Suzan Matti, Shikhar Bhalla and Chau Yi Miao display a model of their clutch actuator design.Suzan Matti, Shikhar Bhalla and Chau Yi Miao display a model of their clutch actuator design Friday in the Centre for Engineering Innovation.

Practical performance purpose of project presentations

When Shikhar Bhalla started a co-op work term last year with the Schaeffler engineering group in Germany, he didn’t know how long his work with the company would extend.

The fourth-year automotive engineering student and his team completed their capstone design project—a two-way hydraulic clutch actuator—for the industrial partner and hope to see it go into production. It was one of a dozen final presentations by graduating students of mechanical, automotive and materials engineering Friday.

The two-way design means it requires less force to apply, so the materials can be lighter and less costly, the group explained. They created a model using a three-dimensional printer and won praise from officials of the company, which supplies automotive manufacturers around the world.

“It would be cool if they end up using our work,” said Bhalla, who is weighing a job offer from Schaeffler following his graduation.

Members of a team that worked on a generator that uses biogas to produce electricity also expressed excitement that the project might one day go into use in developing countries like the African nation of Ghana.

“If it actually makes a difference to people, then we would have achieved what we set out to do as engineers,” said team leader Victoria Pejman. She said the project, meant to allow educators to assess the progress graduating students have made as they begin professional practice, demanded “three times as much as all my other classes.”

Professor David Ting, who coordinated the day’s presentations, called the quality of the students’ work “excellent” and admitted he was especially pleased to see them present in the well-designed confines of the Centre for Engineering Innovation’s room 1100.

“The venue is just fantastic,” he said.

Watch a video of students testing the electric-powered vehicle they designed and built: