Faculty of Engineering and Built EnvironmentFaculty of Engineering and Built Environment

Summer Scholarships

What are you planning on doing over the summer?
Would you like to work on a project with one of our internationally recognised research groups and get paid $3000 tax-free over 8 weeks?

Each year we offer Summer Research Scholarships to talented students who want to gain insight into research and higher study.

These are open to students within the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment who are at Bachelor degree level or studying the Master of Architecture.

The scholarship provides a tax-free stipend of $3000 over an 8 week period between November and February.

The topics that were available in 2018 are listed below by discipline.

Applications will open in late October/early November for the 2019-2020 Summer Scholarship Round.

Assessing the capability of city level governance for disaster resilience A/Prof Thayaparan Gajendran, Dr Kim Maund
Addressing the lack of equality and diversity of LGBTI people within the Australian construction industry Dr Helen Giggins

Deep learning in Construction Waste Management
An investigation into the potential of deep learning (AKA computer vision/ machine learning) applications associated with Construction and Demolition Waste on Construction sites.

Prof Peter Davis, A/Prof Willy Sher, A/Prof Patrick Tang, A/Prof Phil Clausen, A/Prof Adrian Wills

Apps available to supplement toolbox meetings
An investigation into software/ apps available to supplement Construction Site Management “toolbox meetings”.

Prof Peter Davis, A/Prof Willy Sher, A/Prof Patrick Tang, Dr Geoffrey Skinner

Construction Waste management logistics
An investigation into the use of Material recognition or RFID tagging of waste bins or truck to minimise haulage routes.

Prof Peter Davis, A/Prof Willy Sher, A/Prof Patrick Tang

Waste supply chain – plant focus
With attention to plant and equipment selection associated with Construction & Demolition waste management where and in what guise has incremental change in construction plant and equipment management (CPeM) occurred over the past ten years.

Prof Peter Davis, A/Prof Willy Sher, A/Prof Patrick Tang

The use of Drone technology in Construction Monitoring and Control
An investigation into the current use of drones and big data analysis associated with construction progress reporting and monitoring.

Prof Peter Davis, A/Prof Willy Sher, A/Prof Patrick Tang

SK Library Project

Prof Sue Anne Ware, Chris Tucker

Architecture at the frontier of advanced robotic fabrication

Dr Nicholas Foulcher, Tania Papasotiriou


Understanding the Kinetics of Civil Engineering Masonry Brick-Veneer and Cavity Brick Wall Tie Corrosion

Dr Igor Chaves, Barbara Jardim, Prof Rob Melchers, A/Prof Mark Masia

Accuracy and Reliability comparison between 3D laser scanning, photogrammetry and analogue contour measurements of corroded Bulk Carrier Structural steels

Dr Igor Chaves, Dr Lloyd Pilgrim

Modern Concrete Mix Design Considerations towards long-term durability of New Australian Motorways (A collaborative Project with RMS)

Dr Igor Chaves, Peter Carson, Prof Rob Melchers

Assessment of satellite remote sensing data for near realtime soil moisture and floods monitoring in Australia
Any motivated student who has an interest in learning computer programming and satellite data processing (+ who cares for Australia’s dry environment!)

Prof Shin-Chan Han


Thermal treatment of PFAS

Prof Eric Kennedy, Prof Michael Stockenhuber, A/Prof John Lucas

Mineral carbonation

Prof Eric Kennedy, Prof Michael Stockenhuber, Dr Tim Oliver

Plasma catalysis

Prof Eric Kennedy, Prof Michael Stockenhuber

Advanced Carbon Manufacturing with Coal Macerals (fibres & foams)

Dr Rohan Stanger, Prof Terry Wall

Optimisation of the Direct Carbon Fuel Cell for Low Emission Energy Generation

Dr Jessica Allen, Mr Michael Glenn, Prof Scott Donne

Molten Salt Slow Pyrolysis for Advanced Carbon and Renewable Energy

Dr Jessica Allen, Ms Tahereh Jalalabadi

Lab-scale testing of high through-put oxygen separation membrane for oxy-fuel applications

Dr Jessica Allen, Dr Khadijeh Paymooni, Prof Behdad Moghtaderi

Droplet dynamics under external acoustic excitation

Dr Subhasish Mitra, Prof Geoffrey Evans

Process design and evaluation for a 100 MW power plant using bio hydrogen gas
The candidate is expected to work with a postdoc for 8 weeks on a technical survey on hydrogen energy production technology R&D and evaluation of the design options of a 100 MW power plant using hydrogen gas as the energy source which may be produced from biomass. Aspen HYSYS is expected to be used in this project to carry out process modelling and evaluation. The candidate is required to write a report at the completion.

