Salt splitting is a technology in which an electrochemical cell containing 2 membranes to transport positive and negative ions, is used to produce sulfuric acid and caustic soda from sodium sulfate, a compound found commonly from industrial brine streams. Salt splitting electrolysis is a sustainable solution for the expanding markets of acid and caustic recovery and treatment of neutralization waste products, which would otherwise be disposed.
Preforming regular visual inspections is essential in up keeping structures. These inspections are used to identify defects at an early stage before they pose a major threat. Unfortunately, these inspections require scaffolding or hiring a boom to access certain areas. Other areas are tight and put the worker at risk. The use of visual inspection drones, specifically tailored for confined space, provide an excellent tool to perform these inspections. Throughout this research project we will be testing and analyzing how these drones perform/withstand different harsh environments.
Supercapacitors are electrochemical energy storage devices that promise fast charge-discharge rate, high power density, and long cycle life. However, low energy density, high cost, and safety risk of supercapacitors are yet to be addressed in order to deploy the technology into wholesale grid storage. This research project will design low-cost and high-performance electrode and electrolyte for supercapacitors.
The use of ionic liquids (ILs) in enhanced oil recovery is considered a new and promising technology as it has never been tested in any pilot plant or reservoir field. ILs are very similar to surfactants as they help reduce the interfacial tension, change the wettability of the reservoir, and some have strong viscous effect, all essential factors in recovering more heavy oil. The technology can also be used for medium and light oil recoveries with other kinds of ionic liquids.
Railway tank cars are constructed from TC 128 steel plates, a design that has not changed for more than 50 years. The Lac Megantic rail disaster in 2013 refocused the attention of Canadians on the safety aspects of tank car design and operation, but not so much on the actual properties of the steels used to build them. In this project, we will explore the potential of modern advanced high strength steels as a replacement for TC 128. In particular, significant improvements to the tank wall puncture resistance will be targeted. New alloys will be designed using the latest scientific knowledge.
Vertical farming is an agricultural approach that involves indoor, large-scale plant cultivation, at multiple levels, with controlled environmental conditions, a hydroponic nutrient solution and artificial light. This space-saving approach to growing fruit and vegetables has the potential to meet increasing fresh produce demand in dense urban areas. In recent years, several commercial entities have marketed smaller scale, vertical plant growth systems to consumers who want fresh and locally grown food.
The project revolves around automation in nursery farms and greenhouses. The goal is to deliver planted pots using autonomous unmanned systems. Planted pots will be loaded/unloaded to/from plant carts using a small robot called BigTop, designed and developed at the supporting organization, AIS. Motion planning, control, and navigation algorithms will be developed through this project for a mother vehicle, equipped with a myriad of on board sensors, to move plant carts to their goal position in the nursery farms/greenhouse without any human intervention.
The ultimate goal of this project is to develop a fundamental understanding of inclusion evolution during a particular refining process in secondary steelmaking unit. The particular focus is firstly on developing a detailed characterization of the inclusions formed during refining in the Stelco Ladle Metallurgy Facility, and secondly on adapting the existing McMaster ladle metallurgy/inclusion model for the Stelco facility. Ultimately this is expected to achieve better process and product control. Inclusions, depending on their size and type, may profoundly affect steel properties.
This research is an attempt to understand a heat transfer challenge encountered in the Glen Dimplex electric baseboard heaters in details and provide recommendations to resolve that. This baseboard heater uses electricity to heat up an internal element which is designed to transfer the heat to the room?s air via a series of thin aluminum plates called fins. The poor heat transfer from heater fins to air results in low efficiency of the heater as well as the unwanted physical deformation of fins by thermal expansion.
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are the dominant technology used to power today’s electric vehicles (EVs). However, current Li-ion batteries is reaching the bottleneck in the energy density, partially due to the limited capacity in the graphite anode (372 mAh g-1). In partnership with MGX Minerals Inc., Dr. Liu’s team at the University of British Columbia aims at developing a high-performance nanostructured Si anode for next-generation Li-ion batteries by using low-grade and large-abundant metallurgical Si as the starting material.