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Materials and Process 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.


Further processing of chestnut crumb

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

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 Carson


Optimisation of microwave heating process of ready-made meals

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
Optimisation of microwave heating process of ready-made meals. 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:
30/01/2018

Project description:
Assessing the performance of a building-integrated solar thermal collector. 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:
30/01/2018

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:
30/01/2018

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


Pneumatic Separation of chestnut shells from chestnut kernel

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

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 break during this process and are mixed with the shell. This project aims to look at separating chestnut fragments from the chestnut shells using pneumatics. This project would build on previous work by ENGG492 students.

Supervisor:
James Carson


Understanding nutrient removal and biomass production capability of filamentous alga nutrient scrubbers

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
In conjunction with Rupert Craggs (NIWA).

Supervisor:
Graeme Glasgow


Controlling invertebrate grazer populations in algae production ponds

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
In conjunction with Rupert Craggs (NIWA).

Supervisor:
Graeme Glasgow


Sea lettuce for water remediation

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
Sea lettuce grows rapidly in estuaries on nutrients including nitrogen and phosphate from run off from agricultural lands. Sea lettuce will also grow in slightly saline environments. The proposal is to use sea lettuce to deliberately capture N and P upstream of estuaries, harvest the sea lettuce and process it to produce either a protein/carbohydrate food source, or a fertilizer.

Supervisor:
Graeme Glasgow


Fatty acids as processing aids in protein-based thermoplastics

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
Fatty acids can be used as processing aids in thermoplastic proteins to lower injection moulding pressure. This project will use thermally resolved X-ray diffraction to study the phase behavior of fatty acids in a protein based plastic.

Supervisor:
Johan Verbeek


Various topics around Novatein thermoplastic polymer

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
If you are interested in working on Novatein (bloodmeal derived polymer) there are several smaller projects that can be scoped to your liking. This is a RESEARCH project suitable for one student.

Supervisor:
Johan Verbeek


Rheological measurement of Decoloured Novatein and PLA blends

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
This project is in conjunction with Sandra Izuchukwu (PhD student). The 4th year student will be able to decolour bloodmeal, process DNTP, and blend with PLA using Itaconic anhydride, PEOX and pMDI as compatibilisers which they will be guided through and then measure the blends rheological properties.

Supervisor:
Johan Verbeek


Mechanical properties of Novatein foams - investigating the effect of relative humidity and temperature.

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
The mechanical properties of Novatein foams initially depend upon the residual water and plasticiser content of the polymer matrix after foaming. However these properties are also influenced by the environment and therefore can be manipulated. This research topic involves the production of foam samples, manipulation of the water/plasticiser content and quantification of the mechanical properties.

Supervisor:
Johan Verbeek


Degradation of Novatein Foams - composting and UV stability

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
Novatein is a bioderived and moulded articles will breakdown when commercially composted. This project will examine how readily the foamed material will break down by composting and its UV stability. This research topic involves producing the foamed samples and setting up and monitoring the composting process which will take a few weeks.

Supervisor:
Johan Verbeek


Wet extrusion of thermoplastic protein/natural fibre composites

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
This project utilises wet extrusion, a novel processing technique, to produce composite materials from bloodmeal-based thermoplastics and natural fibres. This project aims to produce a new material with improved material properties compared with Novatein thermoplastic protein.

Supervisor:
Johan Verbeek


Drag reduction on hydrophobic surfaces

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
See supervisor for details.

Supervisor:
Michael Walmsley


Heat exchange network modelling

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
See supervisor for details.

Supervisor:
Michael Walmsley


Modelling HRV systems in residential housing

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
See supervisor for details.

Supervisor:
Michael Walmsley


EROI synergy of wind and hydro power

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
See supervisor for details.

Supervisor:
Michael Walmsley


MVR integration into a Kraft pulp mill

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
See supervisor for details.

Supervisor:
Michael Walmsley


In-situ reinforced light metals

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
See supervisor for details.

Supervisor:
Leandro Bolzoni


Oxidation of powder metallurgy Ti alloys

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
See supervisor for details.

Supervisor:
Leandro Bolzoni


On the processing behaviour of AlFe-based alloys

Project type:
Research

Updated:
16/02/2018

Project description:
Aluminium and iron are well-established engineering materials used in the manufacturing of a variety of products due to their properties, abundances and reduced cost. As per the Al-Fe binary phase diagram, when mixed in the right proportion, these two elements can form a variate of intermetallic phases. The aim of this project is to investigate the feasibility of the fabrication of AlFe-based alloys starting from the respective metal powders. The study requires the review of the current literature and the analysis of binary phase diagram to be able to design and study the feasibility of the production of the material and the characterisation of its mechanical and physical properties using experimental techniques. This is a RESEARCH project suitable for 1 materials and processing engineering student.

