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Mechanical 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.


Research and design of vacuum formed camping cool box

Project type:
Research and Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
Ice boxes are often used when camping to keep food and drink cold. This project aims to develop a vacuum formed camping cool box that is cheaper than rotationally moulded ice boxes and out performs blow moulded coolers.

Supervisor:
Mike Duke, Ben McGuinness, James Carson

 

Foldable pool table - MWDesign

Project type:
Research and Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
MWDesign have requested an investigation into the design of a competition level folding pool table. Currently during pool competitions, up to 50 slate tables have to be assembled and disassembled for a competition. This is heavy and time consuming. The company want a lighter weight composite pool table that has the same performance as a slate table.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering, Hin Lim

 

Design a solar refrigerator for the Waikato

Project type:
Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
The high humidity of Waikato summers greatly reduces the efficacy of evaporative cooling, but solar-driven refrigeration is still potentially a feasible option. The student(s) would be required to investigate different options and design a modular solar refrigeration (or AC) unit for domestic use.

Supervisor:
James Carson

 

NI Design of an autonomous robot

Project type:
Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
Design and build a robot to enter in the NI robotics competition in Sydney. This uses the NI MyRio controller combined with motors and sensors to perform a specified task in competition with other universities. 4 software, 2 electronics and 2 mechanical students.

Supervisor:
CK Au

 

Development of an amphibian robotic snake

Project type:
Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
This project aims to develop an amphibian robotic snake which perform lateral undulation locomotion on land and in the water. The students needs to develop a water resist skin for the robotic snake so that it can swim in the university lake. This is a design project for two students. One student designs the mechanical parts of the snake while the other student takes care of the locomotion control. The students need to have basic programming skills and should be familiar with arduino micro-controller.

Supervisor:
CK Au

 

Robotic hand actuation using shape memory alloy

Project type:
Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
Shape memory alloy is used to actuate a robotic hand instead of traditional servo motor. A PID controller will be implemented in this research project for a robotic hand to perform several basic gestures.

Supervisor:
CK Au

 

Development of Robotic apple harvesting/pollination/thinning system

Project type:
Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
This is part of a major research project developing harvesting machinery for kiwifruit and apples. This project is involved with apple harvesting/pollination and thinning on linear orchards. The objective is to develop an existing apple harvester into a motorised machine with three attachments.

Supervisor:
Mike Duke

 

Development of a dynamic sheet former machine

Project type:
Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
See Kim Pickering for details.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering, Hin Lim

 

Robotic asparagus cutting

Project type:
Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
The AgriEngineering Research Group at UoW is developing a robotic asparagus harvester. This project requires the design and manufacture of a robotic cutting system.

Supervisor:
Mike Duke, Hin Lim

 

Robotic asparagus packing

Project type:
Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
The AgriEngineering Research Group at UoW is developing a robotic asparagus harvester. Once the asparagus has been cut by the robot, it needs to be delivered and packed correctly in boxes. This project requires the design and manufacture of a packing system.

Supervisor:
Mike Duke, Hin Lim

 

Ketosis in cows measurement system

Project type:
Research and Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
DairyNZ want a cost effective method of detecting cows that have or are close to developing Ketosis. Ketosis is similar to diabetes and causes severe reduction in milk production. The breath of a Ketosis cow has high concentrations of acetone that can be measured with an alcohol sensor. This is suitable for ideally one mechanical and one electronics student but could be done by two mechanicals.

Supervisor:
Mike Duke, Jonathan Scott

 

Soil sampling and testing research rig

Project type:
Research and Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
This new machine is required by soil scientists to measure the gas emissions from soil samples. It is to be an improvement of an existing system on campus.

Supervisor:
Mike Duke, Louis Schipper

 

WESMO Petrol

Project type:
Research and Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
Improvement of the successful 2016 car for a higher overall finish in 2017.

Supervisor:
Mark Lay

 

WESMO Electric

Project type:
Research and Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
Development of a prototype electric FSAE car for track testing in 2017.

Supervisor:
Mark Lay, Graeme Glasgow, Mike Duke

 

Log debarking machine

Project type:
Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
Design of a debarking machine for logs used in axemen competitions.

Supervisor:
Rob Torrens

 

Nanobrewery

Project type:
Design

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
Design of a small microbrewery that can be installed in garage or shed, with easy tablet/laptop software for control.

Supervisor:
Mike Duke, Ben McGuinness, Graeme Glasgow

 

The use of tannalised timber in composites

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

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

 

Optimisation of microwave heating process of ready-made meals

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

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:
9/02/2017

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:
9/02/2017

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

 

Crack detection using frequency measurements

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
The objective is to investigate the influence of cracks on the vibration behaviour of axially loaded beams and frames. Requires MATLAB skills and involves experimental work.

Supervisor:
Ilanko Ilanko

 

Earthquake protection systems

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
When earthquakes strike when we are asleep, there may not be sufficient time to move to a safe spot or protect ourselves. This project is to study the feasibility of protecting mechanisms that will serve as a shield. This may be always present (such as a strong and flexible net supported on bed posts, but may not be aesthetically acceptable) or something that can be accessed and activated quickly. This may also be a design project or complement a design project.