A/Prof Jianglong Yu

Design and evaluation of smart energy systems for residential houses
The candidate is expected to evaluate the current and future energy structure and supply/optimization of energy system for urban residential houses. Based on the evaluation, the candidate will then establish a conceptual energy model and design smart energy supply systems which meet the future needs of smart house/city systems. A report is required at the completion of the project.

A/Prof Jianglong Yu

Electrostatic liquid marbles – Synthesis of novel nanomaterials
Liquid marbles consist of a liquid droplet stabilised by the layer of non-wetting particles. These materials exhibit remarkable properties such as mechanical strength, low friction, long-term stability due and supressed liquid phase evaporation. Consequently they have been proposed in applications such as actuators and drug delivery, and have already been deployed as gas and pollution sensors, microreactors and in personal care products. Our group is developing a new method of manufacturing liquid marbles that greatly widens the range of liquids and solids particles that may be used in their production. This project will further broaden the scope of liquid marbles by examining new liquid phases and particles.

A/Prof Grant Webber, Dr Peter Ireland, Prof Erica Wanless

Electrostatic liquid marbles – Modelling charged particles at a liquid drop surface
Liquid marbles are remarkable liquid-particle aggregates consisting of non-wetting particles coating and stabilising a liquid droplet core, with a variety of proposed applications, including pollution and gas sensors, actuators and microreactors. Our group has pioneered an electrostatic formation process that widens the scope for potential applications by allowing incorporation of hydrophilic particles. Under some conditions, charged particles at the drop surface have been observed to behave strangely, forming regularly-spaced configurations and influencing drop deformation, presumably due to mutual repulsion. This project will focus on numerical modelling of this phenomenon using the COMSOL Multiphysics modelling package.

Dr Peter Ireland, A/Prof Grant Webber, Prof Erica Wanless

Application of polymer/particle hybrids
Thermoresponsive polymer/particle hybrids change key physical properties with temperature. The hybrid materials manufactured in our laboratory are hydrophilic and well-solvated in water at low temperatures but become hydrophobic at higher temperatures. The temperature where this change occurs can be controlled by choice of polymer. These particles can be deployed to control the rheology of solutions or as temperature-dependent stabilisers of Pickering emulsions. This project will explore potential deployment of these hybrid nanomaterials and a variety of applications.

A/Prof Grant Webber, Prof Erica Wanless

Controlling (ultra-low) friction
Friction between moving components represents a major cost to the world economy and is the main contributor to the failure in many machines devices from internal combustion engines, to industrial equipment and medical implants and even electronic componentry such as hard-drives and mobile phones. One method for controlling friction and wear is to use a thin film of polymer to prevent the contact of the moving components. Responsive polymers change their physical properties due to an external stimulus such as temperature or light. This project will characterise the physical properties and lubricating abilities of polymer films in complex physiological environments.

A/Prof Grant Webber, Dr Peter Ireland, Prof Erica Wanless

Determination of mechanical properties of metallurgical coke
The aim of this project is twofold (1) conduct loading-unloading experiments on coke samples, in order to determine appropriate models for the mechanical properties of the material (2) investigate the use of the mechanical properties in simulations of breakage of coke samples, for comparison with micro-CT experiments.  The student will need to have skills in applied science/engineering, with some interest in the combination of modelling and experiment to aid understanding.  We envisage the student will come from an engineering, applied mathematics or physics background.

A/Prof David Jenkins, A/Prof Merick Mahoney

Methanation of carbon oxides in hydrocarbon feedstreasm

Prof Michael Stockenhuber, Prof Eric Kennedy

Selective oxidation of methane to oxygenates

Prof Michael Stockenhuber, Prof Eric Kennedy

Deoxygenation and decarboxylation of bio-oils

Prof Michael Stockenhuber, Prof Eric Kennedy

Acid base characterisation and synthesis of hierarchical zeolites

Prof Michael Stockenhuber, Prof Eric Kennedy

Characterization and properties of 2D materials and devices

Dr Jiabao Yi

Multifunctional oxide materials

Dr Jiabao Yi

Magnetic nanoparticles for bioapplications.

