Research Activities

Research Areas

THEME 1: BIO-SCIENCES, BIO-ENGINEERING, and BIO-PROCESSING

In this multidisciplinary engineering research theme, faculty and staff are working together to build collaborations within the College as well as with Provincial, Federal and International agencies.  Bio-products (food, feed, fiber and fuel) research initiatives have become pathways for strategic directions in Canada’s strong role within primary bioresources such as agriculture and forestry, value-addition to bioresources and processing coupled with utilization of niche technology and engineering aspects. 

This theme includes a very broad set of research topics and has synergy with topics that could be included in research areas such as energy, environment and materials and sustainable systems. 

Research Topics: 

  1. Value-added products
  2. Bio-processing
  3. Bio-fluids
  4. Nano-technology materials
  5. Tissue engineering
  6. Biodiversity of agriculture products
  7. Sustainable agricultural production
  8. Food quality and safety
  9. Functional foods by fermentation or enzymatic processes
  10. Biochemical processing
  11. Computational techniques for analyzing the bio-mechanical behaviour of soft tissue
  12. Biomedical engineering
  13. FEM simulation of bony structures
  14. Applications to MEMS & Nano devices
  15. Tribology
  16. Bio-diesel and bio-ethanol for renewable energy sources

*This list is not exclusive. 

Biomedical Engineering Research Topics:

  1. Bioinformatics
  2. Biological control processes
  3. Biomechanics
  4. Diffraction enhanced X-ray imaging
  5. Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  6. Image processing
  7. Magnetic resonance imaging
  8. Ultrasound imaging.

Faculty:
Within the College of Engineering there are 22 faculty members (plus three Professor Emeriti) who are actively involved in this theme. 

Funding:
Total amount of funding received in this area during the reporting year is $4.16 million of which $1.59 million was from NSERC.  Part of the other $2.57 million consists of combined federal, provincial government and industry funds.

 Collaborations
University: 

  1. Chemical Engineering
  2. Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering
  3. Applied Microbiology and Food Science
  4. Biochemistry
  5. Cell Biology and Anatomy
  6. Veterinary Medicine

Provincial:

  1. Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food
  2. National Water Research Institute
  3. Philom Bios
  4. Saskatchewan Chicken Industry
  5. Communities of Tomorrow (CT)
  6. CNH
  7. Elcan Forage
  8. Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF)
  9. Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission
  10. Moose Jaw Asphalt Inc.
  11. Sask Power

National and International: 

  1. University of Guelph
  2. Concordia University
  3. University of Manitoba
  4. McGill University
  5. University of Alberta
  6. University of Regina
  7. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
  8. Canadian Poultry Research Council
  9. The Department of National Defense
  10. University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India
  11. Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, India
  12. Society for Applied Microwave Electronics and Engineering Research (SAMEER), India
  13. Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation (BAIF), India

 For more details on specific research projects visit This Link

 

THEME 2: ENVIRONMENT, INFRASTRUCTURE, AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

This research theme is fairly broad in scope and overlaps to some extent with other theme areas.  However, it is characterized by a central focus on the impact of human activity upon the environment, both the natural environment and the built environment (infrastructure). The ‘Environment’ sub-theme deals primarily with the natural environment, with research focused on the impact of agricultural, forestry, industrial or municipal activity on the health of the natural environment and the development of methods for monitoring, minimizing, and remediating these impacts.  The Infrastructure sub-theme focuses on the built environment, dealing primarily with the health of the transportation and municipal systems on which society relies.

Natural Environment
Faculty:

  1. Departments of Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering
  2. Chemical Engineering
  3. Civil and Geological Engineering
  4. Mechanical Engineering
  5. Physics and Engineering Physics
  6. Division of Environmental Engineering

Research Topics:

  1. Environmental monitoring of the atmosphere
  2. Water, and land systems
  3. Methods of minimizing harmful emissions to the environment
  4. Reclamation and bioremediation of contaminated soil and water

While research topics cut across themes and departments, the common focus is on ensuring that human activity can be sustained by the natural environment.  A particular strength of the Engineering College is a large body of work targeting the environmental concerns of industries vital to Saskatchewan’s and Western Canada’s economy, including those of agriculture, forestry, mining and petroleum. 
Environmental Research Projects:

  1. Geo-space and Atmospheric Science
  2. Air quality
  3. Water
  4. Land
  5. Byproducts

Infrastructure
Infrastructure research focuses on the ‘built environment’ upon which healthy, prosperous and safe communities are built.  As the infrastructure ages, there is a particular need for the renewal of road systems, bridges, water supply facilities, and water treatment systems.  Given Saskatchewan’s unique dependence on the highway system, research that targets the management, renewal and maintenance of this system has been a particular focus of the Transportation Group within this theme area. 

