Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate Students headed to Michigan State University to compete in their first Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC)

On April 5th, thirteen students from Lassonde School of engineering headed over to Michigan State University to compete in their first Human Powered Vehicle Challenge(HPVC) organised by American Society of Mechanical Engineers(ASME).

These students worked hard over the last 8 months designing and building a vehicle. Capstone Team A was responsible for building the shell of the vehicle while Capstone Team M built the frame and drive train. The logistics and finances were handled by the executive members of the team, Affan Behzad(President) and Julia Delongis(Treasurer).

The team had to go through different challenges over the course of three days which included:

1) Full safety inspection that comprised of static judging, manoeuvrability, stopping distance, stability at different speeds and roll bar check that required inverting the vehicle with the largest rider buckled in.

2) Drag racing against other teams.

3) Endurance race which included a rumble strip, slalom, uphill, parcel pickup/drop-off and sharp turns. These obstacles repeatedly put the design to test over the course of two and a half hours.

After successfully completing all these challenges, the team received an overall rank of 34th among the 50 universities that were competing this year.

Check out the competition pictures on their Instagram: @lassondehpvc

You are also invited to their capstone showcase on Friday April 26th, 9:00am to 2:15pm at Life Sciences Building.

Here is a full list of team:

Faculty Advisor

  • Assistant Professor Ronald Hanson, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Executives from the Lassonde Human Powered Vehicle Club

  • Affan Behzad, President
  • Julia, Treasurer

Capstone Team A

  • Affan Behzad
  • Fabio Provenzano
  • Han Sun
  • Zaid Siddiqui
  • Michael Varacalli
  • Ho Lo

Capstone Team M

  • Thane Higgins
  • Joshua Marques
  • Ridham Patel
  • Jony Sureshkumar
  • Jolayemi Sowemimo
  • Swapnil Naik

Supporting Faculty Members

  • Assistant Professor Jeffrey Harris, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Assistant Professor Paul O’Brien, Department of Mechanical Engineering

NOV 5 – Azadeh Ghadimi – MECH Research Seminar Series

Dr. Azadeh Ghadimi has received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from University Malaya, Malaysia in 2013. Her research mainly focuses on Nanofluid fundamentals and applications. She worked essentially on stability and heat transfer enhancement of different types of nanofluids and is an expert on renewable energy applications of nanofluid including electric car battery and solar panels. She served as an assistant professor at Taylor’s University in Malaysia for 5 years. During this period, she published several review and technical articles which were cited more than 700 times by global researchers. She is currently Refrigeration Chair in ASHRAE Toronto Chapter.

Re-Imaging Energy by Nanofluid

Engineering in the 21st century is global. What engineering needs to deliver to all people on the planet in the 21st century was summarised by National Academy of Engineers (NAE) in 2008 in just 15 words. Continuation of life on the planet, making our world more sustainable, secure, healthy, and joyful. To fulfill this worldwide vision, it is required to implement leading-edge techniques and materials to have secure, renewable and sustainable products. Therefore, a new engineering medium, called nanofluid attracted the attention of a wide range of researchers on many engineering applications including healthcare, transportation, space, and food. Nanofluid is prepared by dispersion of nanoparticles or nanotubes in a host fluid. The stability of nanofluid is a real challenge to further scale up from lab to industrial applications. Different factors identify the stability of the suspension essentially by the method of preparation, concentration of nanoparticles, and temperature. Studies showed that heat transfer enhancement of nanofluid could reach up to 100% in comparison with the base fluid. Improving heat transfer medium which is a critical subject for energy conservation systems directly affects economic efficiency and supports a wide range of renewable energy applications.


The York Cares United Way Campaign kicks off Oct. 26 with a pancake breakfast

As the largest supporter of social services in Toronto, the United Way Greater Toronto is dedicated to creating opportunities that people need to improve their lives and build a better future.

Every year, the York University community engages in the York Cares United Way Campaign to raise much-needed funding for the United Way Greater Toronto.

Last year, the campaign raised almost $175,000, placing York University in the top 15 per cent of all Toronto employee campaigns. This year, campaign organizers are aiming to raise $180,000. Once again, healthy competition across York’s campuses is encouraged. The coveted York Cares Participation Challenge trophy will be awarded to the division or Faculty that demonstrates the most participation in this year’s campaign.

Join the campaign team and help kick off the campaign with the York Cares United Way Pancake Breakfast on Friday, Oct. 26 in the Central Square Cafeteria from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

For $2, you can enjoy a delicious stack of pancakes paired with tea or coffee and learn more about the United Way and the York Cares Campaign. Come out and cheer on senior leaders along with the York Cares Committee and student ambassadors as they flip pancakes for an important cause. This is the official launch of the campaign. On this day, you can expect an email outlining how you can make a difference in your community.

For more information, visit the York Cares United Way Campaign website.

To see how your donation helps those in need, view the 2018 “Show Your Local Love” campaign video now.

