MEng Projects List

An MEng project may be completed in lieu of three half-courses. If you are interested in a project listed here, contact the professor directly. If you don’t see a project that is of interest to you, please contact any of our other professors. MSE faculty members may have projects not yet listed here.

If you decide to complete a project, submit an MEng Course + Project Enrollment form to Ms Maria Fryman, Graduate Program Counsellor & Administrator via email at maria.fryman@utoronto.ca or in person in the MSE Main Office, WB 140.  Then add MSE3000Y to your timetable.

Upon completion of your project, you must submit an MEng project report to your project advisor who evaluates the report. CR (credit) or NCR (no credit) will be awarded.

Here are some of the projects available:

Advanced Photovoltaics & Devices Group

Nazir P. Kherani, Professor (ECE / MSE)
W: http://www.ecf.utoronto.ca/~kherani/index.html
E: kherani@ecf.utoronto.ca

Project: Fabrication and Analysis of Metallo-Dielectric Multilayers Deposited on Flexible Substrates

Abstract: hybrid plasmonic-photonic devices represent a relatively new field that has branched off from traditional plasmonics in recent years. This field deals with the use of plasmonic materials in photonic superstructures that allow for the creation of unique “metamaterials” that exhibit plasmonic resonant behaviours along with periodic photonic bandgaps. One of the more well-known hybrid plasmonic-photonic structures is the metallo-dielectric multilayer. By combining the highly reflective behaviour of metal films with the nanoscale size and periodicity of dielectric photonic crystals, it is possible to create a variety of unique devices such as transparent conducting metals, transparent heat mirrors and many other devices.

Despite their unique behaviour, metallo-dielectrics are limited in their applications due to the highly lossy nature of metal films. This has forced researchers, such as our group to develop techniques for highly transparent and thin metallic films that can be used to develop metallo-dielectric structures with enhanced transmissivity. The majority of this work has dealt with the deposition of such structures on rigid substrates such as glass. In order to further expand the applicability of these highly transparent metallo-dielectric devices, it is essential to investigate their deposition on flexible substrates such as polymers. The following research project will focus on the deposition of previously developed ultrathin silver films and high transparency metallo-dielectric multilayers on polymer substrates such as polyethylene terephthalate PET. The flexibility and robustness of deposited devices will also be investigated during these studies.

Research Activities: in order to successfully complete the proposed project, there are a serious of research milestones that must be achieved. These milestones will demonstrate our capability to move on to the subsequent phase of the project and produce a functional device. Key milestones include:

  1. Demonstration of High Quality Silver Films on Polymer Substrates
  2. Fabrication of a DLC/Ag SCC optimized on PET
  3. Fabrication of a functional DLC/Ag resistive heating film on PET
  4. Demonstration of the stability of fabricated devices under thermal and solar stresses

Potential MEng project candidates are asked to send a cover letter outlining the basis of their interest and potential relevance to advancing the project, along with their CV and unofficial transcript to Professor Kherani via kherani@ecf.utoronto.ca.

Computational Materials Engineering Laboratory

Chandra Veer Singh, Associate Professor
W: http://www.ecf.utoronto.ca/~singhc17/
E: chandraveer.singh@utoronto.ca

Project #1: Damage and failure analysis of composite airplane fuselage and wind turbine structures

Damaged-wind-turbine-blade_Singh

Figure 1: evolution of damage in wind turbine blade

Due to their lightweight, composites are widely used to manufacture wind turbine blades. However, accurately predicting progressive failure in composite materials under multiaxial and fatigue conditions has been a difficult task.

In this project, the student will improve the so called synergistic damage mechanics methodology by adding cohesive zone elements, implement in commercial finite element codes, and apply to the case of wind turbine blade and airplane fuselase composite structures.

The module developed from the project will be highly valuable in design of safe and long-serving airplanes and wind turbines

Project #2: Ultrastrong, ultralight nanocrystalline hybrid materials for future aerospace technologies

Crack-growth-Al-Mg-alloys_SinghCV

Figure 2: void nucleation and crack growth in Al-Mg alloys (blue atoms are Mg solutes in Al matrix)

While nanocrystalline metals and alloys have shown substantial enhancements in strength and hardness, improvements in ductility have been rather disappointing.

Recently, Integran Technologies has developed novel nanolaminated materials with significantly improved strength and elongation to failure while maintaining light-weight advantage. However, to realize the full potential of the proposed material systems, their failure characteristics need to be properly established.

The long-term goal of this project is to develop a fundamental understanding of failure mechanisms at the atomic-scale using molecular dynamics. Large-scale atomistic simulations will be conducted to evaluate material properties inaccessible to experiments and to derive cohesive laws that describe load-deformation characteristics of these nanomaterials.

Project #3: Artificial photosynthesis: Design materials to convert CO2 into hydrocarbons under sunlight

CO2-dissociation_SinghCV

Figure 3: carbon dioxide dissociation over hydroxylated indium photocatalyst.

There is a great research interest in developing technologies that can replicate plant lead and convert CO2 into useful hydrocarbon fuels.

In this multidisciplinary, multi-group project we will design novel materials that can help in improving efficiency of this process using a computational materials modeling techniques.

The student will be trained in state-of-art techniques to simulate these processes.

The developed models will be compared against experimental data obtained from collaborating researchers at U of T.

Project #4: Mechanical properties of two dimensional nanomaterials

2D-carbon_SinghCV

Figure 4: same atoms, wildly different behaviour—welcome to the world of 2D carbon

Since the discovery of graphene, intense interest has generated in developing two dimensional materials. More than 20 such materials have been synthesized, with intriguing electronic, chemical and mechanical properties. Many more have been theoretically proposed. These systems have important potential applications in electronics, energy, healthcare and transportation industries.

In this project, the student will utilize computer modeling techniques to predict mechanical properties of newly discovered two dimensional materials. Understanding fundamental structure-property relationships is a key outcome of materials science research, and this project will attempt to fill this gap for novel materials.

Organic Optoelectronics Research Group

Zheng-Hong Lu, Professor & Canada Research Chair, Organic Optoelectronics
E: zhenghong.lu@utoronto.ca

Project 1—AC OLEDs: focus on the development of new types of OLED structures that can be operated under AC power

Project 2—Metal Electrodes for Electronic Devices: characterization of metal thin-film microstructure, electrical conductivity and optical properties

Project 3—Relationship between microstructure and electronic structure in organic semiconductors: establishing a relationship between microstructures of organic semiconductors and electronic properties

Project 4—Perovskite LEDs: development of LEDs based on a new type of perovskite materials

Process Metallurgy & Modelling Group

Kinnor Chattopadhyay, Assistant Professor
W: http://www.pm2g-uoftmse.com/
E: kinnor.chattopadhyay@utoronto.ca

Project 1: Mn emissions during the production of high Mn steels

Environmental pollution is a very important aspect in today’s world, and the steel industry is a major emissions source. As steelmakers are trying to produce speciality steel grades like TRIP and TWIP steels with high Mn as much as 18-25%, Mn emissions is a concern. Exposure to Mn leads to human health hazards like the Parkinson disease, and hence environmental regulatory bodies are setting stringent permit limits on Mn emission rates.

In this project, several production scenarios will be tested, and  CFD and thermodynamics simulations will be employed to understand Mn emissions from steelmaking. Effects of fluid flow, heat transfer and chemical reactions on Mn emissions will be analyzed.

This project will also involve significant amount of interactions with the industry in order to validate our modelling and experimental results.

Project 2: Dephosphorization of steel

Steelmakers are demanding low phosphorus steels and it is challenge to produce them. However, certain process routes like the KOBM steelmaking furnace can enhance phosphorus removal because of better mixing behavior in the vessel.

This project will involve CFD simulations and water model simulations to compare mixing behaviour in different steelmaking routes. Results will be validated against industrial data, and the models will be fine-tuned.

Project 3: Refining of Fe-Ni—Mathematical Modelling and Industrial Verification

Nickel is an essential alloying element in austenitic stainless steel and other speciality alloys; which led to its consumption of almost 2 million tonnes per year. Nickel can be produced via hydrometallurgical or pyrometallurgical routes, depending on the composition of the ore under consideration. Ferronickel production is commonly used for extraction of nickel from oxidic (laterite) ores.

In recent years, laterite smelters are trying to extract metals from nearly depleted ore bodies, which contain significant amounts of impurities such as S, P, Cu, and Cr. Therefore, selection of an efficient refining process has become an extremely important part of the FeNi production.

The current project aims to develop a reliable model for refining (de-phosphorization and de-sulphurization) of ferronickel. The main objective is to be able to evaluate the effects of 1) different De-P and De-S agents 2) temperature 3) and stirring condition in the ladle on the efficiency of the process for any given FeNi composition. This will be carried out using thermodynamic and computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analyses. The predicted efficiencies will be compared with industrial measured data for calibration of the model parameters. The ultimate outcome of the project would be a model that allows ferronickel producers to select the most efficient refining strategy for the produced alloy with any given composition.

This project will be carried out in close collaboration with Hatch Ltd., Mississauga, and under co-supervision of Dr. Sina Mostaghel. The student conducting this research work will have an opportunity to spend work on real industrial projects and spend time in a consulting company.

Smart and Adaptive Polymers & Composites Laboratory

Hani E. Naguib, Professor & Canada Research Chair, Smart & Functional Materials
W: http://sapl.mie.utoronto.ca/
E: naguib@mie.utoronto.ca

Project 1: Development of synthetic phantoms materials for biomedical imaging applications

It has become increasingly popular to image different internal organs in the body by means of current computer tomography (CT) scanning techniques. Diseases and abnormalities in the body can be inexpensively and non-invasively confirmed by means of this type of imaging. However, its limitations are brought about by issues of resolution and image clarity.

Varying organ densities, more notably with soft tissues, from different individuals makes consistent imaging difficult, as there is no consistent base-line for CT scanning techniques to refer to.

The goal is to create polymeric devices, known as ‘phantoms’ to mimic an organ.These ‘phantoms’ can be scanned using CT imaging and act like a calibration unit as references by means of their consistent properties. This will allow us to mathematically create accurate and quality imaging which can give medical practitioners a better idea of the intensity of treatment needed.

Project 2: Fabrication and characterization of self-healing polymer material

Self-healing gels are specialized type of polymer gel with supramolecular characteristic where it has ability to spontaneous repair their damaged bonds. The structure of the gels along with electrostatic attraction forces creates new bonds through reconstructive covalent dangling side chain or non-covalent hydrogen bonding.

There are three-types of healing systems including capsule-based healing system, vascular healing system and intrinsic healing polymers. There are few studies done on the self-healing polymer materials that studies full recovery of their shape and properties.

This project will focus on literature review on self-healing materials and fabrication and characterization of the self-healing polymer materials.

Project 3: Conducting Polymer Based Pressure Sensors for Electronic Skin Applications

Human skin is the largest sensory organ in our bodies allowing us to safely maneuver within our surrounding environment. This physical barrier which enables us to interact with our physical world comprises several sense receptors through which information from a physical contact transduces into electrical signals. An artificial skin, also referred to as smart skin or electronic skin (e-skin), with human-like sensory capabilities can make a significant impact on the autonomous artificial intelligence as well as surgical tools. This can be achieved by providing a sensory perception even better than their organic counterparts. In addition to force sensing as the primary function of human skin, other functionalities such as mechanical/electrical self-healing along with flexibility/stretchability are of great importance to be considered in an e-skin. The project will investigate the design and fabrication of a pressure sensor mimicking the main characteristics of natural skin, potential of using conducting polymers as piezoresistive sensors for electronic skin applications.

Project 4: Development of shape memory alloy (SMA)/ shape memory polymer (SMP) actuator composites for artificial muscle applications

Electroactive polymers (EAPs) are polymeric based materials that can undergo large amount of dimensional change and produce significant reaction force when a voltage is applied to them. Among all types of EAPs, shape memory effect (SME) is one of the most promising solutions due to its high response stress/strain that can be produced by the materials. The deformation is governed by the phase changing under different temperature which can be controlled via Joule heating. Currently, one of the major research focuses is on improving the strain and stress of different types of EAP during actuation. Objectives of the proposed project include: (i) design, fabricate, and characterize SMA and SMP materials, (ii) construct and characterize novel composites by combining or embedding SMA into SMP matrix, and (iii) verify the performance in terms of their actuation motion, including maximum displacement, curvature, and force response.

Project 5: Development of Materials for Triboelectric/Supercapacitor Energy Harvesting/Storage Device Prototyping

This project focuses on the design, development, characterization, and prototyping of a high-performance triboelectric energy harvesting and storage device. This device combines various forms of material-based energy generation technologies, stores the energy that it generates, and delivers the maximum power and energy output as no researchers have previously attempted to do so. Two research steps shall be taken (i) Verify and Improve: Replicate and verify the traditional design of nanogenerators from literature. Then design a tri-layer system, which can be achieved with PVDF-HFP co-polymer electrolyte, as this polymer is capable of delivering both the functionalities of an electrolyte and piezoelectric generator, making it possible to make all-solid-state and completely flexible nanogenerators. (ii) Design and Invent: Design of continuous charging device that combines the nanogenerators and improve the utilization of the power and energy output by making single modules that combine the generator with a specially designed supercapacitor.