Transportation Centre Research Topics:

  1. Traffic Safety Research
  2. Intelligent Transportation Systems
  3. Mechanistic Modeling of Pavements

Faculty:
Thirty four faculty members were actively involved in research related to the Environment, Infrastructure, and Sustainable Development Theme in 2007-2008, representing more than half of the faculty complement of the College of Engineering.  In addition, 150 highly qualified personnel were involved in this research, including 829 graduate students (294 of whom were Ph.D. students), 15 post-doctoral fellows, 9 visiting scholars, 30 summer students, and 8 research engineer. 
Funding:
Not including funding received by faculty from outside of the College of Engineering (i.e. faculty in the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics, and non-college faculty affiliated with the Divisions of Biomedical and Environmental Engineering), this theme area received $4,596,694 (61% of the College’s research funding) to pursue research in 2007-2008, of which $1,498,274 (33%) was from NSERC (50% of the College’s NSERC funding).
For more details on specific research projects visit
This Link

THEME 3:  ENERGY:  PRODUCTION AND PROCESSING, TRANSPORT, ELECTRICAL ENERGY AND UTILIZATION

The College of Engineering is considered as one of the leaders in Canada in Energy research.  It is truly a multidisciplinary theme since all five constituent departments are currently conducting research related to energy.  Some of the research areas are:

Bio-processing Research Topics:

  1. Densification and processing of biomass as feedstock for bioenergy and biochemicals
  2. Modeling the collection of material for an agricultural-based industry
  3. Milling feed-grade cereal grains and pulses to be used as feedstock for ethanol fermentation
  4. Development of novel micro-wave assisted drying and extraction systems for bioprocessing

 

Energy Production, Processing and Energy Transport Research Topics:

  1. Catalytic processing of natural gas and sewage gas for the removal of hydrogen sulfide
  2. Hydroprocessing of heavy and light gas oils for improving the process efficiency Conversion of glycerol, animal fat, bio-oil and crude ethanol to hydrogen, synthesis gas and high Btu gas
  3. Production of diesel-like fuel from lard, hydrodeoxygenation of canola oil to transportation fuel
  4. Sonochemical processing of heavy oil
  5. Biochar conversion to activated carbon
  6. Production of diesel fuel additives from various vegetable oils such as canola, yellow grease and jatropa oil via transesterification process
  7. Catalytic reforming of greenhouse gases, oil/gas transportation
  8. Nuclear waste disposalp
  9. Performances and hydrodynamics of gas-solid fluidized beds
  10. Bitumen slurry pipeline flow
  11. The migration and coalescence of bitumen froth waste droplets in a shear field
  12. Phase behavior analysis of bitumen-containing systems
  13. Bio-ethanol fermentation
  14. Control of souring and bio-corrosion in oil reservoirs
  15. Biological removal of H2S, fuel cell simulation research
  16. Applications of carbon nanotubes for petroleum processing

 

Faculty:
In 2007-2008, energy research involved 28 faculty members in the College of Engineering, 5 emeritus professors and 127 high quality personnel (66 graduate students (18% of the College’s graduate students), of which 24 were Ph.D. students, 26 summer students, 12 postdoctoral fellows, and 23 research engineers, research associates, and visiting scholars).

Funding:

This past year, the energy group received $3,899,298 (52% of the College’s research funding), of which $1,407,650 (36%) was from NSERC (47% of the College’s NSERC funding), to pursue research in all four topics of the theme area, including: (1) energy production (bio-energy from animal and agricultural wastes, clean coal technology, alternative energy, solar, and wind); (2) energy processing (bio-ethanol, bio-diesel, biomass conversion, bio-technology applications, and improved oil and gas processing); (3) energy transport and distribution (multi-phase flow transport systems, oil and gas transport, power grid and power reliability, and development of efficient transmission and distribution systems); and (4) energy utilization and conservation (building science, heat recovery systems, moisture control, and high-efficiency high voltage systems).
For more details on specific research projects visit This Link

THEME 4: INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES AND INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS

ME student

 

Information and communication research will have a large impact on future technological and social progress.  The advancement of integrated information systems for communication, control, decision-making, and intelligent structures involves development of new hardware, algorithms and software as well as a consideration of application domains.  Over thirty University of Saskatchewan faculty members have established niche areas of research excellence that support this field.  In particular, research clusters have been formed in:

  1. Communication over wireless, optical and wired channels
  2. Electronic materials and devices
  3. Embedded computing systems and sensory hardware
  4. Intelligent control and fault detection systems
  5. Actuation systems, fluid power, and mechatronics
  6. Structural health monitoring and damage detection
This theme focuses on the use of in-depth specialization in the fields of advanced information and communication systems, intelligent integrated mechatronic systems, and intelligent sensing within large-scale structures.
Funding:
Activities around this theme have, in the past five years, generated considerable research funding to the College with funds for the coming year from CFI grants, one NSF grant, several grants from ISIS (Innovative Sensing for Intelligent Structures), multiple NSERC strategic and operating grants as well as Canada Research Chair funding.  Additionally, the SyLMAND (Synchrotron Laboratory for Micro and Nano Devices) at the Canadian Light Source, a dedicated X-ray lithography facility for micro and nano-scale structure and device research fabrication, has been cooperatively funded. Total funding for 2007-2008 is $2.55M with $0.94M coming from NSERC.  This funding supports 77 graduate students (24 doctoral level and 51 Masters level) who play active roles in the research areas and dissemination of 69 journal, conference, and other scholarly publications.  Furthermore, the past research thrust has resulted in successful spin-off companies (Vecima Networks Inc. and Critical Telecom) and promises the creation of new ventures in the near future.  It also strongly relates and supports initiatives for the undergraduate program, notably the new Computer Engineering program and a projected mechatronics undergraduate stream. 