Dr Jiabao Yi

Development of two dimensional ternary electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution reaction
Hydrogen is the one of feasible power sources in order to replace fossil fuels, which is ascribable to ~2−7 times higher energy density of hydrogen than that of the fossil fuels. The electrolysis of water with a platinum (Pt) catalyst allows eco-friendly generation of the hydrogen, which is called as hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). However, this process suffers from high price of Pt and poor durability which make major hurdles to developing a genuinely practical technology. Many researchers have tried to apply 0D/1D inorganic nanostructures of metal sulfide/ selenide/ nitride/ phosphide as a catalyst for HER to replace the expensive Pt based catalysts for HER. Despite the research efforts, catalytic activities of nanomaterials are still lower than that of Pt. Here we propose to overcome this problem by replacing these catalysts with functionalized 2D inorganic nanosheets. The 2D inorganic sheets exhibit the morphology with the thickness less than 1 nm and the lateral size above 1 μm similar to graphene. The unique physicochemical properties of 2D inorganic nanosheets ascribable to its anisotropic structure are strongly beneficial to HER catalyst. In order to exhibit good HER catalytic activities, 2D inorganic nanosheets have to possess a high electronic conductivity and suitable band position nearby the potential state of hydrogen reduction. Since a few metals of Fe, Ni, and Co have proper band position and electronic conductivity for HER, it is planned to synthesize Fe/Ni/Co-based 2D inorganic nanosheet and characterize its band structure, electronic conductivity and HER performance.

Dr Inyoung Kim, Prof Ajayan Vinu

Translation of naturally available clays into advanced hybrid nanomaterials for selective CO2 capture
The pointedly rising level of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) to at least 550 ppm by 2050 due to the emission from fossil fuel burning and other industrial activities, is one of current civilization's most prominent ecological concerns. Fossil fuel burning will keep on dominating the world's energy supply for a considerable length of time to come. And so, limiting CO2 discharge is high on the environmentalist’s motivation. The currently utilized technique for CO2 capture is mostly aqueous amine adsorption which has its own particular downsides, for example, pipeline corrosion, amine instability to oxidation, frothing in the gas-fluid interface, high energy consumption for regeneration, and high support costs. To address these issues, adsorption onto strong solid adsorbents is practicing as an alternative option. However, adsorbents with the high-adsorption-capacity lacking selectivity hinder the large-scale application of these adsorbents for the real field scenario. Likewise, the amine adsorbents, the non-selective solid materials are having difficulties in regeneration and reusability due to the presence of non-targeted gases. In a typical thermal power plant, stack emissions contain 14–16% CO2, 75–80% N2 and 10% other gases. For capturing CO2 from this kind of situations, we need materials with high ability to selectively capture the target gas molecule in the complex mixture. Hence, there is a growing market demand for the development of the novel adsorbents for selectively capture the CO2 and adsorbents prepared by modifying clay materials emerged as highly selective CO2 adsorbents since the clay materials are non hazardous and abundantly available.

Dr Kavitha Ramadass, Prof Ajayan Vinu

Functionalised biocarbon as NanoBinder for the stabilization of organic and inorganic contaminants from gas work contaminated sites
Gas manufacturing plants, known as gasworks, used to create town gas for warming, lighting, and cooking.  The gas created by coal heating was caught, channeled off and utilized as fuel. Most gasworks in New South Wales, Australia started activity in the late 1800s. With the presentation of alternative fuel sources, numerous started to be eliminated in the 1960s. The last known working gasworks in NSW was decommissioned in the mid-1980s. The gasworks activity all through NSW has left the soil and groundwater contaminated, now and again stretching out to adjoining sites as well. The most commonly found contaminants in the gas work sites include tars, oils, hydrocarbon sludges, heavy metals, spent oxide wastes, ash, and ammonia. While a significant number of these compounds were recycled or reused, it was normal for some compounds to be retained on or close to the gasworks site (for example in underground tar wells, pipes, and purifier beds) and not evacuated when the gasworks was decommissioned. Some of these contaminants are cancer-causing to people and poisonous to other biological communities thus may represent a hazard to human wellbeing and the earth. Therefore, numerous previous gasworks sites will require remediation before they will be appropriate for delicate land utilization, for example, residential development. This project is aimed to develop new and effective NanoBinder material to be used for treating the gaswork contaminated soils and sediments which contains organics and inorganics  including volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phenolics, cyanides, thiocyanates, metals (arsenic, chromium, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc), ammoniates, nitrates, and sulphate/sulphides

