News and Events

Jun 2nd, 2020

Dr. Ofelia Jianu’s  working in lab

From cost-effective, electric vehicles with superior torque density and performance to energy-absorbing devices that can save lives in automotive crashes or bomb explosions, more than $3.2 million in federal funding will advance University of Windsor research at the forefront of Canadian engineering innovation.

Seventeen researchers in the university’s Faculty of Engineering received funding through the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s five-year term Discovery Grants and the Research Tools and Instruments Grant program.

Dr. Bill Altenhof, who specializes in mechanical and materials engineering, is developing high performing adaptive structural energy absorbing devices that can adjust force and displacement response as needed. These responsive materials have the potential to mitigate serious injuries or death as a result of falls, automotive crashes, pedestrian impacts, blasts or bomb explosions.

May 20th, 2020

MEng student Varun Kumar Yacham and Rebecca Burkoski

Each year a graduating student from the International Student Centre and the LEAD volunteer program are selected to receive the Alumni Spirit Award, sponsored by Alumni Affairs and Donor Communications, recognizing their dedication to their volunteer roles at the university. This year’s recipients are Varun Kumar Yacham and Rebecca Burkoski.

During his time with the International Student Centre, Yacham, an MEng student, demonstrated leadership and dedication to supporting the transition of international students to the University, to student life and to Canadian culture. He has been very much connected to International students through student clubs and in his role as assistant co-ordinator of Volunteer International Students Assistance (VISA). He is also past vice-president events for the Indian Student Association and was the international liaison for UWindsor Relay for Life.

May 14th, 2020

Rajeev Ruparathna From energy use to construction waste, there is a lot to consider when designing a building.

How effectively can the materials regulate temperature fluctuations and what’s their effect on the people utilizing the facility? Can the building withstand extreme weather? A University of Windsor engineering professor is examining how masonry construction adds up.

Funded by Mitacs in partnership with Masonry Works, Rajeev Ruparathna is leading a three-year project that will investigate the resiliency, economic feasibility, and social and environmental impacts of masonry construction.

“The aim is to develop much-needed knowledge on the life-cycle performance of masonry construction in Canada,” Dr. Ruparathna says.

To holistically address environmental issues associated with the building environment, the civil engineering professor says it’s essential to consider all phases of a building’s life cycle.

May 13th, 2020

Lincoln Laser Solutions laser cladding process

A team of engineering students has saved a local manufacturer thousands of dollars by suggesting improvements to shop floor production processes.

As part of their coursework, PhD candidates Maryam Shafiei Alavijeh, Danilo Stocco, Victor Eghujovbo and master’s candidates Alireza Pasha and Zahra Nazemi partnered with Lincoln Laser Solutions, a Windsor-based company that specializes in laser cladding and additive manufacturing, and found improvements that could save the company $30,800 annually.

“Part of the course requirement is for the students to complete a hands-on project where they must apply process improvement methods and tools learned in the class,” says professor Asif Khan, who teaches the class Lean Manufacturing and Process Improvement. “The focus of this group-based project is to study a process, identify waste and loss, find the root cause, and propose countermeasures to attack the loss.”

May 8th, 2020

Bogdan Gramisteanu holding face shield

Helping the Vistaprint plant in Lakeshore increase its production of face shields to send to front-line workers fighting COVID-19 was an “amazing” experience for a third-year electrical engineering student serving a co-op term with the company.

Bogdan Gramisteanu designed a layout for the shields that optimized the number that could be cut at once, which helped the plant produce 100,000 shields a week, says manager Diane Labute.

“Within hours he had re-programmed the equipment to produce the product,” she says. “It is refreshing to see an aspiring engineering student with an insatiable desire to learn and solve problems.”

Drawing on a design already in use by local hospitals, the shields have a fully adjustable band. The Vistaprint team made multiple changes in response to client suggestions, Gramisteanu says: “It felt great when we got the feedback from the hospital that they really liked the design and got the initial order of face shields.”

May 7th, 2020

Thirty-eight UWindsor faculty have been awarded more than $6.5 million in federal funding to advance research and innovation in science and engineering.

This funding, awarded through the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Discovery Grant and Research Tools and Instruments Grant programs, supports a broad range of topics, including large lake ecosystems, electric vehicle drive systems, big data and supercomputing, air pollution, and clean energy.