Supervisor:
Leandro Bolzoni


Understanding the heat transfer during sintering of titanium

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
See supervisor for details.

Supervisor:
Leandro Bolzoni/James Carson


The use of tannalised timber in composites

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

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:
30/01/2018

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 results 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


3D printing of Composites

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

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:
30/01/2018

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:
30/01/2018

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


Solotec Kayak Loader Mark 2

Project type:
Research and Design

Updated:
7/02/2018

Project description:
The Solotec Kayak Loader Mark 1 is a product that allows for easy loading of the heaviest sea kayaks onto a car roof-rack. It has at this stage completed design, prototyping, testing, market acceptability and target market viability studies. The product is constructed from extruded aluminium and injection moulded recyclable plastic - 30% glass-filled polypropylene and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). As an environmentally aware company, Solotec have a desire to move away from the use of aluminium and plastic due to the environmental cost of extraction, production and recycling and would like to explore the use of natural, biodegradable and/or recycling materials that can be grown and manufactured in NZ alongside improved overall design.Solotec would also be keen to explore collaborating with the Science and Engineering and Business schools to work up a proposal for industry funding to take an innovative product such as this to market.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering


3D printing cellulose for high performance products

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
See supervisor for details.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering


Production of an environmentally friendly weed trimmer line

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

Project description:
If used as recommended, all weed trimmer line ends up distributed to the wider soil and water environment. As a fibrous polyamide, trimmer line contains plastic softeners which breakdown and enter watertables and the human foodchain* via plant and animal uptake and drinking water. Current global production is in excess of 20,000km.This project aims to produce a circular cross-section natural-source flexible line to mimic the properties of 3mm 'fibrous polyamide' weed trimmer line. Existing mechanical properties of synthetic line are sufficient.There is an ever-growing market for truly-sustainable products (and some willingness for a price premium) coupled with an awareness of the hazards synthetic chemicals entering the human and natural environment. This project has been identified and will be in conjunction with a NZ company* e.g. - Pinney etal. 2017. Second trimester amniotic fluid bisphenol-A concentration is associated with decreased birth weight in term infants. Reproductive Toxicology 67, 1-9."

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering


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

Project type:
Research

Updated:
30/01/2018

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


Optimising and understanding the TPC process

Project type:
Research

Updated:
31/01/2018

Project description:
Thermomechanical process is a potential method to rapidly and cost-effectively produce titanium alloy parts for engineering application from powder. The student will be expected to optimise the process, produce high-quality titanium alloy and understand the affecting factors. This research project suits to one student

Supervisor:
Fei Yang


Palladium Catalyst Cleaning

Project type:
Research

Updated:
7/02/2018

Project description:
This research project involves cleaning a Palladium Catalyst used in the production of Hydrogen Peroxide. This project is linked with industry. See supervisor for more details.

Supervisor:
Johan Verbeek


Palladium Catalyst Cleaning or Regeneration

Project type:
Design

Updated:
7/02/2018

Project description:
This project involves cleaning and/or regeneration of a Palladium Catalyst used in the production of Hydrogen Peroxide. The purpose of the process is to make the material safe to ship offshore and to reduce current operating expenses. Ideally the design would consider regeneration of the catalyst as well. This project is linked with industry. See supervisor for more details.

Supervisor:
Johan Verbeek


Sea lettuce for water remediation

Project type:
Design

Updated:
7/02/2018

Project description:
Sea lettuce grows rapidly in estuaries on nutrients including nitrogen and phosphate from run off from agricultural lands. Sea lettuce will also grow in slightly saline environments. The proposal is to use sea lettuce to deliberately capture N and P upstream of estuaries, harvest the sea lettuce and process it to produce either a protein/carbohydrate food source, or a fertilizer. Your group has been commissioned by the Sustainable Engineering Research Group - a solution provider for all environmental problems, to investigate and design a sea lettuce culturing facility that may consist of race ways, some means of harvesting the sea lettuce, dewatering it, and processing into an end product.

Supervisor:
Mark Lay/Graeme Glasgow


Distillation column design.

Project type:
Design

Updated:
7/02/2018

Project description:
A modular glass distillation column exists within the School of Engineering. However, this column is not currently operational as the boiler was under sized and most of the instrumentation is missing. This design project aimed at retrospectively redesign the distillation column to separate methanol and water. The column needs to be well instrumented and the design and operation verified. This project has the potential to involve 2-3 students, at least one from CABE/MAPE and potentially either a mechanical or electronics student.

Supervisor:
Johan Verbeek


Lavendar oil distiller

Project type:
Design

Updated:
7/02/2018

Project description:
Lavender Backyard Garden want a protoype machine that will produce lavender oil from the plant. https://www.lavenderbackyard.co.nz/ This project is suitable for 3 students.

Supervisor:
Shen Hin Lim