Engineering Science

Modelling of 3D and 4D freeform additive printing

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Mark Battley
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG054

The aim of this project is to develop and validate analysis methods that can be used to accurately predict the deformation and failure of 3D printed lattice-type structures from bio-based materials, and use the models to explore opportunities for 3D and 4D behaviour, where the structure responds to its environment such as by changing shape, stiffness or other functionalities.

Desired outcomes from the project include developing and validating analysis methodologies that can predict expected properties based on constituent material and printer performance inputs, and understanding how the geometry and material choice can be tailored to achieve required functionalities. This will include analytical and numerical (e.g. FEA) modelling of the material and structural behaviour, and undertaking experimental testing to measure the performance under different loading and environmental conditions.

The student should have a good understanding of mechanics of materials and structures, and an interest in learning more about how to apply various analysis methods to real-world problems.

Constitutive behaviour of polymeric foams for high performance sandwich structures

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Mark Battley
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG055

Composite sandwich structures consist of two outer layers, or facesheets, surrounding a central low-density core, and are used in a variety of applications in marine, aviation, automotive and sporting industries. The foams increase the flexural stiffness and strength of the sandwich composite without substantial gain in mass, allowing them to be an ideal solution as lightweight strong materials. In many situations these are dynamically loaded, including the hulls of boats hitting waves or land and air vehicle crashes. The foam core materials used can have quite different failure modes, ranging from brittle to ductile depending on their formulation and how quickly they are loaded.

This project aims to develop and validate mathematical constitutive models to predict the failure process for typical structural polymeric foam core materials such as Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Styrene-Acrylonitrile (SAN). Physical testing of core materials will be undertaken with Digital Image Correlation based full-field strain measurement at quasi-static and high-rate loadings. Existing foam constitutive models will be reviewed, and relevant models implemented in non-linear and dynamic Abaqus finite element models. The accuracy of the models will be determined relative to the experimental data, and additional refinements and extensions developed, and implemented as user defined UMAT material models. The new constitutive models will be used to predict the onset and propagation of damage for water and hard-object impact of sandwich panels.

Wave impact on coastal structures

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Mark Battley
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG056

The overall goal of this work is to develop experimental and numerical methods to investigate the effect of wave impacts on coastal structures and landscapes, with a particular focus on how flexibility of structures affects the response. This topic is of increasing global importance due to climate change induced sea level rises and extreme weather events, and is also very important to communities exposed to under-sea seismic risks.

Specific aims of this project are to:
- Design, manufacture and instrument a flexible scale model object (such as vertical cylinder or scale model building) which can be impacted by waves in an existing lab scale wave impact facility
- Implement a high-speed imaging system to experimentally characterise the full-field fluid flow velocities and the structural deformations of the scale model object
- Undertake water impact experiments and collect and analyse the imaging data
Develop numerical models of the coupled fluid-structure behaviour, compare the predictions to the experimental measurements and refine and validate the modelling methodology
- Document the results in a technical report and poster

This project would suit a student who has a good background in computational mechanics and has an interest in developing an understanding of experimental methods and full-field continuum imaging techniques.

Adding multi-criteria optimisation to OpenSolver

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Andrew Mason, Dr Andrea Raith
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG057

This project will extend the popular open source optimiser, OpenSolver, so that users can model and solve optimisation problems with more than one objective using Excel. Solving these problems requires showing users a set of possible solutions, and letting them easily understand the trade-offs in these solutions. We will need to develop good solution algorithms and new visualisation tools to let the user explore the solution set.

This work will also include final testing, and the first public release, of the new OpenSolver Simulation and Scenario manager.

This project will also add new recently developed solvers to the engines available in OpenSolver.

The student needs good skills in programming (preferably with some VBA experience), experience using OpenSolver, and an understanding of linear and integer programming.

Enhancement of SolverStudio for Excel

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Andrew Mason
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG058

SolverStudio is an Excel add-in that allows optimisation models to be built using Excel and modern modelling languages such as PuLP and JuMP. This project will extend SolverStudio by adding support for more modelling languages (including SCIP), adding new visualisation capabilities, and creating a new interface for creating and editing OpenSolver models within SolverStudio.

The student will need good programming skills, and will ideally have experience with Python and perhaps Visual Basic. Experience in C# would give more scope for the range of improvements that could be implemented, but is not essential.

Advanced tools for analytics visualisations in Excel

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Andrew Mason, Dr Tony Downward
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG059

Microsoft have recently released a new coding framework for extending Excel with browser-based tools. We have some limited experience in using these new capabilities to create new visualisations and interactive tools within Excel. This project will build on this preliminary work to create new open-source Excel add-ins based on this new technology. Possible applications include adding new plotting capabilities to SolverStudio, displaying interactive visualisations of OpenSolver’s Branch and Bound process, building interactive Gantt charts and staff scheduling displays, building 3D visualisations for the Simplex algorithm, etc.

