Mechanical Engineering

Interface Dynamics and Simulations in Soft Surface to Soft Surface Interaction

Supervisor

Peter Xu

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG086

This is part of soft robotics for a medical application. The interaction between soft object and soft object needs being developed from the first principles. Also, the interaction dynamics are expected to be simulated in COMSOL or FEA.

Development of robust cladding materials for the construction industry

Wave impact on coastal structures

Making and measuring tornadoes in the Aerodynamics Lab which drive a wind turbine.

Supervisor

Prof. Richard Flay
Mr Neil Hawkes

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG087

A rig is being built to artificially create “Buoyancy Vortices” (which in many respects are like tornadoes) using a heated plate and vanes at the base. We require a student to assist with undertaking measurements of the flow structure in the vortex, and analysing the data. This project will suit a practical person who likes undertaking careful experimental work, and wishes to learn about aerodynamics and associated instrumentation, and how to analyse such data. The student will be working closely with PhD candidate Neil Hawkes. It is expected that future PhD projects on this research will spawn which may be of interest to the successful summer student.

Methods for examining the performance of network communication between control-nodes

Supervisor

Prof. Xun Xu

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG088

Future control systems are moving away from a rigid monolithic architecture. As part of research on Industry 4.0, we are investigating controls distributed at the field-level. That is, every component of a machine tool or manufacturing equipment has its own control-node and these nodes are dynamically connected via TCP/IP to form a type of distributed control system. The goal is not only to realize high-level monitoring but also to form high-performance control loops.

The aim of this project is to develop methods and examine the performance of the network communication between the individual control-nodes. Bandwidth, delay and jitter will be collected for different hardware, software and protocol configurations. An example is the communication between two embedded systems (ESP32-based) inside a corporate network (WPA2 Enterprise) using the OPC UA protocol (TCP & HTTPS).

Applicants should be conversant with software. Previous experience with Arduino or other embedded programming is beneficial but not necessary.

Cyber-Physical System based on Augmented Reality

Supervisor

Prof. Xun Xu

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG089

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.

Sensor fusion using motion processing unit and Arduino

Supervisor

Jaspreet Dhupia (ext 85915)

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG090

Connect Arduino to communicate with MATLAB / Simulink.
Use Arduino to acquire accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer readings.
Determine pose in 3-dimensions in real-time
Explore sensor fusion techniques to improve pose estimation

Radio-controlled self-driving car

Supervisor

Jaspreet Dhupia (ext 85915)

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG091

Customizing a radio controlled car to communicate with PC and programming controller for self-driving operation.

Development of a Robotic Airship for Indoor and Outdoor Human Robot Interaction Applications

Supervisor

Dr. Minas Liarokapis

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG092

In this project, we will focus on the development of a robotic airship (e.g., Zeppelin) that will be able to navigate both indoor and outdoor environments, facilitating the execution of human robot interaction applications.

Skills required

  • Background in Robotics
  • Solidworks or other CAD software experience

Development of a Robotic Sugar-glider for Dynamic Locomotion in Unstructured Terrains

Supervisor

Dr. Minas Liarokapis

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG093

In this project, we will focus on the development of a robotic sugar-glider that will be able to navigate uneven and unstructured environments with ease.

Skills required

  • Background in Robotics
  • Solidworks or other CAD software experience.

Development of an Ultra-Fast, Adaptive Robot Hand for Aerial Grasping

Supervisor

Dr. Minas Liarokapis

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG094

In this project, we will focus on the development of an ultra-fast, adaptive robot hand for aerial grasping that will be able to perform robust grasping tasks, facilitating the execution of autonomous package delivery tasks.

Skills required

  • Background in Robotics
  • Solidworks or other CAD software experience.

Study of a Rotary Vane Expander and Its Application to Improve the Energy Efficiency of a Refrigeration / Heat Pump System

Supervisor

Alison Subiantoro

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG095

This is an undergraduate student level project. The duration is 10 weeks full time. The relevant research fields include: thermodynamics, refrigeration, heat pump, expansion machine, energy, environment, sustainability. The nature of work is theoretical & experimental.