 

Research Topics:
Advanced materials and devices:

  1. Photoconductors for modern digital flat panel X-ray image detectors
  2. New doped and undoped Chalcogenide glasses for use in photonics such as wavelength selective filters, optical amplifiers and Bragg diffraction gratings in DWDM communications
  3. Precise fabrication of high-aspect-ratio micro and nano-scale structures using synchrotron deep X-ray lithography
  4. Tactile sensing raised display for the blind

Information and Communication Technology:

  1. Cost-effective microwave/millimetre-wave rural communication systems in the newly available 2.5/3.6 GHz frequency bands,
  2. Interference cancellation techniques to improve the capacity of multiple access
  3. systems for mobile wireless communications and cable TV
  4. A wireless network in potash mines for convergence meters, geophones and in-mine positioning system
  5. Multi-rate systems operating at different sampling rates, and transmultiplexers for the conversion to and from the time-division multiplexing (TDM) frequency-division multiplexing (FDM)
  6. Internet access through extended digital subscriber line (DSL) service, “last mile” radio service and mobile computing devices
  7. Home information networking using the power conductors for “smart” utility metering, controlling home appliances, and security devices
  8. Diversity techniques for performance improvements of wireless transmission
  9. Design and implementation of code division multiple access (CDMA) and coded orthogonal frequency division multiplex (COFDM) for cellular phones in field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs)
  10. Development of system on a chip (SOC) embedded systems, application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) development at CMC Microsystems
  11. Efficient FPGA realizations based on AND/XOR expressions
  12. MPEG2/4 digital video protocol, construction of a 3-D virtual reality model from a 2-D video sequence, and next generation 3-D stereoscopic television
  13. Signal processing and state estimation
  14. High-aspect-ratio RF-MEMS for wireless transceiver applications

Intelligent Systems:

  1. Intelligent fault detection and condition monitoring systems with emphasis on fluid power, water supply, and fuel cell systems
  2. Fluid power systems
  3. Expert systems for advanced design
  4. Intelligent control systems – fuzzy logic and neural networks
  5. Intelligent controllers for the positioning of large inertial loads to sub micron accuracy using Electro hydraulic Actuator Systems
  6. Identification and control of multi-rate systems
  7. Networked control systems
  8. Robotics control of flexible manipulators and wheeled mobile robots
  9. Robotics with emphasis on micromanipulation and biological cell manipulation
  10. Intelligent Mechatronics and Micro Electromechanical Systems (IMMS and IMEMS)
  11. Intelligent sensors and DNA chip micro technology
  12. Energy optimization in supply operations with emphasis on water supply management
  13. Hybrid techniques comprising of intelligent systems and numerical methods for power system optimization, control and protection
  14. Pattern recognition, data mining and fusion with emphasis on molecular engineering and manufacturing
  15. Electrical weight scales
  16. GIS for watershed management
  17. Structural health monitoring of bridges
  18. Vibration-based damage detection of full-scale structures

For more details on specific research projects visit This Link

 

THEME 5: MATERIALS SCIENCE AND APPLICATIONS

ME Student
Research in the area of Materials Science and Applications of the College of Engineering is interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, intensive and extensive.  It involves more than 25 faculty and researchers, 50 graduate students, 8 post-doctoral fellows and 6 research associates and engineer from all the departments of the College.  A strong collaboration exists between materials researchers in the College and the Canadian Light Source (CLS), the Saskatchewan Structural Sciences Centre (SSSC), several colleges and departments within the University (e.g., Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Chemistry and Biochemistry) and other educational institutions, research centres, and industrial organizations within and outside Canada. 

The focus of materials research in the College is on synthesis, modeling, characterization, performance evaluation and application of materials.  This encompasses both fundamental and applied research on a variety of material systems including: 

  1. Structural and multifunctional
  2. Advanced
  3. Plasma-derived
  4. Electronic and photonic
  5. Functional organic and hybrid
  6. Catalytic
  7. Bio-derived
  8. Bio-inspired

The research activities are aimed at addressing national needs in terms of providing technological solutions to industries and governments, and training highly skilled graduates. 

Materials Research Topics:

  1. Plasma Physics Research
  2. Electronic Materials Research
  3. Materials Performance Research 
  4. Synchrotron Radiation and Surface Science Research
  5. Composite and Computational Materials Research

Funding:
Materials researchers in the College are recognized nationally and internationally as experts in their research areas and have attracted several million dollars in research funding from NSERC, CFI and industries. In the 2007-2008 year, more than $2.5 million was received.

For more details on specific research projects visit This Link