SEP 10 – Donata Gierczycka – MECH Research Seminar Series

Donata Gierczycka combines her industry and academic experience working on the improvement of vehicle occupant safety, and developing tools to mitigate injury in contact sports. She received her PhD in Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering from the University of Waterloo, specializing in digital human modeling, human injury tolerance, and safety restraint performance. Her MASc in Automation and Robotics completed at the Warsaw University of Technology, Poland, was focused on anthropometry-specific passive safety systems in cars. Donata collaborated with automotive suppliers (adaptive restraints and crash absorbing structures), and manufacturing industry (application of expert systems to reduce wear of hot forging tools). She was awarded the Toyota Canada Automotive Safety Graduate Scholarship, and currently works as a Research Associate at the University of Waterloo.

Evaluation of Occupant Response in Side Impact Crash Scenarios Using Human Body Models

Vehicle crashes remain amongst the top ten causes of fatalities worldwide, while long-term disabilities resulting from accidental injury present significant societal costs and a reduction in quality of life. Further advancement of accident and injury prevention calls for new research tools. Continually increasing computational capacity facilitates complex numerical simulations that utilize detailed vehicle, restraint, and human finite element models. However, the potential for virtual design and crash testing environment has not been fully realized yet due to the novelty and complexity of the models, and due to the level of expertise required to utilize them. This research targets the development and application of computational Human Body Models to provide new insight into occupant response during vehicle crash scenarios, bridging the gap between physical crash test dummies and real human vehicle occupants. The process of Human Body Model development, validation, and verification will be briefly summarized during the talk. The seminar will focus on the application of Human Body Models to address a continuing challenge to improve side impact safety. In North America, side crashes constitute 25% of road deaths. While the effectiveness of side curtain airbags in reducing head injury was confirmed by epidemiological studies, thoracic side airbags did not bring the expected reduction of chest trauma. Refinement of side restraints requires a novel methodology to assess the sensitivity of occupant surrogates to pre-crash parameters, and to examine the limitations of current experimental vehicle compliance tests. Two Human Body Models were integrated with mid-sized sedan and restraint models. Simulations identified potential improvements for interaction between the occupant and thoracic side airbags.

SEP 17 – Sara Nangle-Smith – MECH Research Seminar Series

Sarah Nangle-Smith is a postdoctoral research fellow in McMaster University’s Thermal Management Research Laboratory. She has over 10 years’ experience in thermal management and characterization of high performance heat exchange devices including electric infrared domestic heaters, industrial furnaces, and heat exchangers designed for boiling in microgravity environments.


Heat exchangers are fundamental building blocks in engineering and are used in a wide range of applications from laptops to large scale power generation plants. Their effectiveness directly contributes to how well energy resources are being used. High efficiency heat exchangers and their implementation in waste heat recovery systems results in improved energy and fuel savings, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, there is a strong motivation to be able to enhance or control the performance of heat exchange devices, and to be able to accurately predict the performance of more complex designs to improve their utilization, to meet increasingly challenging load demands, and to increase the efficiency of the systems of which they are part. In this talk, the speaker gives and overview of her research on performance analysis and characterization of high performance heat exchangers, including the use active enhancement methods such as electrohydrodynamics (EHD).

SEP 24 – Marina Freire-Gormaly – MECH Research Seminar

Dr. Marina Freire-Gormaly is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto in Mechanical Engineering. Her research focuses on the development of stand-alone solar powered reverse osmosis water treatment systems and energy recovery systems for remote communities that lack access to grid electricity. She completed her Ph.D. and M.A.Sc. from the University of Toronto in Mechanical Engineering. Her M.A.Sc. was on pore space characterization of carbonate rocks using micro computed tomography and pore network modeling for advancing Carbon Capture and Storage Technology. She teaches as the sole-course instructor of a 4th year undergraduate and graduate level course at the University of Toronto called “Innovative Technologies and Organization in Global Energy Systems,” which explores how engineers influence the complex interlinked energy systems which power our communities. She has worked at Ontario Power Generation on the Darlington New Nuclear Project and the Darlington Refurbishment Project. She is passionate about research, teaching and service to inspire the next generation of engineers to tackle society’s growing water and energy challenges. Her research interests include energy systems, optimization and design for the developing world.

Automated Design and Experimental Studies of Solar Powered Drinking Water Treatment Systems

The World Health Organization estimates that 760 million people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water. Many regions with high water scarcity are off-grid, remote and have high solar insolation. Solar powered reverse osmosis water treatment systems can provide clean drinking water to these communities. However, to minimize the costs, these systems are configured with minimal battery storage and operated intermittently with extended shutdown periods. This presentation outlines the experimental characterization of membrane fouling under intermittent operation, the development of an analytical membrane fouling model and a design optimization framework that considers these experimental results for these solar powered water treatment systems. This talk will first present the experimental results to characterize membrane fouling from this intermittent operation. The experimental studies were performed using a fully-instrumented experimental lab-scale system that was designed, built, commissioned and operated with triplicate measurements of membrane permeability and membrane salt rejection. Second, results from a new pilot-scale experimental system that was also designed, built and operated will be presented. An analytical membrane fouling model was developed based on the experimental results. Finally, a novel automated design optimization framework for these solar powered water treatment systems that was developed using these experimental and analytical results will be presented. This design optimization framework can be used to configure a community-specific PVRO systems considering the community’s water demand, solar radiation and water characteristics. The goal of this automated design optimization framework is to make this technology accessible to resource-constrained communities.