Prof. Ajayan Vinu and Dr. Kavitha Ramadass

Design of novel nanoporous functionalized electrodes for supercapacitors
In the fight against environment pollution and global warming, clean energy generation and storage is vital to the sustainability of Australia. Supercapacitors are the major energy storage devices due to their extremely high capacity in storing electric charges and energy. Generally, supercapacitors are classified into two main categories, namely, electrical double-layer capacitors (EDLCs) and pseudocapacitors. The classification is based on the nature and type of charge storage mechanism. EDLCs exhibit a non-faradic reaction with accumulation of charges at the electrode-electrolyte interface and can store energy by means of charge separation while the pseudocapacitors show Faradic redox reactions on the active species on the surface of the electrode surface. However, the performance of both the devices is based on the choice of the electrode materials, textural parameters, and the functional parts on the electrode's surface. This highly interdisciplinary project will focus on the fabrication of nanoporous carbon electrodes functionalized with both inorganic metal oxide nanoparticles and organic redox functional groups for supercapacitor application. It is planned to develop “Smart” supercapacitors with a high energy and power density by introducing both the electrical double layer capacitance and pseudocapacitance in a single nanoporous electrode system with tuneable textural characteristics and functional moieties that can enhance the energy storage capacity.

Prof Ajayan Vinu, Dr Gopalakrishnan

Fabrication of nanoporous carbon nitrides with tunable pore diameters and nitrogen contents for hydrogen storage application
Carbon nitride (CN) is a well known and fascinating material that has attracted worldwide attention because the incorporation of nitrogen atoms in the carbon nanostructure can enhance the mechanical, conducting, field emission, and energy storage properties. Owing to its unique properties such as semi-conductivity, intercalation ability, hardness, CN is regarded as a promising material which could find potential applications in many fields. By constructing CN materials with nanoporous structure, many novel applications could emerge: from catalysis, to separation and adsorption of very bulky molecules, and to the fabrication of solar cells. The carbon nitride materials have unique surface properties with amine functional groups on the surface. This may help to enhance the adsorption of different gases. This project deals with the use of Nanoporous carbon nitrides with tunable nitrogen contents and structures and morphology for the adsorption and desorption of hydrogen molecules at different pressures (0 to 200 bar) and temperatures (77K to 313K)

Dr Kripal Singh Lakhi, Prof Ajayan Vinu

Synthesis of biodiesel using nanoporous highly acidic catalytic materials
Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled greases. Biodiesel can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form, but it is usually used as a diesel additive to reduce levels of particulates, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons from diesel-powered vehicles. Biodiesel has better lubricating properties and much higher cetane ratings than today's lower sulfur diesel fuels. Biofuels provided 1.8% of the world's transport fuel in 2008. In 2008, Europe totaled 16 million tones biodiesel production. This compares with a total demand for diesel in the US and Europe of approximately 490 million tonnes (147 billion gallons).8-10 These results reveal the importance of the biodiesel and their role in boosting the economy. Unfortunately, the production of biodiesel requires high temperature and high pressure (above 300 C and 20 MPa). In this project, we aim to fabricate highly acidic nanoporous catalytic materials for the production of biodiesel from vegetable oils.

