Breadcrumbs

Chemical and Biological Engineering

The relevant projects are listed below. Alternatively, you can return to the main list of subject areas.

Please note: There are many overlapping aspects in the Chemical and Biological, Materials and Process, and Mechanical Engineering programmes.  Students should contact the academics of the various projects they are interested in. Note that it is possible to have design teams made up of students from different engineering programmes.  

These pages are updated as new projects become available.  Please check back regularly.


The use of tannalised timber in composites

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
To assess the use of tannalised timber in recycled plastic as a structural material. The aim is to reduce landfill waste and encapsulate toxins that would cause damage to the environment.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering


Biodegradable silage wrap

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
To produce material with sufficient structural integrity but controlled degradabililty to be used as an alternative to petroleum based silage wrap which would result in environmental damage on farms. This project would need to get underway early in the year to allow time for biodegradability, however, is a priority focus Waikato Regional Council waste minimisation.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering


Optimisation of microwave heating process of ready-made meals

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
A challenge with microwaveable meals is to get essentially uniform temperature distribution, from spatially variable rates of heating. To a certain extent this can be achieved by strategic placement of the different food components, and potentially by customised packaging as well. The aim of this project would be to optimise the heating process for a selected frozen meal, using modelling and experimentation.

Supervisor:
James Carson


Assessing the performance of a building-integrated solar thermal collector

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
The University of Waikato has a range of solar panels whose performance needs to be assessed in order for improvements to be made.

Supervisor:
James Carson


Physical properties analogies

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
Under certain conditions transport properties of one type may be determined by analogy from another property, which may be more easily measured (for example, mass transfer coefficients are often determined from heat transfer coefficients during drying processes via the Chilton-Colburn Analogy and vice versa). There are certain situations where the same may be true of physical properties. The aim of this project would be to investigate ways in which thermal conductivity could be determined by analogy with another physical property which is simpler to measure.

Supervisor:
James Carson


Measurement and prediction of bulk thermal contact in particulate materials

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
The contact area and contact resistance between particles has a significant impact on the effective thermal conductivity of the material (and, by analogy, many other physical properties as well). For regularly shaped, regularly packed materials this quantity may be predicted from theoretical analyses; however, for irregular materials, it is much harder to predict. This issue poses the single greatest obstacle to improving the accuracy of thermal conductivity predictions in particulate materials. This project would investigate ways to define, measure and model the overall thermal contact in particulate materials.

Supervisor:
James Carson


Extraction of phenolic compounds from chestnut waste

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
Develop and optimise an extraction process for high-value phenolic compounds from a waste stream of NZ chestnut production. The project will be in collaboration with CNS Biotech (http://www.cnsbiotech.com/).

Supervisor:
James Carson


Cyclone separation of chestnut shells from chestnut kernel

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
New Zealand chestnuts grow relatively large by comparison with Asian or American varieties and have the potential to be a lucrative crop. Unlike European and Asian chestnuts, their shell and pellicle are difficult to remove, which has led to the development of mechanical, abrasion shell removal devices. However, a significant number of chestnuts bread during this process and are mixed with the shell. This project aims to look at separating chestnut fragments from the chestnut shells using cyclones. This project would build on previous work by ENGG492 students.

Supervisor:
James Carson


Further processing of chestnut crumb

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
Chestnut fragments can be turned into a number of products, including flour, puree, cider and others. This project would look at optimising processes to add value to this product stream.

Supervisor:
James Caron


Microstructure and properties analysis of the microwave-sintered and extruded Ti-5553 alloy

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
Ti-5553 (Ti-5Al-5V-5Mo-3Cr, wt.%) alloy is a recently developed near ? titanium alloy, with good ductility and high strength. It has a great potential to replace Ti-10-2-3 alloy in almost all the aerospace applications, and recently it has been provided to use for making landing gear in Boeing 787 aircraft. In this project, student will investigate the microstructure and properties of Ti-5553 alloy prepared by microwave-sintering and extrusion from blended elemental powder mixtures at different conditions, to build the processing-microstructure-property relationship for Ti-5553 alloy. This RESEARCH project is suitable for one or two students.

