The following are some of our research highlights.
Additive Manufacturing: 3DP-enabled Medical Technologies
The department will be involved in project/s at the following centre:
NUS 3DP-Enabled Centre for Biomedical and Healthcare Technologies
The 3DP Centre @ NUS (established on the university-level) will work closely with clinicians, bringing the clinicians and additive manufacturing (AM) engineers and scientists together in a collaborative effort. Proof-of-concept and Proof-of-value projects not only develop new applications and solutions for the local Medtech industries, they also serve to bring awareness of this technology to our local clinicians as well as stimulate 3DP-enabled medical technology start-ups and spin-offs in future. The missions are to develop core technical competencies and key manpower in 3DP or AM using expert value-chain capabilities to advance the local biomedical/healthcare Industry and hospitals in Singapore. This unique multi-disciplinary 3DP technology centre spans over disciplines such as engineering, material science, industry design, medicine, and dentistry, providing an ideal platform for engineers, scientists, designers, clinicians, surgeons and dentists to work together.
Singapore RIE2020 plan identified Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering as a priority area. ME department is fronting the ‘NUS Future of Manufacturing Initiative’ for the Faculty of Engineering. Core themes of this initiative include:
- ICT advances for manufacturing,
- robotics and industrialization of manufacturing processes,
- Additive manufacturing/3D Printing, and
- advances in materials and materials systems ICT.
The initiative has ~ 50 faculty members drawn primarily from ME department and other departments from FOE and Schools and Faculties of NUS. The Department has established a strong partnership with SIMTech, A*Star. Specific goals of this effort are:
- to establish local competence in future manufacturing skills, and
- to innovate manufacturing suitable for coordination and running of regional manufacturing and mass customization of products.
The AM focus at ME are centred around the process and material developments for future/digital manufacturing with design-centric innovations incl. design for AM, light weight structure for AM, process optimisation and simulation for AM, functional printing for industry applications, biomedical translational research, etc.
Computational Fluid Dynamics
- Fluid Mechanics plays an extremely crucial role in a wide variety of commercial and military applications, and in our everyday lives.
- The governing equations in Fluid Mechanics are typically non-linear, time and history dependent.
- Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD): the sub-branch of Fluid Mechanics which employs numerical tools for solving fluid flow problems
- The NUS Mechanical Engineering (ME) Department has built up a critical mass, with
- sustainable research funding
- international visibility
- industry-based research and outcomes
Our research objectives include:-
- Development of novel and efficient numerical methods and algorithms to solve a wide variety of fluid flow problems;
- Application of CFD for fundamental research;
- Application of CFD for a diverse range of applied commercial and defense-related research involving fluid flow processes, especially in the Singapore context.
Computational Mechanics is the application of modelling and simulation for understanding and predicting complexing physical behaviours in engineering and science. The research focuses on areas that involve and enrich the application of mechanics, including solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, fluid structural interaction, multiphase flow, material science, mathematics and numerical methods. It covers new methods and computationally-challenging technologies. For example, the governing equations in Fluid Mechanics are typically non-linear, time and history dependent, and sometimes display stochastic behaviour from a deterministic setting. The Department has built up a critical mass, with sustainable research funding, international visibility, industry-based research and outcomes. Our effort has been targeted at the following areas:
- Development of novel and efficient numerical methods and algorithms such as the particle and mesh free methods to solve a wide variety of fluid flow problems for understanding complex non Newtonian fluid behaviours or multiphase fluid flow.
- Development of new insights in physical flow processes, such as the functioning of pulse detonating engines and the additive manufacturing of fibre reinforced prototypes.
- Development of modelling and simulation tools for the design of composites and also a better understanding of their failure mechanisms, in particular hybrid composites and metamaterials.
- Development of modelling and simulation tools for sound and vibration, in particular the development of solutions for the mitigation of traffic, construction and aircraft fly past noise.
Development of modelling and simulation tools for a better understanding of plastic deformation processes and high strain rate deformation for blast mitigation.
Energy efficient thermal and storage system
Improved energy efficiency not only lead to cost savings, it helps control global emissions of greenhouse gases. Over the years, the department has extended the fundamentals related to thermal and energy sciences to build up strengths in energy efficiency of thermal systems and energy storage systems. Examples of key efforts include:
- Development of thermal performance criteria of building envelopes and engineering tools to support the design of energy efficient air-conditioned non-residential and residential buildings. An example is the highly energy-efficient hybrid air conditioning technology for all weather conditions by first dehumidifying the intake moist air using novel membranes followed by conducting sensible cooling of the dehumidified air by multiple-pass of indirect evaporative cooling (IEC).
- Enhancement of energy efficiency of electronic devices (including emerging devices using 2D materials), both passively by reducing the thermal resistance of interfaces and actively by spot cooling of active regions using CMOS-compatible thermoelectric materials.
- Development of commercial (18650 format) type non-flammable sodium-ion battery using organic electrolyte with energy density close to 60Wh/kg at industry standards (TRL 4).
- Development of an advanced internal combustion engine platform which is able to accurately simulate the air flow, spray development, combustion and emissions formation in the engine. In addition, a multi-cylinder engine test bed with built-in-house data acquisition and control system has been built in our lab which allows us to investigate the performance of the engine under various operating conditions.
- Development of various novel fin structures for enhancing the efficiency of heat sinks, cold plates and heat exchangers which find applications in green data centre cooling, low energy buildings and low grade waste heat recovery.
Robotic research focuses on the design and development of intelligent robot systems which can be deployed in different environments to replace or assist humans in monotonous tasks or in dangerous environments. In recent years, robotic research also focuses on the construction of human friendly robots, especially for home and service industries. With advancement in technologies, the robotic systems will be able to perceive the environments and act on a given task with capability on par or better than that of humans. A robot may also have the ability to move around in a given environment. Robotic systems may range from industrial robots, humanoid robots, mobile robots, biomimetic robots, flying robot, unmanned vehicles, etc. There are also wearable robotic system such as exoskeleton or assistive device which can be used for rehabilitation and enhancement of humans stamina and strength. In general, robotic systems can be applied to improve productivity, security and also to assist humans in challenging tasks.