Abstract:
Refrigeration systems are an integral part of modern life. They are used for human comfort, food preservation, medical applications, thermal control of manufacturing processes, etc. Among others, the vapour compression refrigeration system is still the most commonly used alternative due to its simplicity. However, such system suffers significant energy waste during expansion in a conventional 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.
Recently, a rotary vane expander has been built and preliminary tested in Thermofluids Lab in the Newmarket Campus. It is the purpose of this study to further investigate the expander’s performance and characteristics in an open-cycle air system and in a refrigeration / heat pump unit. The student will learn the basics of refrigeration systems, expansion devices and rotary vane mechanism. The student will also gain experience with experiments, numerical modelling, data collection and analysis.

Acoustic Levitation

Supervisor

Mike Kingan

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG096

You will use a Matlab-based Boundary Element Code to calculate the acoustic field scattered from a small spherical object (diameter ~3mm) immersed in an acoustic field produced by an array of ultrasonic transducers. From your numerical solution you will calculate the “acoustophoretic force” acting on the sphere. You will use this to design an input signal to the array which can levitate and move small particles in a controlled manner. You will validate your numerical method against experiment using the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s Acoustic Levitation Rig.

Nonlinear vibrational energy harvester based on magnetic polymer and electret

Supervisor

Lihua Tang

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG097

This project aims to investigate the frequency bandwidth broadening potential of a nonlinear vibrational energy harvester. The harvester is based on magnetic polymer and electret and aims at scavenging vibrational energy from human body movement. A prototype will be built and tested. A magneto-electro-mechanical model will be utilized and improved to understand its nonlinear behaviour. If time allows, structural optimization will be carried out to further improve the performance of the prototype.

A student with knowledge of finite element, matlab and comsol skills is preferred but not compulsory.

Yacht Research Unit Moth Test Rig

Supervisor

Professor Richard Flay

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG098

Moth Test Rig

This project will involve designing and building a test rig in which the performance of a hydro-foiling moth’s foils can be tested. It is planned that the rig would sit on a high speed rib and measure 6 components of force and moment. The foil would be mounted off the side of the boat to ensure no effects from the hull.

Experience with Arduino, programming, 3d printing, mechanical design along with a knowledge of sailing and yacht mechanics is preferable.

Prediction of yacht motions in waves for hydrofoil-assisted monohull racing yachts

Supervisor

Dr. Tom Allen

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG099

hydrofoil-assisted monohull racing yacht

Simplified ship motion prediction methods, based on strip theory, allow for fast determination of approximate pressure loadings on ships and yachts during operation in a predetermined sea state. This project would build on existing ship motion prediction approaches and expand them for application to hydrofoil-assisted and full foiling monohull racing yachts. The objective of this summer studentship would be to develop an in-house piece of code (platform to be determined)

Development and testing of software and algorithms for rehabilitation robotics

Supervisor

Andrew McDaid

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG100

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

Andrew McDaid

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG101

This project involves experimental testing and analysis of a new era of ‘smart’ wearable medical devices developed in our labs here at UoA. 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

Andrew McDaid

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG102

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.

CFD Modelling of turbulent natural convection

Supervisor

Stuart Norris

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG103

CFD Modelling of turbulent natural convection

Laminar natural convection is well understood and can be accurately modelled using CFD. However, simulating turbulent flows requires a model of the turbulence that is of uncertain accuracy. This project would require the student to model natural convection using RANS and LES methods, to validate the simulation against an experimental benchmark, and to determine the scaling of the flow in the turbulent regime.

A background in fluid mechanics and convective heat transfer is desirable (eg: MECHENG.311, MECHENG.325, MECHENG.711, MECHENG.712 or similar). The project uses CFD software on a Linux based computer cluster, so experience in Linux and CFD software would be helpful, although is not essential.

Aerodynamic trends for upwind yacht sails determined using CFD

Supervisor

Stuart Norris

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG104

Aerodynamic trends for upwind yacht sails
Aerodynamic trends for upwind yacht sails

The aerodynamics of upwind yacht sails is of importance to sail designers and yacht racing teams. These teams are increasingly reliant on CFD to determine their sail performance. This project would model upwind sails using CFD and will validate the model against existing experimental data. The model will then be used to determine performance variation for parametric variation in the sails.

