrication processes for microfluidic device
  11. » Rotational moulding of fibre reinforced biocomposites
  12. » Bistable structures for Vibration Isolation and Absorption
  13. » Humanlike Tele-manipulation with a Robot Arm Hand System
  14. » Gamification of Robotic Assembly Tasks
  15. » Design and Development of an Adaptive Robotic Jumper
  16. » N-dimensional presentation model for RFID Big Data from smart factory
  17. » RFID based smart AGV system for automatic logistics in smart factory
  18. » Automatic floor roughness design for the new Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel
  19. » Design of a 3 axis traversing rig for the new Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel
  20. » Experimental Characterisation of Woven and Braided Textiles for the Manufacture of Automotive Composite Parts
  21. » A nonlinear device for enhanced vibration suppression
  22. » Porting of an OPC UA implementation to the Arduino platform
  23. » Cyber-Physical System based on Augmented Reality
  24. » Optimal loudspeaker/microphone configuration for real-time speech masking system

Life cycle analysis of an expander


Supervisor

Dr. Alison Subiantoro

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG073

Refrigeration systems are integral for modern life. They are used for human comfort, food preservation, medical applications, thermal control of manufacturing processes, etc. Among others, the vapour compression refrigeration (VCR) system is still the most commonly used alternative due to its simplicity. However, such system experiences significant energy waste during expansion at the throttling device. This can be reduced, or even eliminated, by using an expander. An expander can be seen as a compressor that is operating in a reversed cycle. It expands high-pressure fluid to a low-pressure condition. At the same time, power can be produced to offset the overall energy use of the refrigeration system. Literature has shown that the energy efficiency improvement is around 10% for typical refrigeration systems. However, expanders are more complex to manufacture as compared to conventional expansion valves.

It is the purpose of this study to analyse and compare the overall environmental impacts of producing an expander and an expansion valve using life cycle analysis (LCA) methods. The focus will be on the overall energy usage and/or carbon footprint. The work will include, but not limited to, literature review, modelling, calculation and data analysis. The student will learn about the basics of refrigeration systems, expansion valves, expanders and life cycle analysis (LCA). He/she will then carry out LCA for expansion valve and expanders. The results will then be compared. The findings will give a better direction to the future of expander developments. Nature of work: theoretical. 

Characteristics of a refrigeration system


Supervisor

Dr. Alison Subiantoro

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG074

Refrigeration systems are integral for modern life. They are used for human comfort, food preservation, medical applications, thermal control of manufacturing processes, etc. Among others, the vapour compression refrigeration (VCR) system is still the most commonly used alternative due to its simplicity. However, the ever increasing demand of refrigeration systems also means that demands of energy and reliable performance keep increasing too. It is, therefore, important to fully understand the characteristics of VCR systems and to optimize the system for its maximum performance. The work will include, but not limited to, literature review, setting up an experimental test rig, carrying out experiments, data collection and data analysis. The student will learn about the basics of vapour compression refrigeration systems and its components, acquire hands-on experiences of setting up and experimenting with a refrigeration system test-rig under guidance, acquire experiences of collecting data and analysing for optimisation purposes.

Nature of work: hands-on experiments

Development and testing of software and algorithms for rehabilitation robotics


Supervisor

Dr Andrew McDaid

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG075

This project includes the development and testing of embedded and cloud-based software platform for rehabilitation robotics. It may also include the development of algorithms such as machine learning and AI for analysis the data collected from the robots. Skills/pre-requisites required are experience in some or all of the following c# / c++ / html / javascript / SQL.

Experimental validation of ‘smart’ wearables


Supervisor

Dr Andrew McDaid

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG076

This project involves experimental testing and analysis of a new era of ‘smart’ wearable medical devices developed in our labs here at University of Auckland. Research will involve motion capture experiments (as used in the movies), field testing and data analytics using advanced data processing techniques. 

Experimental testing of robotics for people with disabilities


Supervisor

Dr Andrew McDaid

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG077

This project will involve testing and improving the design of robots developed for children with CP or other disabilities as well as adults with stroke. This may include testing in lab (motion capture) and also in the field testing. 

Improving the Reliability of VEX Robot Hardware Used in Teaching


Supervisor

Dr Hazim Namik

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG078

VEX robots are used to give students hands-on experience and learning about robot programming and control systems. We are also working on developing a system that would allow the robots to be controlled from a remote computer for use when access to the lab is not possible (e.g. allow students to test their code outside teaching hours).