Prof Y Sugi, Dr Stalin Joseph, Prof Ajayan Vinu

Design of highly ordered metal/metal oxide decorated Carbon – Carbon Nitride hybrid nanostructures for applications in gas adsorption, Supercapacitor and Li-Ion Battery
The fast depleting fossil fuels based energy sources coupled with rapid deterioration of global climate attributed primarily to emissions of greenhouse gases has resulted in a hot pursuit by the scientific community to find low cost environment friendly adsorbents and green and clean energy storage and generation sources. Among the strategies aimed at reducing the impact of greenhouse gases on the climate, selective capture of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CH4 from the industrial flue stack before being released into the atmosphere has gained a lot of traction in recent times. On the energy front, alternate energy storage devices such as supercapacitor and batteries have been demonstrated as ideal substitutes for fossil fuels based energy sources because of their fast charge discharge characteristics at high energy densities and high energy storage capabilities. To this end, high surface area containing solid based porous materials decorated with metal/metal oxide have emerged as promising candidates owing to their low capital costs and minimal impact on the environment and relatively simple methods of preparation. Among the solid porous materials, carbon – carbon nitride hybrid materials decorated with metal/metal oxide nanoparticles are expected to have superior properties such as high surface, ample basic sites for efficient capture and storage of CO2 and CH4 and the suitable redox potential for supercapacitor and Li-ion battery electrode material. Preliminary research work has indicated that the nitrogen functionality coupled with the high surface area of Carbon-Carbon Nitride hybrid material facilitates the capture of huge quantities of CO2 and CH4 whereas the presence of Cu, Co, Ni, Mn metal/metal oxide nanoparticles assist in accelerating the charge discharge profiles and charge storage capacity of the materials. The materials proposed in this research have not been reported and provide an exciting opportunity to develop a high versatile nanostructured material for a range of applications including selective gas capture and as electrodes for energy storage devices.

Dr Kripal Singh Lakhi, Prof Ajayan Vinu

Design of novel porous graphitic carbon nitride based photocatalyst for hydrogen evolution
Hydrogen production by photocatalytic water-splitting is one of the promising methods for sustainable hydrogen generation as it uses clean and abundantly available natural resources (water and solar energy). This project will contribute to the development of a carbon nitride based photocatalyst materials that can harness huge amount of solar energy. Carbon nitride (CN) is composed of carbon and nitrogen which are available in abundance while the reserves of most metal precious elements used as photocatalyst are limited. Porous C3N4 has attracted the attention of many researchers since it can be used as metal-free photocatalyst. Until now, most syntheses of porous CN focused on C3N4 stoichiometry with a band gap of 2.7 eV. These materials have tris-s-triazine based crystal structure, with the absorption edge limited to less than 500nm, because of which it cannot harvest the broader range of solar radiations. Therefore, it is highly desirable to develop the photocatalyst with bandgap < 2.7 eV. The addition of more N in the CN framework is the best solution as it has the potential to tune band edges but this remains a huge challenge. We propose to tune absorption edge of porous CN upto ~ 600 nm using single or mixed precursors with a high N content. Furthermore, the CN hybrids coupled with metal or metal oxide/chalcogenide or graphene quantum dots will exhibit improved absorption efficiency and photogenerated charge transfer or separation efficiency, which will result in higher quantum yield than previously reported CN.

Dr Jae-Hun Yang, Prof Ajayan Vinu

Design of functionalized activated porous biocarbons derived from biomass for CO2 adsorption
The high accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere has resulted in climate change all over the world. Among all the GHGs, the contribution of carbon dioxide is the highest and it amounts close to 98% of the total emissions. The major part of this CO2 comes from anthropogenic sources that continue to fill up the atmosphere with CO2 generated mainly through the combustion of fossil fuels. In industrial set ups, CO2 is released either before or after the combustion of source fuels, however the latter one gives out higher proportions of CO2 and hence more research is oriented towards finding ways to address post combustion CO2 capture. From the materials perspective, amine based solvent systems are commercially employed technologies for CO2 capture in industries. However, there is an ongoing demand for finding alternative solutions as the amine based system are detrimental for several reasons of which the major one is the high energy consumption. As a result, the ongoing research is focussed on two main factors; lowering the overall cost associated with high energy demands and increasing the CO2 adsorption efficiencies. In lieu of this, porous solid adsorbents form an important category and several materials including zeolites, carbons and MOFs have been studied. Alongside, a new promising class of high surface area porous carbon based materials derived from biomass is becoming increasingly popular. Biomass could be easily concentrated into high percentage carbon which could then be activated or modified using several strategies to obtain high surface area carbons, hybrid carbons or functionalized carbon materials. These types of materials have shown a lot of promise in both pre and post combustion capture of CO2 from flue gas stream. The overall nature of the project will be dealing with the synthesis of high surface area carbon from different types of waste biomass precursors. Further modification/functionalization of these carbons for their transformation into “smart adsorbents” will be the next focus which will be carried out in combination with other materials such as ionic liquids, carbon nitrides, transition metals and their oxides etc. Characterization and CO2 capture application of the synthesized materials will be carried out in a laboratory based environment.