A background in fluid mechanics or aerodynamics (eg: MECHENG.325, MECHENG.712 or similar) is desirable. The project uses CFD software on a Linux based computer cluster, so experience in Linux and CFD software would be helpful, although is not essential.

Development of a pendulum type vibration absorber

Supervisor

Vladislav Sorokin

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG105

The project implies development and experimental testing of a pendulum type vibration absorber. The characteristic feature of the absorber is that it utilises “parametric” type of excitation, by contrast to conventional linear and nonlinear tuned vibration absorbers that are widely used in engineering applications. Combined with the inherent nonlinearity of the pendulum type vibration absorber, it shows the potential of such an absorber to outperform the conventional one, in particular, be effective in a wider frequency range.
The project will involve combined theoretical study and experimental testing of the absorber performance using the equipment available at the Dynamics and Control lab at the department.

3D printing soft devices with functional materials

Supervisor

Tim Giffney

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG106

3D printing has gone through explosive growth as a technology to fabricate customised solid objects. However, until now 3D printed objects have been somewhat boring in they do not actually "do" anything - external sensors and actuators are required to create a functioning device. Combining 3D printing technology with functional materials is a key technology to enable fabrication of devices where sensing and actuation are integrated into the part.

Interpreting a dynamic environment: Synergy of VR and robot navigation

Supervisor

Tim Giffney

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG107

What if VR systems did not need prepared rooms, and obstacles or objects appearing in the real world could be detected and added to a simulation whilst running? What about robots that could understand and navigate in human spaces? Computer vision will be applied to detect new objects and insert approximate models taking advantage of the synergy between these two areas.

Poling during extrusion of printed piezoelectric polymer

Supervisor

Tim Giffney

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG108

Suitable actuator materials are the biggest missing link in creating a new way for integrated manufacturing of smart devices at the scale between microsystems and conventional manufacturing. This project will study the feasibility and material properties of depositing piezoelectric material for sensor and actuator devices.

Improving the Reliability of VEX Robot Hardware Used in Teaching

Supervisor

Dr. Hazim Namik

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG109

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 improving the existing hardware and testing the remote lab system. 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.

Design, Build and Testing of Multi-purpose Wireless Sensors for Monitoring Composite Manufacturing Processes

Supervisor

Prof. Simon Bickerton
Prof. Zoran Salcic

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Project code: ENG110

Carbon fibre composites are increasingly used in various sectors, including aerospace, marine, automotive and infrastructure. Composites manufacturing processes often utilise sensing and control technologies, but significant opportunities exist from development of small, low-cost wireless sensors and sensor networks to transform and simplify current manufacturing processes. Working with manufacturing researchers at the Centre for Advanced Composite Materials (CACM), in cooperation with researchers in the Embedded Systems laboratory, a student is required for the design and manufacture of battery powered sensors, including measurement of temperature, pressure, and humidity. The student will work with PhD students that have sourced appropriate componentry, and have developed specifications for these novel wireless sensor. The components will be assembled to small printed circuit boards designed and developed utilising capabilities within Embedded Systems. The developed sensors will have application for high pressure and temperature processing, and the potential to be utilised across multiple industry sectors.

This project is available to Part 3 Mechatronics students, who have strengths and interests in electronics and signal processing.

Novel Grippers for Automated Layup and Manufacture of Advanced Composite Structures

Supervisor

Prof. Simon Bickerton
Dr Minas Liarokapis

Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Project code: ENG111

Carbon fibre composites are increasingly used in various sectors, including aerospace, marine, automotive and infrastructure. A team led out of the Centre for Advanced Composite Materials is developing new automated approaches to composites manufacturing, suitable for flexible production in small to medium runs, or mass customisation. This project is focused on development of novel robotic grippers or manipulators, incorporating sensors appropriate for the handling of carbon fibre textiles and prepreg materials. The student will be involved with the development and prototyping of mechanisms and material surfaces best suited to fibre handling, as well as the incorporation and testing of various sensors for inclusion within grippers.

The project is suitable for a Mechanical or Mechatronics student, who will work between the CACM (Newmarket) and Mechatronic laboratories (City Campus). This technology is being developed for future collaboration with companies such as Rocket Lab, Southern Spars, and Jackson Electrical.