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Undergraduate Projects

EECE 400 / 496 and MECH 493 Projects

Microneedle fabrication and testing (1 student) [IM]

The purpose of this project is to develop a fabrication technique to make hollow microneedle structures from metals. Microneedles can be used for painless injection of drugs or biosensing applications. A fabrication process for making polymer microneedles have been previously developed in our lab; this project will focus on modifying that process for making metallic microneedles.

The student will be responsible for doing some literature research and testing different fabrication concepts. He or she will also be performing tests on the fabricated microneedles to evaluate their rigidity, mechanical strength, and their capability for skin penetration and drug delivery.

Contact angle measurement of the colloidal suspensions during evaporation (1 student) [VB]

During the evaporation of sessile droplets of colloidal suspensions, the contact angle that the droplet makes at the the air-substrate-droplet interface changes over time. The contact line starts to move as soon as the contact angle reaches a critical value. The complex combination of the contact angle variation and the motion of the contact line are essential to the deposition pattern of the suspended particles on the substrate.

In this project we study the behavior of the contact line by measuring the contact angle over time using a contact angle measurement device for water suspensions with different types of particles on different substrates. The experiments will be performed for droplets with an initial radius of 100 to 500 µm that are generated by a portable inkjet printing device. The deposition patterns will be measured using an interferometer.

Strain sensitive nanomaterial imaging (1 student) [RL]

It is well known that adding electrically conductive nanoparticles to an insulating elastomer results in a conductive nanocomposite material. At a particular threshold of conductive particles these composites become highly sensitive; however the effect of particle size and distribution in the insulating matrix has not been quantitatively studied yet. One major obstacle is that conventional non-destructive imaging techniques (e.g. AFM/SEM) are two dimensional.

The goal of this project is to create a methodology for determining 3D particle dispersion characteristics from a series of 2D images. Initial work will start with a literature search to determine key dispersion metrics (e.g. particle cluster size, spacing, etc) and imaging techniques, followed by AFM imaging of nanocomposites made of carbon-black and poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). Images will be analyzed by MATLAB, or other software, in order to quantify the mixture based on identified metrics. The expected output is a package of code that can accept 2D images, determine the 3D particle dispersion metrics and then create 3D space models of particles with the identified characteristics.

This method will be very valuable for two reasons, 1) correlating particle dispersion to the mechanical and electrical behaviour of the nanocomposite material and 2) ultimately indentifying the particle dispersion that maximizes strain sensitivity.

Design and testing of an electromechanical system for a 3D display prototype (1 student) [HI]

3D movies and videogames enjoy a rapidly increasing popularity. However, current display technology, especially for home theatres, still requires the viewers to wear assistive devices such as shutter glasses. Shutter glasses are synchronized with the displaying monitor, and they block the viewer’s left eye when the monitor displays content to be seen by the right eye and vice versa; this allows showing the image from the viewing angle of both eyes in sequence using the same display.

We are developing 3D display technology that does not require such assistive devices. This technology uses micro-electromechanical elements and synchronized image content display.

The aim of this project is to complete the development the electromechanical system for a simple 3D display prototype in this technology. While the prototype will have a lower resolution compared to the intended display, it will provide full 3D experience and demonstrate the concept of our new technology. Future work will build on the experience gained from this prototype and will lead to displays that provide improved 3D experience.

The mechanical design of this prototype has been completed and the prototype has been assembled. The student working on this project will design the actuation mechanism. The student will integrate an image content delivery system and will synchronize it with the mechanical system (in collaboration with a graduate student). Finally, the student will evaluate the prototype and provide recommendations for improvements and future work.