UWindsor exceeded the national success rate for the 2020 Discovery Grant competition with more than 63% of all applications receiving funding. In addition, all Discovery Grants awarded this year are for a five-year term.

Fourteen of the successful grant applications, submitted by early career researchers in the first five years of their academic appointment, each received a “launch supplement” of $12,500 in addition to their Discovery Grant.

May 6th, 2020

UWindsor chemist Simon Rondeau-Gagné hits play and what follows looks like a magic trick

UWindsor chemist Simon Rondeau-Gagné hits play and what follows looks like a magic trick.

A video shows Master’s student Julia Pignanelli manipulating a rectangle of jelly-like material in her fingers, stretching it to eight times its normal length before letting it revert to its original form. She then puts it down and slices it in two with a utility knife. She positions the two pieces so they touch and, voilà, the material is whole again.

It’s no optical illusion or sleight of hand, Dr. Rondeau-Gagné assures: “It’s chemistry.”

The self-healing elastomer is the latest technology developed by Pignanelli, Rondeau-Gagné and engineering professor Jalal Ahamed. They recently obtained a provisional patent on the invention.

It’s similar to the silicone-based material used in contact lenses, but with special properties. It not only heals itself, but once cut, the material at the location of the damage is stronger than it was originally. The healing at first took 24 hours, but through further experimentation, the team has cut that time down to just two hours.

May 5th, 2020

Eunsik Kim, an engineering professor posing

A UWindsor researcher is applying game elements to life in social isolation as a way of combating COVID-19.

Eunsik Kim, an engineering professor who specializes in gamification, is looking into ways of offering virtual rewards for things like social distancing, self-isolation, fitness, or even handwashing during the pandemic.

“We will use game elements in a non-game context to encourage people to maintain healthy practices, not just for entertainment, but to educate people,” Dr. Kim said.

“In addition, by connecting with others through gamification the loneliness epidemic associated with social distancing, quarantine, and isolation can be allayed.”

Gamification is the application of typical elements of game-playing — competition, scoring, and rules of play — to encourage participation. Gamification encourages participants to engage in desired behaviours by capitalizing on the human psychological predisposition to engage in gaming.

Apr 14th, 2020

Face Shields

A local manufacturer has teamed with a group of researchers at UWindsor’s Faculty of Engineering to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

Valiant TMS is assisting Dr. Jill Urbanic’s research team with the production of brackets for 3D-printed face shields. The global company headquartered in Windsor has provided material, testing, building and assembly support. 

“We have no specific production targets. We are trying to meet requests and there have been several from a wide variety of front-line personnel,” Dr. Urbanic says. “This need is what is driving us forward.”

So far, shields have been delivered locally to three nursing departments at Windsor Regional Hospital, two nursing homes and an x-ray clinic and up Highway 401 to the intensive care unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital and St. Joseph's Family Medical and Dental Centre in Toronto. 

The shields are designed to be lightweight and adjustable in size. Urbanic says the designs have been optimized to leverage the most effective manufacturing processes. 

“The top cover and retainer can be laser cut or water jet cut. The materials should allow for reuse. We would like to pursue molding the flexi-band with local mold shops, if they are interested.” 

Apr 14th, 2020

Dr. Mehrdad Saif posing in front of CEI

As I sit isolated in my home office running the business of the Faculty remotely, I would like to reflect on the events of the past few weeks and what lies ahead. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally touched all facets of daily lives. The world’s experience with COVID-19 is new and unprecedented in every way. The pandemic is rapidly evolving; there is a great deal of uncertainties associated with it and all around the globe, the response has been to pivot quickly and face a new set of challenges on a daily basis. 

I must say, I am so proud of UWindsor and the Faculty of Engineering community, which — in the face of monumental adversity and daunting challenges — have come together and stepped up to the plate! I am impressed and thankful to our students who have endured this rapidly changing set of circumstances with maturity, poise and calmness. This calamity has shown me how collaborative, resilient and compassionate the UWindsor community really is and that makes me proud to be a member of this tight-knit community.

Engineers are problem solvers and societal challenges provide them with opportunities to innovate and respond to people’s needs. A number of our Faculty and students have been working (and in certain cases with industrial partners), to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) or portable ventilators to our community health care workers or hospitals and I thank them for their efforts.