This project will focus on upgrading the existing hardware to improve the reliability as well as building more robots to handle the expected increase in students enrolling in MECHENG 201. The project will also focus on other aspects related to the VEX robot such as developing a motor testing rig, testing the remote lab setup currently being developed, and developing a system to keep track of battery charging and health. This project is very much a hands-on project and you need to be competent in C programming. This project is suitable for Mechanical or Mechatronics students only. 

Development of an inkjet-printed EMG circuit for the control of bionic devices


Supervisor

Dr Jonathan Stringer
Dr Minas Liarokapis

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG079

Inkjet printing, the digitally controlled deposition of microscopic fluid droplets on a surface, is most commonly associated with the home/office printer. By altering what ink is printed, it has also found use as a way to design and print electronic circuitry on flexible surfaces without the need for lengthy and expensive etching processes. As the pattern to be printed is digitally controlled, it is possible to quickly customize the pattern to a given application.

In this project, we will focus on the development of an inkjet-printed Electromyography (EMG) bio-amplifier for bionic devices (e.g., prosthetic hands and exoskeletons). The electronic circuit of the bio-amplifier will be printed on a flexible sheet created with urethane rubber, and will provide an affordable, light-weight, customizable and easy-to-use solution. The bio-amplifier will be able to decode based on the human myo-electric activations either the human motion or the human intention and will be used for the control of prosthetic hands, exoskeletons or robotic rehabilitation devices.

Autonomous Tuning of Multirotor UAVs


Supervisor

Dr. Karl Stol

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG080

The objective of the project is to further develop an autonomous method for tuning controller gains on a multirotor UAV (drone). Suitable for a Part 3 or 4 mechanical or mechatronics engineering student (or equivalent) with an interest in control systems. The project will use a rig designed to restrict the motion of a UAV to one degree-of-freedom and MATLAB functions to communicate with the flight control hardware.

Skydiver Tracking from a Free-Fall UAV


Supervisor

Dr. Karl Stol

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG081

The objective of the project is to further develop a vision-based skydiver tracking system for use on a unique UAV platform. Suitable for a Part 3 or 4 mechanical or mechatronics engineering student (or equivalent) with an interest in aerodynamics and control systems. Elements of the project may include wind tunnel testing, MATLAB and other computer simulations, free-fall experiments, and data analysis.

Development of microfabrication processes for microfluidic device


Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. K.C. Aw

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG082

Microfludics has been increasing important with the development of wearable therapeutic and drugs dispensing devices to improve the well- being of patients.  The microfabrication lab has acquired several crucial equipment that can support the research and the development of microfluidics.  The aim of this research is to establish microfabrication processes and techniques using these equipment. In addition, this project will also require the development of several supporting rigs to facilitate and improve the microfabrication processes. 

Rotational moulding of fibre reinforced biocomposites


Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Krishnan Jayaraman
64-9-9238235

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG083

Polyethylene (PE) is used in more than 90% of the rotationally moulded products. However, the mediocre mechanical performance of PE has prompted the introduction of reinforcement to enhance its stiffness and other functional/physical properties.

In order to achieve the reinforcing effect, it is critical to ensure uniform distribution of the reinforcement during the pressure-less moulding process. In this project, rotational moulding with various reinforcement materials such as mineral based nanotubular particles and nanocellulosic fibres will be the main focus. PLA could also be trialled in the production of biocomposite products.

Students with materials knowledge and manufacturing skills will be suitable candidates for this project; however, these are not the compulsory skill sets for a candidate.

Bistable structures for Vibration Isolation and Absorption


Supervisor

Dr. Lihua Tang

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG084

This project aims to investigate the potential of bistable structures in vibration isolation and absorption. Lumped parameter models will be established and numerical simulation will be performed in Matlab to examine the effectiveness of the isolation system with bistable nonlinearity. If time allows, experiment will be carried out to validate the numerical simulation.

Strong mathematical modelling and matlab codeing skills are required.

Humanlike Tele-manipulation with a Robot Arm Hand System


Supervisor

Dr. Minas Liarokapis

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG085

Robotic tele-manipulation is of outmost importance for a series of human robot interaction applications (e.g., robotic inspection in remote or dangerous environments, robotic assembly etc.).

In this project, we will focus on the formulation of a humanlike tele-manipulation scheme for a robot arm hand system that will provide intuitive control to the user.

The experimental setup that will be used consists of a 7 DoF anthropomorphic robot arm and an adaptive, underactuated and compliant robot hand.

The human motion will be captured by appropriate vision sensors (a Vicon system) and it will be mapped to equivalent humanlike robot motion respecting certain robot hand and task constraints.

A force feedback device will also be used in order for the user to be able to perceive the forces exerted by the robot fingertips.

Preliminary results can be found in this video.

More information can be found in the website of the New Dexterity research group.

