Engineering professor Bill Altenhof holds a metal tube.Engineering professor Bill Altenhof is an organizer of the International Crashworthiness Symposium, to be held on the UWindsor campus April 11.

Symposium to set stage for international lightweight materials collaboration

Automotive engineers from around the world will come to UWindsor next month for the International Crashworthiness Symposium to discuss the design of lighter-weight vehicles and cutting-edge innovations to improve fuel efficiency and vehicle safety. The symposium also sets the stage for UWindsor to sign the Cooperation Agreement on Novel Lightweight Technologies for Improved Crash Safety, along with the University of Waterloo and the German Aerospace Centre.

“This is an opportunity for researchers from academia and industry to get together and showcase both their efforts and commitments towards vehicle light weighting,” says Bill Altenhof, professor of Mechanical, Automotive and Materials Engineering and an organizer of the symposium. “We’ve had an impressive response and interest from automakers and their suppliers.”

Dr. Altenhof says the event is also the dawn of a new partnership that will see Canadian academics and German industry experts working together to find new ways of using lightweight materials for crash safety.

“The focus of the agreement is about collaborating and developing novel ways to dissipate energy in a crash, for the protection of people within vehicles,” he says. “We are trying to think outside the box and apply innovative techniques to re-work traditional designs to bring vehicle structural crashworthiness to a new level of performance.”

Altenhof and his graduate students have found that working with such lighter-weight metals as magnesium to be challenging because when involved in a crash, they can split, deform and fracture in ways that steels and aluminum alloys do not.

The research team cuts channels in the metal, which act as an energy absorber, with the resulting system having a consistent and predictable crash behaviour.

“Using some of our recently patented technologies, we can adjust aspects of the system to engineer a particular response for a specific vehicle requirement,” he says.

He says these new designs have the ability to ‘wisely’ distribute loads in a vehicle structure and dissipate energy, in low and even in high speed crashes, preventing excess energy from being transferred to vehicle occupants.

Traditional vehicle parts made with heavier materials will fold when crushed resulting in load fluctuations with the formation of every fold.

“If you can mitigate or eliminate load oscillations during the crash event that is a big benefit for the design and occupants in the crash.”

The symposium will include presentations by academic and industry experts, including UWindsor PhD candidate Matt Bondy, who will present findings from his research efforts on the Impct loading of long fibre technology carbon fibre/nylon composites.

“When you are in a severe accident, your life, and many of those close to you, will change forever. With the economic burden of automobile crashes in North America in the billions of dollars per year, any contribution we can make has the potential to save so many lives and millions of dollars,” Altenhof says.

Registration is mandatory for the free event which takes place on Monday, April 11, in the Centre for Engineering Innovation. For more information, phone 519-253-3000, ext. 2619, or e-mail

graphic: UWill DiscoverRegister today for the March 29 UWill Discover undergraduate research conference.

Conference promises to transcend borders Tuesday

The UWill Discover undergraduate research conference—Tuesday, March 29, in the CAW Student Centre’s Ambassador Auditorium—will feature a keynote panel at midday.

“We’re excited to take this non-traditional approach to a keynote presentation,” says conference chair Simon du Toit.

The panel will feature six keynote speakers offering their unique perspectives on the theme “Transcending Borders: Visions from the Windsor/Detroit Corridor.” They are:

  • UWindsor president Alan Wildeman;
  • William Anderson, director of the Cross Border Institute;
  • professor Michael Darroch of the School of Creative Arts;
  • Russell Nahdee, director of the Aboriginal Education Centre;
  • Jaydee Tarpeh, president of the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance; and
  • Jerry Herron, dean of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College at Wayne State University.

Research presentations by students in a variety of disciplines make up the bulk of the day’s program.

Attendance is free and open to the public. To register, visit A random draw will select one registered audience member to receive a $50 prize.

Lancer athletes piling onto balloons.Lancer athletes strategize in a team-building exercise to predict how many people they can pile on balloons without popping any.

Coaches and athletes primed to tackle hazing

Initiation rituals that involve harassment or humiliation aren’t just dangerous, they’re counter-productive, and coaches and team leaders should work to eliminate them, presenters told participants in an anti-hazing workshop Wednesday at the University of Windsor.

Almost 70 Lancer athletes, coaches and staff attended “Transforming Team Bonding to a Safe and Positive Experience,” in the Human Kinetics Building. The presentation, by UWindsor kinesiology professor emeritus Margery Holman and professor Jay Johnson of the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, described the traditions, risks and gendered nature of hazing.

“We had them engage in some alternative activities aimed at creating a positive team bonding experience for all,” says Dr. Holman. “The intention is that these team leaders will share the information with their teammates to create new traditions.”

She says that hazing rituals can be humiliating and create resentments that hinder trust and cooperation between teammates: “Besides the emotional damage, it’s just plain counter-productive, dividing rather than uniting teams.”