Dr Gurwinder Singh, Prof Ajayan Vinu

Advanced Nanomaterials for Photoelectrochemical reduction of CO2 into Clean Fuels
The emission of CO2 to the atmosphere through burning of coal or fossil fuels is one of the main reasons for the drastic climate change and global warming. Simultaneous CO2 capture and conversion (CCC) approach for the production of high energy low carbon clean fuels is a promising solution to mitigate the emission of CO2. Photoelectrochemical (PEC) conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) into low carbon organic molecules by using advanced nanomaterials as highly efficient, selective and durable catalysts is one of the clean energy approaches, as it requires only sun light and water. This project aims at design and fabrication of new advanced nanostructures integrated with dual functionalities (basic and semiconducting) containing mesoporous carbon nitride and metal phosphides for the capture of high amount of CO2 molecules but also its conversion into a clean fuel through PEC process.

Prof Ajayan Vinu, Dr Siddulu Naidu Talapaneni


Detecting Malware in Encrypted Traffic using Machine Learning Techniques
In this project, we investigate machine learning algorithms for detecting encrypted malware traffic sessions. As the HTTPS protocol is increasingly being used for both malicious and benign activities, we consider only the HTTPS traffic. This project is aimed at exploring the effectiveness of convolutional neural networks for detecting HTTPS malware traffic sessions by using only their handshake packets. The work involves implementing a convolutional neural network, and optimizing it for identifying HTTPS malware traffic sessions.

Dr Behzad Asadi, Prof Vijay Varadharajan

Generating Adversarial Examples using Generative Adversarial Network (GAN)
In this project, we aim to improve the robustness of neural networks for static malware detection in adversarial settings. We utilize generative adversarial networks to generate adversarial examples against an existing trained neural network. We compare the evasion rate of this method with other existing methods. This project involves implementing a generative adversarial network, and measuring its capability for designing samples which are misclassified by an existing trained neural network.

Dr Behzad Asadi, Prof Vijay Varadharajan

Validation of Flow Rules in Switches in Software Defined Networks
A Software Defined Network (SDN) consists of controller and switches, where the intelligence resides in the controller in software which is used to manage the switches and the network traffic. The attackers can exploit the vulnerabilities in the switches to generate attacks against the controller as well as the network traffic. The aim of this project is to develop a switch monitoring application in the SDN controller for validating the flow tables in the switches as well as detecting any malicious flow rules. The monitoring application will create a log of all the commands sent from the controller to the switches and use these logs to validate the flow rules in the switches.

Dr Uday Tupakula, Prof Vijay Varadharajan

Practical Malicious Application Detection Techniques for Android Devices
Android is one of the popular operating system used on the mobile devices. Currently there are an increasing number of attacks and malicious applications targeting Android mobile devices. The aim of this project is to develop techniques for detecting malicious applications on these mobile devices. It will identify a suitable set of features that can be used to validate the behaviour of applications on the mobile devices and help to detect attacks at runtime.

Dr Uday Tupakula, Prof Vijay Varadharajan

Reputation in IoT Systems
The Internet of Things (IoT) provides connectivity between heterogeneous devices in different applications, such as smart city, supply chain and healthcare. One of the fundamental issues is how to evaluate the trust of the devices in IoT systems. Increasingly IoT systems are using reputation mechanisms to determine the trust of IoT devices. However, there can be different attacks against the reputation mechanisms themselves such as on-off and Sybil attacks. In this project, the aim is to carry out an analysis of such attacks on reputation systems using mathematical simulations e.g. in MATLAB. The output of the project is to assess the ability of the reputation systems to withstand the various attacks as well as the usability of reputation based trust management systems.

Dr Nan Li, Prof Vijay Varadharajan

Developing Objective Measures of Realism and Fidelity in 3D Game Environments

Dr Karen Blackmore

Exploring optical flow metrics in virtual environments

Dr Shamus Smith

Optimising virtual reality applications for robust Head-Mounted Display deployment

Dr Shamus Smith

Identifying vection feature sets from video stream data of virtual travel

Dr Shamus Smith

Non-treadmill body oriented navigation in virtual  environments

Dr Shamus Smith

Robotic Walk and Kick Optimisation in Simulation

Dr Alexandre Mendes, A/Prof Stephan Chalup

NUsense Development

Dr Alexandre Mendes, A/Prof Stephan Chalup

Robot Feet and Force Sensors

Dr Alexandre Mendes, A/Prof Stephan Chalup

Robot Vision, Space and VR

A/Prof Stephan Chalup, Dr Alexandre Mendes

Modular Robotic Walk Engine

A/Prof Stephan Chalup, Dr Alexandre Mendes

End-to-End Deep Diagrammatic Reasoning

A/Prof Stephan Chalup, Dr James Juniper

Automating Environmental Data Annotation

A/Prof Stephan Chalup, Mr Ali Bakhshi


Study of ultrasound energy transfer for powering medical implants

A/Prof James Welsh, Dr Colin Coates

Simulation of intracellular Ca2+ release in heart cells

A/Prof James Welsh, Prof Derek Laver

Determination of neuro transmitters using empirical solutions in vestibular hair cells

A/Prof James Welsh, Prof Alan Brichta

Parallel Computing in Nonlinear System Identification

A/Prof James Welsh

Development of a continuous-time system identification toolbox in Julia

A/Prof James Welsh

Personalised modular internet television streaming with cache

Dr Lawrence Ong

Topological Optimisation of Microantilever Design for Atomic Force Microscopy using ANSYS
An Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) uses a micro-cantilever (with an extremely sharp probe at its free end) to scan the surface of a sample. The probe-sample interaction forces cause the cantilever to deflect and this deflection is commonly measured with the optical beam deflection method involving a laser beam and a photodiode. When the cantilever’s deflection is plotted as a function of the probe's lateral position, a 3D image of the sample's surface is obtained. AFM can be used to image a sample on an atomic scale. Commercial available microcantilevers are often based on a rectangular geometry because they are relatively easy to fabricate. It is desirable to obtain a cantilever design which has high resonance frequency and low stiffness. High resonance frequency allows a faster scanning time; low stiffness allows a lower tip-sample interaction force, thus avoiding potential damage to soft samples. However, the resonance frequency of the cantilever increases with the stiffness. This project aims to search for a microcantilever design with high resonance frequency and low stiffness. The geometry of the cantilever is not restricted to rectangular. ANSYS is a powerful finite-element analysis package for engineering design applications. The topology optimisation module in ANSYS will be used in this project to search for an optimal design solution. Students will have a chance to learn some advanced design techniques using ANSYS.

Dr Yuen Yong

Review of interface circuits for microcantilever based piezoresistive sensors
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology enables the fabrication of devices that combine electrical and mechanical elements at the micro and nanometre scale. These devices are used at the core of a number of high-resolution microscopes and high-performance mass-sensing applications.  This project will introduce the student to characterization and instrumentation of a fabricated MEMS microcantilever and develop a piezoresistive read-out circuit. Two instrumentation circuit configurations for a MEMS cantilever-based piezoresistive sensor are to be evaluated via analytical modelling, SPICE simulations and if time permits in experiment. The project is best suited to those with an interest in circuit design and instrumentation.

Dr Michael Ruppert

Bio-inspired sound and audio processing

A/Prof Kaushik Mahata

Analog computers for solving optimization problems

A/Prof Kaushik Mahata

Cerebrovascular imaging to determine vascular health

Prof Sarah Johnson

AVR characterisation and optimisation for isolated diesel generators in off-grid power systems

Dr Terrence Summers

Design and Development of a Multi-mode Energy Harvesting Power Supply

A/Prof Jamil Khan

Design and development of Webcam based Road Traffic Monitoring System

A/Prof Stephan Chalup, A/Prof Jamil Khan

Design and development of an Underwater Data Modem

A/Prof Jamil Khan

Ultrasonic Orthopedic Tool
Callus formation around orthopaedic implants has traditionally required the use of significant mechanical force during extraction. Repetitive and high impact forces can result in complications including damage to soft-tissue, nerves, and vessels at the site of the implant, but also at adjacent joints. In severe cases, the bone is fractured or the implant is damaged, which may severely impede removal, or require major surgical revision.  This project will develop a new ultrasonic device to assist in the extraction of metal implants from bone. The induced deformation of the implant is intended to result in sufficient shear and normal stress to exceed the yield-stress of the bone matrix, resulting in liquefaction at the interface. This project is best suited to a Mechatronics, Mechanical, or Medical Engineering Student with an interest in Finite Element Analysis, mechanics, and control.