Gamification of Robotic Assembly Tasks


Supervisor

Dr. Minas Liarokapis

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG086

Grasping and dexterous manipulation allow robots to interact with their environment and execute meaningful tasks (e.g., robotic assembly tasks).

Grasping and manipulation synthesis and planning are difficult to model processes that rely on analytical models, constrained optimization schemes or on the use of advanced machine learning techniques.

In this project, we will focus on simplifying robotic grasping and manipulation by attempting their gamification.

In particular, we will transform the specifications of the tasks to be executed by the robotic platform to certain gameplay goals, allowing non-expert users to seamlessly execute robotic assembly tasks while playing their favourite game (without even witnessing the task execution).

The motivation is to use the vast amount of time that the gamers community spends in online games to improve the organizational productivity and flow of industrial automation (industry 4.0) systems.

More information can be found in the website of the New Dexterity research group.

Design and Development of an Adaptive Robotic Jumper


Supervisor

Dr. Minas Liarokapis

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG087

Roboticists are constantly inspired by the human body and various animals for the development of novel, more dexterous robotic devices following a bioinspired approach.

In this project, we will focus on the design and development of an adaptive, passive compliant robotic jumper of minimal weight, cost and complexity.

In order to do so, we will first study Nature’s most efficient jumpers (e.g., Kangaroos, frogs, insects etc) in order to derive a set of design specifications.

The design will use structural compliance and under-actuation (the use of less motors that the available DoF) in order to increase simplicity and robustness during impacts with the environment.

More information can be found in the website of the New Dexterity research group.

N-dimensional presentation model for RFID Big Data from smart factory


Supervisor

Dr. Ray Y Zhong

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG088

Smart factoring is one of key components under Industry 4.0 era which is our next industry generation. Radio frequency identification (RFID) has been widely used in manufacturing industry for creating a smart environment where large number of real-time data could be captured and collected. RFID Big Data are thus generated. How to make full use of this data for further decision-makings in smart factory is investigated in this project.

Students may focus on an N-dimensional presentation model for RFID Big Data. They are expected to have basic knowledge on RFID, manufacturing systems, and SQL database.

RFID based smart AGV system for automatic logistics in smart factory


Supervisor

Dr. Ray Y Zhong

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG089

Smart factory refers to a highly modularized and structured manufacturing workshop where cyber-physical systems (CPS) monitor physical processes, create a virtual world of the physical objects, and make smart decisions. An AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) system which could be adopted to facilitate the automatic logistics with manufacturing sites through a cloud or remote controller may use RFID for positioning by placing readers and tags upon production environment. This project integrates RFID technology for automatic identification of various manufacturing objects and AGVs for delivering them autonomously within a smart factory.

Students may have the knowledge on RFID, BlueTooth, C and Java programming.

Automatic floor roughness design for the new Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel


Supervisor

Prof. Richard G.J. Flay
Dr. Yin Fai Li

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG090

In order to simulate the natural wind over different kinds of terrain, we need to be able to change the roughness of the wind tunnel floor to simulate rough surfaces like large cities, or smooth surfaces like water. At present this is done manually by the placement of blocks of wood on the floor. We need an automated system where the appropriate blocks or flaps rise up through the floor, whose height can be controlled. The lab has ideas on how the floor roughness could be designed, so the project will entail detailed design and build. Project would suit practical student who is interested in aerodynamics and design and build. Student will need to have completed Part III.

Design of a 3 axis traversing rig for the new Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel


Supervisor

Prof. Richard G.J. Flay
Dr. Yin Fai Li

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG091

It is essential to know what the flow characteristics are in the vicinity of the model for any wind tunnel testing, and that requires measurement with a sensor, such as a hot-wire probe, or a Cobra pressure sensor. The sensors need to be able to be positioned accurately under computer and manual control in x, y, and z space. The lab has ideas on how the traversing could be designed, so the project will entail detailed design and build. The project would suit a practical student who is interested in aerodynamics and design and build. Student will need to have completed Part III.

Experimental Characterisation of Woven and Braided Textiles for the Manufacture of Automotive Composite Parts


Supervisor

Prof. Simon Bickerton
Willsen Wijaya

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG092

The application of carbon and glass fibre reinforced plastics continues to grow worldwide, with particularly high growth in the automotive industry. Textile fibre reinforcements are key material inputs to the he Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) process, in which reinforcements are placed within a rigid mould and infused with a thermoset resin (e.g. epoxy, polyester). Automated braiding is used to create continuous fibre reinforcements for tubular parts of high aspect ratio, subsequently infused using RTM. Researchers at the CACM are developing computer models of braided and woven textiles, to predict their deformation in an RTM mould, and their resistance to resin flow. Experimental techniques will be developed and applied through this project, to study the influence of textile parameters, and to provide verification of the textile simulations. The project is related to funded projects in collaboration with BMW, Germany.