Holman says the message was well-received.

“The comments from the students were very positive, as were those of the coaches,” she says. “We got some good insights in their feedback. It is a topic about which most are reluctant to talk.”

Priscilla Williams displays her research on climate change and the Great Lakes.Priscilla Williams, a PhD candidate in civil and environmental engineering, displays her research on climate change and the Great Lakes in the Centre for Engineering Innovation.

Engineering students posit climate change responses

UWindsor engineering students are bracing for a wetter future created by climate change by examining and improving the design of local water systems.

More than 100 students of civil and environmental engineering gathered in the Centre for Engineering Innovation on March 22—United Nations World Water Day—to present ideas that combat growing levels of precipitation scientists say is a result of climate change.

Since 1900, the average annual precipitation has increased by roughly five percent in the U.S. and nearly two percent worldwide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Most of us agree that precipitation intensities are increasing,” said Tirupati Bolisetti, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. “An increase in rainfall has a significant effect on water management systems.”

Dr. Bolisetti said he assigned this project to his fourth year-hydrology students and graduate students taking his Climate Change Adaptation for Engineers class to prepare them for real-world situations they may encounter in their professional careers.

As temperatures rise and the air becomes warmer, more moisture evaporates from land and water into the atmosphere leading to an increase in rain and snow, which can wreak havoc on water systems, said Bolisetti.

Students were tasked with assessing and mitigating climate change impacts on storm water management in select Windsor neighbourhoods, including the University of Windsor campus. One project suggested UWindsor’s Centre for Engineering Innovation could curb the impacts of excess water by utilizing retention ponds, disconnecting downspouts and using permeable pavements.

Doctoral candidate Priscilla Williams used the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to examine watersheds and sediment and nutrient loading in Lake Erie. The SWAT model can help researchers predict long-term impacts in large basins and develop water management strategies.

“If we don’t do the research now, we can’t prepare,” Williams said. “Climate change is happening. The proof is there. We can already see the effects on Lake Erie.”

Williams said Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes and its southerly location allows the water to warm faster than the others. This coupled with nutrient-rich runoff from municipal drains and agricultural activity has resulted in severe algal blooms that pose a risk to aquatic life and human health. Williams’s research will provide information about the future of flows and nutrients, and the location of potential problem areas.

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated March 22 as World Water Day to invite people worldwide to learn more about water-related issues and take action to make a difference. For more information, visit

Marketing agency extends invitation to meet on Thursday

The University has engaged creative agency Scott Thornley + Company to enhance its strategic messaging to prospective students; representatives from STC will be on campus Thursday, March 31, to meet members of the community.

Bad weather at Toronto Island Airport led to a series of cancelled flights and the postponement of STC’s planned visit to UWindsor on March 16.

The theme for March 31 visit is “Why UWindsor? Why should prospective students and faculty choose the University of Windsor?”

STC says the marketing and promotion of the university is important to everyone on campus, and to tell the UWindsor story and to get it right, it will need input from students, faculty and staff.

On Thursday, drop by and talk to STC in the Odette Building lobby from noon to 1 p.m., the CAW Student Centre (beside the Bookstore kiosk by the front doors) from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m., and the Human Kinetics Building lobby from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

ayla Dettinger and Alan WildemanHistory student Kayla Dettinger accepts UWindsor president Alan Wildeman’s congratulations on one of two outstanding undergraduate student awards conferred during the March 21 Celebration of Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity.

Reception celebrates research, scholarship and creative activity

The accomplishments of UWindsor researchers—faculty and students—were highlighted March 21 at a celebratory reception in Ambassador Auditorium.

“I am absolutely delighted we were able to honour our colleagues who excelled in garnering recognition in the form of awards, grants and honours,” said K. W. Michael Siu, vice-president, research and innovation. “It is gratifying to see so many of our colleagues and their families and groups, community members, and collaborators come celebrate with us.”

In addition to conferring several awards, the event served to mark previous conferral of grants, patents and honours. Find a full list of honourees on the event website.

The University has identified several grand challenges to address: Healthy Great Lakes; Viable, Healthy and Safe Communities; Sustainable Industry; and Understanding Borders.

books “All True Not a Lie In It”A fictional autobiography of Daniel Boone, “All True Not a Lie In It” is discounted by the Campus Bookstore as its book of the week.

Tall tale featured as book of the week

The Campus Bookstore has selected Alix Hawley’s novel All True Not a Lie In It as its book of the week.

Winner of the 2015 First Novel Award, the book weaves a tall tale—a fictionalized first-person account of the life of American frontier folk hero Daniel Boone, a restless pioneer who felt most at home living as the adopted son of a Shawnee chief in old Kentucky.

Normally priced at $21, it will sell for only $16.80 at the Campus Bookstore through April 3.