Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities

There are four main research and teaching groups in the Department: Applied Mechanics and Design, Biomedical Engineering, Manufacturing and Control, and Thermofluids.

Research is generally associated with graduate students in the department, but for undergraduate students who wish to get involved, there are technical electives offered in the areas of certain professors’ specialties. Availability of these courses will depend on student interest and may change from year to year. For information on the various research groups our faculty members are part of, and the projects our faculty members are working on, visit the Research Section of our website.

MECH 493 is an undergraduate course specifically designed to introduce fourth-year students to academic research. To apply for this course, students submit a research proposal, typically related to the work of a supervising professor. They then use this course, and the guidance of their supervisor(s), to prepare a research thesis. For more information on MECH 493, please visit their wiki: MECH 493: Introduction to Academic Research

NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards

The NSERC USRA program is an excellent way for undergraduate students to gain exposure to university research. It can also help students decide if they want to pursue research in the future, whether through graduate studies or industrial research positions. The program is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have completed all required first year engineering courses, hold a cumulative average of at least 68% (note that the competitive average is usually above 80%) and who have not started graduate studies (although you can hold a USRA for the term directly after your graduation requirements are met). Students do not need to be in mechanical engineering to work with a mechanical engineering professor.
Important: For information about undergraduate student research awards, and the application process, please look at these documents:

Application packages for Summer 2017 – Spring 2018 awards are due to Mechanical Engineering Student Services (students@mech.ubc.ca) by February 24, 2017

When applying, please be advised of the following points:

  1. All applications must first be submitted electronically directly to NSERC, including the upload of transcripts. A copy of your Form 202 (Parts I and II),  transcript, cover letter, and resume are also required to be submitted to the Mechanical Engineering Student Services Office electronically as a PDF addressed to students@mech.ubc.ca
  2. Student-faculty pairs should apply to the department of the faculty member.
  3. International Students – Summer 2017 Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award Program may also be available. For more information, please refer to http://students.engineering.ubc.ca/research-opportunities 

The following links are also useful during the USRA application process:

2016W USRA Info Session slides
NSERC’s website

NSERC USRA Information Page

NSERC USRA Openings

Openings will be posted as they are received.

Faculty member  Prof. Ryozo Nagamune
Preferred contact method  nagamune@mech.ubc.ca
Deadline to apply  Friday, February 10, 2017
Open to Co-op students Yes
Special Requirements Mechanical Engineering background with heat transfer knowledge, Matlab experience, GPA>80, hard-working
Position name  Data collection for solar-thermal system control
Position description May-August, 2017

UBC Control Engineering Laboratory is developing control technologies for integrated solar-thermal hydronic systems (ISTHS). The goal of this project is to maximize the thermal energy capture and minimize the energy consumption of ISTHS, by controlling the water pumps circulating the fluid for heat transfer, against various time-varying disturbances such as solar radiation, ambient temperature, and users’ demands.

 

In this Co-op job, a student is required to build a Matlab-based database of solar radiation and ambient temperature of various cities in not only Canada but also worldwide, in various years and months, by collecting data from the literature and internet. The database will be used later by graduate students to validate control techniques developed for ISTHS. If an experimental setup, which is currently under construction on UBC CIRS rooftop, becomes ready at the Co-op period, the student will be required to collect the data experimentally, and to identify parameters of the components in ISTHS.

Total pay including NSERC USRA award  $4500 award + $1500 top-up
Will the position still be offered to the selected candidate if an NSERC USRA cannot be secured?  No
Total pay without NSERC USRA award  N/A

Faculty member Dr. Ian Friggard & Ali Etrali
Preferred contact method  a.etrati@gmail.com
Deadline to apply  Friday, February 17, 2017
Open to Co-op students
Position name  NUMERICAL SIMULATION OF FLUID-FLUID MIXING AND DISPLACEMENT IN CHANNELS
Position description May 1st – August 31st (possible extension to Dec 31st)

Displacement of one fluid by another of different properties is a common process in many industrial applications. Our focus is in displacements of miscible fluids in inclined ducts, where density and viscosity difference exists. Depending on the fluid properties, flow rates and inclinations, different flow regimes and behaviours are observed. For this project we seek a motivated individual to help in running a large number of numerical simulations, covering a wide range of parameters in displacement flows. The simulations are in a 2D channel with high aspect ratio and are written using PELICANS, an open-source C++ package. The simulations will be sent to WestGrid and the results will be post-processed using existing Matlab codes.

 

The applicant will need to set the correct parameters for each case, submit the jobs to WestGrid, collect and organize the data, and help with post-processing the results. Other data management tasks may also be included. Experience with Linux, Matlab and knowledge of C++ is an advantage.

 

This could be suitable for an Engineering or Science student with some experience and interest in fluid mechanics, plus physical intuition. Potentially there could be some hands-on lab work involved in periods where computations/analysis is running.

Total pay including NSERC USRA award  $4500 award + $3500 top-up
Will the position still be offered to the selected candidate if an NSERC USRA cannot be secured?  No
Total pay without NSERC USRA award  N/A

Faculty member  Dr. Ian Friggard & Amir Maleki
Preferred contact method  amir.maleki.zamenjani@gmail.com
Deadline to apply  Friday, February 17, 2017
Open to Co-op students
Position name  VALIDATION OF A MODEL FOR CEMENTING OF OIL/GAS WELLS
Position description May 1st – August 31st (possible extension to Dec 31st)Oil and gas wells are cemented to reduce environmental leakage, to strengthen/support them structurally and to zonally isolate production zones in the reservoir. A model of this process has been developed at UBC consisting of 2D hydraulic calculations of viscoplastic fluids in a narrow channel coupled with a vector concentration equation. The model is implemented and solved in Matlab using finite difference method. For this project we aim to validate this model with experimental/field data that we have available and the main focus will be to aid in this validation. The work will include running different cementing scenarios, post-processing the outcomes and comparing with the experimental data in an intelligent way.

 

An ideal candidate: . is proficient in Matlab (reading and compiling Matlab .m files, troubleshooting Matlab programs) . has strong mathematical background (multi-variable calculus, ordinary and partial differential equations) . is familiar with numerical algorithms (Numerical derivatives, numerical integration, root finding methods) . can demonstrate strong verbal communication, problem solving and critical thinking.

 

This could be suitable for an Engineering or Science student with some experience and interest in fluid mechanics, plus physical intuition. Potentially there could be some hands-on lab work involved in periods where computations/analysis is running.

Total pay including NSERC USRA award  $4500 award + $3500 top-up
Will the position still be offered to the selected candidate if an NSERC USRA cannot be secured?  No
Total pay without NSERC USRA award  N/A