The student will need experience programming in JavaScript and developing web sites with client-side code. Experience with the Microsoft Office Javascript API’s would be a bonus.

OpenSolver optimisation for Libre Office

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Andrew Mason
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG060

OpenSolver is a popular open source optimisation tool that is currently only available for Excel. This makes it inaccessible to those who choose to use open source spreadsheets such as Calc in Libre Office. This project will develop a first release of OpenSolver for Libre Office, written either using Python or OpenOffice Basic.

The student will need experience with Linux, good programming skills, and a willingness to learn much more about the inner workings of Libre Office than is known by their supervisor.

Analytics for identifying Māori shareholders

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Andrew Mason
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG061

We are progressing a National Science Challenge project that involves developing analytics and optimisation tools that can help identify missing shareholders. Many Māori organisations have a growing number of shareholders and face the very real challenge of keeping track of these shareholders. This is not easy, as demonstrated, for example, by the over $4,000,000 of dividends that the Taranki-based organisation, Parininihi ki Waitotara (PKW), has owing to missing shareholders. Similar problems are faced by the Māori Trustee who is tasked with managing Māori land, where each land parcel can have 100’s of owners. We are developing analytics tools that use public information to help organisations such as PKW better understand and locate its missing shareholders.

We are seeking a student with good programming and mathematical modelling skills to work with us in developing these tools.

Linguistic analytics: Modelling the ‘borrowing’ of English words into Māori

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Andrew Mason, Dr Peter Keegan, Assoc. Prof. Catherine Watson
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG062

As part of a National Science Challenge project, we are developing new approaches based on analytics and optimisation for understanding the process by which English words have been adopted into the Māori language. This requires modelling, at a phonetic level, the ‘rules’ by which vowels and consonants have been mapped, and syllables added, as Māori speakers adopted English names and words to match the structures of Māori. An interest in language and computational language processing would be helpful. We are seeking a student with good programming and mathematical modelling skills to work with us in developing these models.

Mapping Māori names over place and time

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Andrew Mason, Dr Peter Keegan, Assoc. Prof. Catherine Watson
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG063

As part of a National Science Challenge project, we are developing new approaches for understanding how Māori names have been used over time, and how this differs over geographical regions. This project will develop tools for mining historical (and current) documents in Māori to identify and extract names. This will allow us to build a database tracking usage changes over time. By using language inference tools, we will associate names with places to better understand regional variations in name usage. This work will have an initial focus on Taranaki and the West Coast. An interest in data mining and natural language processing would be helpful. We are seeking a student with good programming and mathematical modelling skills to work with us on this project.

Advanced non-linear optimisation for OpenSolver – the open source optimiser for Excel

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Andrew Mason
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG064

This project will develop a new enhanced non-linear tool for OpenSolver – a popular open source optimiser for Excel that has been downloaded over 400,000 times. OpenSolver currently solves non-linear models by translating the Excel spreadsheet formula into various internal formats before writing out a file suitable for a non-linear solver. This leads to many problems, including memory overflows, crashes, poor error messages, and slow solving. We are seeking a student with good VBA (and/or C#) skills to create a new approach for handling non-linear problems.  These changes will address the most common complaints from our OpenSolver community, and make a real difference to our tens of thousands of users.

Computer modelling of human brain cells

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Charles Unsworth
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG065

In this project, we require a student who would like to develop computational neuroscience modelling of the human astrocyte and compare this to data. The student should possess good computational and mathematical skills.

Signal and image processing of human brain cells on chip

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Charles Unsworth
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG066

In this project, we require a student who would be interested in using signal and image processing to extract the communication that exists within networks of brain cells on a chip. The student should possess good computational and mathematical skills.

APSS2-Kessler CubeSat Integration

Supervisor

Dr John Cater, Jim Hefkey
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG067

The second University of Auckland CubeSat mission APSS2-Kessler uses EnduroSat hardware. This platform will require testing and integration with an electrodynamic tether payload. Research on the interaction between the deployed tether and the orbital environment is required. Experience with embedded programming and/or mechanical development is preferred.

Plasma thruster vectoring

Supervisor

Dr John Cater, Dr Nicholas Rattenbury
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG068

Te Pūneha Ātea - the Auckland Space Institute - is developing a range of plasma-based thrusters for satellite manoeuvres on orbit. This project will research thrust vectoring of charged plasmas using high strength magnetic fields.

Taniwha III: A fast human powered, fin-propelled submarine

Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Iain A. Anderson
Faculty of Engineering
Project code: ENG069

We are building a fast fin-propelled human powered submarine (Taniwha III) that will be faster and more manoeuvrable than our world-beating Taniwha II (winner of the 2016 European International Submarine race. This is a great opportunity to practice and develop your engineering skills in a project that will result in a racing machine. You will also advance biomimetic fin-like propulsion. Being part of Team Taniwha will be a great experience for anyone who thinks that racing a submarine is cool. You will develop practical, design integration and team skills too.
 
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