Prof Andrew Fleming

RF System on Chip
This project will utilize the Xilinx Ultrascale+ RF system on chip (XCZU28DR) for real-time control and implementation of high-frequency signal processing algorithms such as software-defined radio and radar beam-forming and targeting. The XCZU28DR contains a high-performance FPGA, 4 GSPS DACs, ADCs, a quad-core ARM cortex @ 1.5GHz, and a dual-core ARM cortex at 533 MHz for real-time processing. The project will include developing drivers for the peripherals and developing a tool-chain so that the RFSoC can be used with the HDL Coder from Simulink. This project is best suited to a third year Electrical Engineering student with an interest in Reconfigurable logic and embedded systems.

Prof Andrew Fleming

Resonant High Voltage DC-DC Converters
This project will investigate the use of resonant DC-DC converters to generate high-voltage DC power with low ripple voltage. New converters will be developed and compared to current designs. A low-voltage prototype will be constructed to test demonstrate performance. Applications include high-efficiency power conversion, low-noise applications, and instrumentation applications that require high-voltages such as photomultipliers and piezoelectric actuators. This project is suited to Electrical Engineering students who have completed ELEC3251.

Prof Andrew Fleming

Wireless networking for smart grid energy management systems

Dr. Duy Ngo

Detection of wildlife animals for vehicle safety applications.

Dr. Duy Ngo


Investigation of bulk material and liner type to assess impact wear

Dr Jayne O'Shea

Solid-Fluid Heat Transfer for Concentrated Solar Thermal Power

Prof Erich Kisi, Dr Dylan Cuskelly

The integration of augmented reality (AR) and engineering design
There has been much recent interest regarding the use of augmented reality (AR) within the field of engineering design. Current literature suggests that the use of augmented reality facilitates learning, enhances motivation, and enhances spatial skills. Despite these benefits, few established protocols exist for integrating computer aided design (CAD) software within an AR environment. This project aims to address this knowledge gap by developing methodologies for utilising CAD with AR hardware (i.e smartphone, tablet, HoloLens). For a prospective candidate past experience with PTC Creo is mandatory (i.e. MECH1110, MECH2110). Previous use of Vuforia Studio or Microsoft HoloLens is desirable but not compulsory.

Dr Samuel Evans

Computational Fluid Dynamic Simulation for airflow over train wagons – Dust and the environment

A/Prof Ken Williams

Permeability and characterisation of organic waste from the South Pacific

Dr Dusan Ilic, A/Prof Ken Williams

Investigating the size reduction efficiency and energy use of a wood chipper

Dr Dusan Ilic

Investigating dust generation mechanisms in a dustiness tester

Dr Dusan Ilic

Port Waratah Coal Services: Thermal Analysis of Ship Loader Chutes

A/Prof Craig Wheeler, Mr Jiahe Shen

Conveyor Idler Roll Friction – Measurement and Analysis

A/Prof Craig Wheeler, Mr Michael Carr

Conveyor Drive Drum Friction

A/Prof Craig Wheeler, Mr Tarun Srivastava


Implementation and simulation of robust obstacle avoidance controllers

Dr Philipp Braun

Simulation of Low-Thrust Orbital Transfer Manoeuvres

Prof Chris Kellett

Simulation and Construction of a new Piezoelectric Actuator
Piezoelectric actuators provide the fastest response and highest force per unit volume of any actuator technology. However, they are expensive to produce as they are presently constructed from thin layers of piezoelectric material sandwiched between metal electrodes. This construction method also makes them intolerant to tension force, bending moments, and shear force. This project will develop an alternative to stacked piezoelectric actuators that uses a solid piece of ceramic with equal strength in all directions of motion. An alternative electrode structure is required to provide optimal performance. Analytical and finite-element simulations will be used optimize the actuators mechanical and electrical dimensions. This project is best suited to a student with an interest in Finite Element Analysis and Mechatronics.

Prof Andrew Fleming

Steerable Catheter
The success of interventions for ischaemic stroke, aneurism, and haemorrhage is strongly determined by the difficulty in approaching the site with an endovascular catheter. The lack of rapid and definitive treatments for cerebrovascular accident is a contributing factor to the 10,000 stroke deaths that will occur in Australia in 2018. This project aims to develop a new endovascular catheter able to travel along a vessel and around corners. Mechanical simulation will be used for design and analysis, followed by fabrication. This project is best suited to a Mechatronics, Mechanical, or Medical Engineering Student with an interest in Finite Element Analysis, mechanics, and control.

Prof Andrew Fleming

Projects for 2019 coming soon.

Student Experience