Project 6: Development of Abrasion Resistant, Anti-slip composite materials

The Smart and Adaptive Polymers Laboratory researches on advanced composite materials for several applications such as smart skin sensing, self-healing, impact resistant composites etc. This project involves the development of composite materials prototypes that would provide high friction as well as be abrasion resistant for anti-slip applications. Another important problem to address is that of abrasion resistance of the composite for real-life application. This project will be collaborated with the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI), where we will be testing the composite material on ice for slip resistance. Upon successful completion, we will be testing our final prototype in the Winter Lab at TRI. There will be lots of hands-on experience in the project as well as research experience collaborating with research scientists at TRI. Upon successful completion of this project, students will gain invaluable experience in composite materials.

Surface Engineering & Electrochemistry (SEE) Group

Steven Thorpe, Professor
E: steven.thorpe@utoronto.ca

Bulk Metallic Glass Applications in Biomaterials

While amorphous metals / metallic glasses along with nanocrystalline materials have shown substantial enhancements in many properties, a newer class of materials, bulk metallic glasses (BMG’s), provides an opportunity to make macroscopic materials combining the best attributes of both metallic glasses and nanocrystalline materials together with unique chemical and electrochemical properties.

Currently, the Surface Engineering and Electrochemistry (SEE) group is examining the fabrication and properties of Zr-base bulk metallic glasses combining both a synthesis and computational modelling approach in order to optimize their stability, mechanical properties and fabrication techniques.

The long-term goal of this project is to expand and develop new BMG chemistries and their application in the area of resorbable biomaterials.

Sustainable Materials Processing Research Group

Mansoor Barati, Associate Professor & Gerald R. Heffernan Chair in Materials Processing
E: mansoor.barati@utoronto.ca

Roasting of Pyrrhotite for Iron Recovery

Pyrrhotite (FeS) tailing is a waste stream from the processing of nickel sulfide ores for nickel production. An estimated amount of over 100 million tonnes of the material has been deposited in shallow lakes or dams in the Sudbury district, Ontario, which poses a potential environmental hazard for the local environment. The material, being an iron sulfide, may be used as a resource for production of iron and sulfur products. The proposed project aims at complete roasting of pyrrhotite using TGA and laboratory furnaces, to convert FeS to iron oxide, and SO2. The possibility of converting pyrrhotite to to fe or FeO under reducing atmospheres will also be investigated.

Centre for Nanotechnology

Harry E. Ruda, Professor, Stan Meek Chair Professor in Nanotechnology

Email: harry.ruda@utoronto.ca

Project #1: Design of Solar Energy Collector System

Development of nanocoatings for thermal energy absorption and heat transfer in conjunction with novel coatings for mirror collector systems to enhance overall heat collection and storage in a solar energy system.

Project #2: Nanostructured Electrode Materials for Wastewater Treatment

Entails the deposition and electrochemical characterisation of the performance of electrode materials used in electrochemical destruction pollutants in wastewater.

Project #3: Nanowire Materials Development

Focuses on chemical vapour deposition of novel materials in nanowire form useful for their novel electronic and optical properties. The work also entails building sensor/detector arrays from such nanowires.

Nanomaterials Research Group

Uwe Erb Professor & Associate Chair, Graduate Studies

Email: uwe.erb@utoronto.ca

Project: Dendritic Growth of Cobalt Electrodeposits

Electrodeposition is a well established process in the surface finishing industry1). Various metals, alloys and composite materials are routinely electrodeposited for structural, functional and aesthetic purposes mainly on metals but also sometimes on polymers. These deposits are usually smooth surface layers with varying thicknesses depending on the application of the product. There are many process variables in electrodeposition including plating electrolyte composition, temperature, current density, stir rate of the plating solution, etc. These parameters can be adjusted to make very interesting metal structures by electroplating. An example is the nanocrystalline structure which usually requires very high current density applied during pulse plating2). This project seeks to explore the use of electroplating to make dendritic and porous cobalt electrodeposits with very large surface areas for potential use as catalyst support structures.

  • Schlesinger and M. Paunovic, Modern Electroplating, 5th ed., Wiley, 2010
  • Erb, G. Palumbo and J. L. McCrea, The Processing of Bulk Nanocrystalline Metals and Alloys by Electrodeposition, in Nanostructured Metals and Alloys, S. H. Whang (ed.), Woodhead Publ., Oxford, UK, 2011