Supervisor:
Ilanko Ilanko

 

Vibration behaviour of plates solids with voids

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
This project will require excellent mathematical and computing skills. This will look at the possibility of using the concept of negative structures to calculate the natural frequencies of solids with voids.

Supervisor:
Ilanko Ilanko

 

Structural health monitoring

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
To test a hypothesis that the abrupt changes to the natural frequencies of a structure as a mass is moved across a crack can be used to locate cracks in a structure. Experimental and theoretical work.

Supervisor:
Ilanko Ilanko

 

How good is the Vibrating barrier Method for Earthquake protection?

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
A recent publication in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A proposes a vibrating barrier method for protecting buildings from earthquakes. It is available at: http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/471/2179/20150075 This project is to critically study the proposed idea, its potential use and if possible evaluate its feasibility.

Supervisor:
Ilanko Ilanko

 

Cyclone separation of chestnut shells from chestnut kernel

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

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

 

Al-based composites

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
Aluminium is gaining popularity as a structural metal in the automotive industry due to weight reduction which should result in more efficient fuel consumption and lower greenhouse gases contamination. Among the most important factors limiting the applicability of aluminium there are its low strength and poor wear resistance. Improvement of these two properties can be obtained via the addition of ceramic-based reinforcement such as SiC. This study concerns the development of Al metal matrix composites (MMC) using the blending elemental powder metallurgy approach to create in-situ Nb-based intermetallic compounds. Handling metallic powder to design and manufacture specific targeted compositions and characterisation of the properties of the materials produced are the skills to be learned from this study.

Supervisor:
Leandro Bolzoni

 

Novel Ti-based alloys for (anti-)bio/fouling applications

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
Like every other metal placed in contact with a marine environment, Ti will at some point by affected by bio- and/or fouling (i.e. the growth and accumulation of microorganisms on wetted surfaces) and this limits the applicability of Ti in the marine industry. The aim of this Research Project is to process and characterise innovative Ti-based materials targeting (anti-)bio/fouling applications in order to assess whether these novel materials with appropriate level of technological and mechanical performances can successfully be attained. The production of the selected compositions will be carry out via the employment of powder metallurgy considering different set of processing parameters like temperature and time. In terms of characterisation, the technological characteristics will be determined during the production of the materials whilst for the material's characteristics, physical, mechanical and microstructural properties will be quantified.

Supervisor:
Leandro Bolzoni

 

In-situ reinforced Ti

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
Titanium is a lightweight metal characterised by an outstanding combination of properties such as low density, high specific mechanical properties (i.e. properties in relation to its density), excellent corrosion resistance and biocompatibility. Nevertheless, titanium is also relatively soft and does not always comply with required wear performances. The aim of this project is to investigate the feasibility of the fabrication of in-situ reinforced titanium+carbon composites where natural resources are used as source of carbon. The study requires the production of the material and the characterisation of its mechanical and physical properties using experimental techniques.

Supervisor:
Leandro Bolzoni

 

Synthesis of in situ metal matrix nanocomposite

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
See supervisor for details

Supervisor:
Leandro Bolzoni

 

Simulation on forging of near net shape component

Project type:
Research

Updated:
14/02/2017

Project description:
See supervisor for details

Supervisor:
Leandro Bolzoni

 

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

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

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, students 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.

Supervisor:
Fei Yang

 

Investigation of friction welding joint strength

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
This project is to examine the joint strength for various joint conditions between a tube and a plate using friction welding approach. The friction welding process is performed on a milling machine with various process parameters. Mechanical property test will be carried out to investigate the effects of these parameters on the outcomes.

Supervisor:
CK Au

 

Push recovery of a humanoid robot

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
Design and implement a recovery strategy and algorithm on a small humanoid robot so that it can earn back its balance when external forces are applied on it.

Supervisor:
CK Au

 

Waste wool

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

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.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering

 

3D printing of composites

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

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.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering

 

EVA/stone aggregate roading material

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

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.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering

 

3D printing with recycled material

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

Project description:
This project aims to improve the sustainability of 3D printing through use of recycled and bioderived materials.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering

 

Chicken feather composites

Project type:
Research

Updated:
9/02/2017

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.

Supervisor:
Kim Pickering

 

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

 

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

 

Fibre optic testing system

Project type:
Research and Design

Updated:
28/02/2017

Project description:
See supervisor for details (suitable for 2 students)

Supervisor:
Mike Duke

 

Solar charge station for Antarctica

Project type:
Research and Design

Updated:
3/03/2017

Project description:
See supervisor for details (suitable for 2 students)

Supervisor:
Mike Duke

 

Design of modular body kits for EVolocity vehicles

Project type:
Design

Updated:
3/03/2017

Project description:
See supervisor for details (suitable for 2 students)

Supervisor:
Mike Duke