Supervisor:
Fei Yang


Remediation of emerging organic contaminants and heavy metals using sea lettuce and flax

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
Emerging organic contaminants such as estrogens and heavy metals in wastewater and water are a growing concern for the environment. Treatment options including sea lettuce and New Zealand flax grown in the labs will be examined for remediation before discharge. Suitable for 2 students.

Supervisor:
Graeme Glasgow/Merilyn Manley-Harris/Mark Lay


Molecular imprinted polymers for the treatment of water and wastewater

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
MIPS can selectively remove metals and organics from fluids. A local company LIGAR produces these and is keen to explore treatment of drinking water and wastewater for the removal of tastes, odours, organics, arsenic. This RESEARCH project is suitable for one student.

Supervisor:
Graeme Glasgow/Mark Lay


In-situ electrochlorination

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
Drinking water is commonly disinfected with chlorine gas or hypochlorite solution. This project will further develop a piece of apparatus used to generate chlorine in drinking water in-situ using electrodes, avoiding the need for dosing gas or chemicals.

Supervisor:
Graeme Glasgow/Mark Lay


"Rapid" composters and Clo'ey

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
With Rachael Goddard from FMD, to investigate if the two prototype rapid composters we currently have and Clo'ey are actually rapid by measuring extent of composting by measuring heat and CO2 production from "finished" compost. A side project is to carry out a life cycle assessment on Clo'ey and compare it commercial composting facilities in terms of CO2 emissions, energy use and other environmental impacts. This is a RESEARCH project suitable to one student.

Supervisor:
Mark Lay/Graeme Glasgow


Protein recovery from green waste and paunch grass

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
With Wallace Corporation and Red Lid Bins, and Tim Ng, to optimise protein recovery from green waste and paunch grass using juicing, pressing, steam coagulation and other techniques. This is a RESEARCH project suitable to one student.

Supervisor:
Mark Lay


Novotein thermoplastic foams

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
With Aduro Biopolymers, Protein Plastics research group, and Chanelle Gavin, to explore the effect of protein composition on extrusion foaming, expansion ratio, density, crystallinity and compressive strength. This is a RESEARCH project suitable to one student.

Supervisor:
Mark Lay


Collagen recovery from koi carp fish skin

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
With Brendan Hicks from Biological Sciences, to digest fish skin to extract collagen and explore the use of membrane filtration in purifying the collagen. This will involve measuring membrane flux and collagen yields under different operating conditions. This is a RESEARCH project suitable to one student.

Supervisor:
Mark Lay


Chromium recovery from tannery waste liquor

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
With Aaron Low from Ligar Biopolymers. Ligar has a selective resin that specifically absorbs chromium from tannery waste liquor. We want to compare how that performs to conventional cation exchange resins. This is a RESEARCH project suitable to one student.

Supervisor:
Mark Lay


Chromatography modelling and validation

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
I have a matlab model that predicts protein behaviour in chromatography columns based on molecular weight, isoelectric point and solution ionic strength. This needs validation with readily available proteins using anion exchange, cation exchange and hydrophobic interaction chromatography. This is a RESEARCH project suitable to one student.

Supervisor:
Mark Lay


Waste wool

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
Waste wool is currently being locally processed into mat for insulation purposes. However, this has potential in composite materials. This project is aimed at assessing the mechanical and physical properties of waste wool composites and therefore their potential for waste wool composites. This RESEARCH project is suitable for one or more student/s.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering


3D printing of Composites

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
3D printing is a technique that is rapidly developing, however, commonly stated limitations include the limitation of the available materials. This project aims to develop reinforced material for use on thermoplastic 3D printers to enable parts of higher structural integrity to be produced. This RESEARCH project can be adjusted to suit the number of students interested.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering


EVA/stone aggregate roading material

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
This is part of a collaboration with the road science part of the Downer Group, to engineer roads with improved durability. You could contribute to less traffic jams by alleviating the need for such regular repair as is currently carried out. This is a RESEARCH project suitable for one student.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering


3D printing with recycled material

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
This project aims to improve the sustainability of 3D printing through use of recycled and bioderived materials. This is a RESEARCH project suitable for one student.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering


Chicken feather composites

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
Work at Waikato has already shown the potential for improving insulation of polymers through the use of chicken feathers. This project aims to improve the mechanical performance to allow broader application of such materials. This is a RESEARCH project suitable for one student.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering


Heat preservation of fish

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
To look at the effect of heat on preserving fish. Involves "canning" principles and measuring how heat treatment affects texture, histamines, acceptability, etc of fish. This is a RESEARCH project suitable for one student.

Supervisor:
Janis Swan in conjunction with Prof. Brendan Hicks, School of Science


Tea processing

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
See supervisor for details

Supervisor:
Janis Swan


Drag reduction on hydrophobic surfaces

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
See supervisor for details

Supervisor:
Michael Walmsley


Heat exchange network modelling

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
See supervisor for details

Supervisor:
Michael Walmsley


Modelling HRV systems in residential housing

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
See supervisor for details

Supervisor:
Michael Walmsley


EROI synergy of wind and hydro power

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
See supervisor for details

Supervisor:
Michael Walmsley


MVR integration into a Kraft pulp mill

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
See supervisor for details

Supervisor:
Michael Walmsley


Laccase production and characterisation

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
We propose to carry out comprehensive characterisation and production trials of a laccase (an enzyme that oxidises a wide range of compounds) for the purpose of controlled and environmentally friendly degradation of plastic materials, a challenge in material science that remains unresolved. This laccase is excreted by a bacterium isolated from huhu grub guts (i.e., endemic to New Zealand) and appears to work at high pH, making it unusually suitable for biotechnological applications compared with other known laccases, which are predominantly isolated from fungi. We will identify the effective substrates and operational conditions for this laccase (and the bacterium that produces it) and potentially devise a novel approach to degrade plastics in a controlled manner (i.e., so shopping bags don't begin to degrade from the moment they're produced or exposed to moisture). This is a RESEARCH project suitable for one student.

Supervisor:
Johan Verbeek


Critical moisture content in natural polymers

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
Natural polymers strongly interact with water and change its mechanical properties accordingly. This project will investigate how polymer properties change around the critical moisture content and how this is affected by other compounds in the plastic material. This is a RESEARCH project suitable for one student.

Supervisor:
Johan Verbeek


Extrusion modelling

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
Using software to model flow and heat transfer in plastic extruders. Done in collaboration with SCION. This is a RESEARCH project suitable for one student.

Supervisor:
Johan Verbeek


Powder bulk storage in partnership with Dairy Goat

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
see supervisor for details

Supervisor:
Mark Lay, Graeme Glasgow


UV sterilisation of packaging in partnership with Dairy Goat

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
see supervisor for details

Supervisor:
Mark Lay, Graeme Glasgow


Treatment and potential applications of produced water from the oil and gas industry

Project type:
Design

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
Investigate and develop a treatment process for produced water from either oil fields, shale oil, coal bed methane, natural or tight gas to produce water that is either potable, or could be used for other applications such as irrigation without adverse effects such as salination or contamination by PHAs, metals or other toxic compounds.

Supervisor:
Mark Lay, Graeme Glasgow


Alternative protein generation to meet world demand

Project type:
Design

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
Investigate and develop a facility for large scale production of insect (or alternative) protein, and to convert that protein into a saleable, tasty and commercially agreeable product for a niche market (e.g. vegans, vegetarians, body builders, health supplements, consumers trying to be more environmentally friendly) or for large markets (such as animal or aquaculture feed).

Supervisor:
Mark Lay, Graeme Glasgow


Probiotics and the food supply

Project type:
Research

Updated:
28/02/2017

Project description:
See supervisor for details

Supervisor:
Aydin Berenjian