Description of tasks: Based at the CACM on the Newmarket Campus, this student will work closely with the supervisors on several experimental studies. A woven textile will be the focus, with existing techniques being applied to assess compressive deformation and permeability. Other measurement techniques are in development, and the student will be involved in these developments.

A nonlinear device for enhanced vibration suppression


Supervisor

Dr. Vladislav Sorokin
+64 9 923 5899

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG093

Conventional tuned vibration absorbers (TVAs) have been effectively employed for vibration suppression purposes in various applications, including machine tools, constructions and aircraft. The TVA comprises a small mass attached to the host system through a damper and a spring. By tuning properties of the device, i.e. its mass, stiffness of the spring and damping, it is possible to considerably reduce vibrations of the host structure in the specified (near resonant) frequency range. In the simplest case, the host structure can be modelled as a single degree of freedom mass-spring-damper system.

 

Many real technological applications, e.g. those mentioned above, require the effects of nonlinearities on the systems response to be taken into account. These effects can be significant, for example, in the case of relatively large vibration amplitudes. The conventional vibration absorber is a linear device and thus its performance for vibration suppression for nonlinear systems can considerably deteriorate. The present project proposes to study the effectiveness of a nonlinear vibration absorber for vibration suppression in such systems. By contrast to the conventional absorber, it comprises not only linear, but also nonlinear spring and its damping characteristics are also nonlinear. The host structure is to be modelled as a single degree of freedom system comprising linear and nonlinear springs and dampers. The aim is to determine optimal properties of the nonlinear vibration absorber for effective vibration suppression of the host structure in a wide range of vibration amplitudes.

The project implies a theoretical study combined with numerical experiments, e.g. in Matlab. It requires basic knowledge of dynamics and vibrations of two degrees of freedom systems and some experience with the corresponding analytical methods. Some experience with Matlab is also preferable.

Porting of an OPC UA implementation to the Arduino platform


Supervisor

Prof. Xun Xu

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG094

OPC UA (Open Platform Communications - Unified Architecture) is the emerging machine-to-machine communication protocol used in Industrie 4.0. This project looks at how OPC UA implementation can be realised in association with the Arduino platform, which has the benefit of easy setup and development. Recent sensing technologies will be used in conjunction with wireless communication, i.e. compact sensors connected directly to the internet using an industrial standard.

More specifically, the aim of the project is to bring open62541, a lightweight and open-source C/C++ implementation of OPC UA, to a WiFi-enabled Arduino-compatible board/chip (e.g. MKR1000, Espressif). The outcome of the project is a platform ready to be deployed in industry or used by other researchers.

Applicants should be conversant with software programming and development (ideally C/C++). Previous experience with Arduino or other embedded programming is beneficial but not necessary. You will be working with a PhD student.

Cyber-Physical System based on Augmented Reality


Supervisor

Prof. Xun Xu

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG095

This research aims to transform a mechanical system or device (e.g. CNC machine tool) into a smart Cyber-Physical System (CPS). In this CPS, a cyber-twin of the physical system will be developed and closely integrated with the physical system.  Augmented Reality (AR) will be used to, (a) visualise the operation of the system, (b) report misuse of the system through real-time diagnosis and (c) assist assembly, disassembly or maintenance work over of the system. This project requires basic knowledge about sensors, embedded system programming (stm32, Arduino, etc.) and web service development.

Optimal loudspeaker/microphone configuration for real-time speech masking system


Supervisor

Dr. Yusuke Hioka

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG096

Speech masking is a technique being used to hide confidential information in a target speech where a jammer sound (called masking sound) is played to hinder understanding by the human auditory system. Since the masking sound could cause annoyance for listeners, the supervisor’s team has been working on a research that will identify a novel design of masking system that will NOT cause any psychological disruptions to the listeners while maintaining its masking performance. To this end, so far the team has discovered a few novel design of masking sound but the most effective way for projecting the masking sound to the listeners is still unknown. This summer research project will focus on the optimal configuration of loudspeakers/microphones used to generate and project the masking sound. The projects will include setting up an experimental rig using audio devices (i.e. loudspeakers, microphones, audio interface) and programmes to generate a masking sound, running subjective listening tests to evaluate the performance of each configuration, and analysis of the listening tests.

Suitable candidates should have some fundamental knowledge of signal processing such as completing MECHENG370 or ELECTENG733 if they are University of Auckland students. Matlab or C programming experience is a plus.