OCT 01 – Graduate Breakfast

Please join us in Room 423 BRG at 9:00 am for a casual gathering and a healthy breakfast! What better way to start the month of October!

Happy Monday! Happy October!


OCT 01 – Heba Teamah – MECH Research Seminar Series

Dr Heba Teamah is a postdoctoral fellow and sessional instructor at McMaster University. Her current research focus is on heat pump integration in thermal storage system for demand side management on community level. She received her PhD in 2017. Her PhD was in investigating compact energy storage techniques for multiresidential applications and small scale commercial applications. She has 7 years of mechanical engineering hands-on research experience, including: i) Solar thermal applications, ii) Geothermal heat pump integrated storage systems, iii) Numerical modelling of thermal applications, and iv) Air conditioning and clean room technologies.


Poster Heba Teamah

OCT 29 – Mathilde Jean-St-Laurent – MECH Research Seminar Series

Mathilde Jean-St-Laurent is a Doctoral Candidate at Laval University supported by the National Science and Engineering Council of Canada. She has a Bachelor and a Master degree in mechanical engineering from Laval University. Her research interests are focused on composite materials for space applications and the development of new methods for testing composite materials in extreme environment. She is currently working on the effect of extreme low temperatures on the low velocity impact behaviour of composite sandwich panels for lunar exploration rovers. As part of her doctoral studies, she joined the Computational Mechanics Laboratory at University de Liège for one semester to acquire a specialization in modelling of damage in composite materials. Her Ph.D. is done in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency and she was a research assistant for this institution for 4 months.

Composite Materials in Extreme Environment: Two Case Studies

Composite materials are increasingly used in the aerospace, automotive, and naval industries among others, since they offer excellent mechanical properties and a good performance to weight ratio. In all of those applications, they can be subjected to extreme environments. In flight, plane components are exposed to temperatures as low as -70°C. Low earth orbit satellites are subjected to extreme temperature variations from 150°C to -170°C. On the moon, during lunar nights, the temperature is approximately -150°C, and in some permanent shadowed areas temperatures can be even lower than -200°C. However, composite materials are sensitive to temperature variations, leading to the development of internal stresses. Moreover, temperature has an impact on the mechanical properties of composite materials, especially those governed by matrix behaviour. Two case studies are presented in order to highlight some of the challenges and research developments regarding composite materials in extreme environments. The first case study focuses on the effect of extreme temperature cycling on composite laminates and sandwich panels for the fabrication of satellites, and the second case study focuses on the effects of extreme low temperatures on the low velocity impact behaviour of composite sandwich panels for the fabrication of lunar exploration rovers.

Poster – Mathilde Jean-St-Laurent

Guest Speaker – Reza Tafreshi


DATE:    July 11, 2018
TIME:    11:00 am

Reza Tafreshi
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Texas A&M University at Qatar

The pressure on available health care resources has increased in the recent years due to the rise in the number of patients suffering from physical disorders including lung diseases, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Remote health monitoring systems, which collect vital signs, can provide the opportunity to remotely access medical information quickly, interactively, and inexpensively, without the presence of a physician unless deemed necessary by the obtained information. However, technical challenges associated with physiological data acquisition, transmission, and accurate analysis has hindered this concept from being widely commercialized and clinically accepted. The aim is twofold. First, to design an advanced prototype of health monitoring system to remotely and securely track physiological data including continuous heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, blood glucose, oxygen saturation, and electrocardiogram (ECG). Second, to develop an efficient software that can accurately determine the subject’s current health status and provide a medically meaningful data to a physician for a precise decision-making process. The objective is to prototype an advanced remote health monitoring system incorporating both innovative hardware and software designs and to develop intelligent algorithms, fuse and process the data acquired by different sensors and transmitted wirelessly to a central processing unit. This system provides healthcare providers valuable information about the health status of their patients. The analysis of the acquired sensory signals is performed through the application of advanced signal processing techniques including adaptive filtering and trend detection, removal of noise and artifacts, high quality signal transmission, secure wireless communication, extraction of relevant parameters and vital signs, pattern recognition, and summarizing the results in texts, graphs, and tables that are clinically interpretable. Our research team has already developed an efficient algorithm that can accurately detect the QRS features from the complex ECG data (99.6%) and identify the myocardial infarction (95.7% sensitivity and 94.6% specificity), even in the presence of waveform fluctuations in baseline and amplitudes. The developed algorithms are implemented in the hardware prototyping.

Light snacks will be served!