Division of Engineering


Monday, February 1st 2016

SMU students bring home 2nd place finish at AEC!!

This past weekend the 2016 Atlantic Engineering Competition was held at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. This year over 200 engineering students from across the Atlantic Provinces were in attendance, testing their engineering prowess against one another in seven different competitions, including: reengineering, senior team design, junior team design, innovative design, consulting engineering, engineering communications, and debate.

Once again, SMU Engineering had a strong showing. Students Josh Armsworthy, Annika Benson, Jenny Huynh, and Nicholas Naugle brought home a 2nd place finish in the Junior Team Design competition! Congratulations! In the competition, the team was tasked with creating a prototype Mars rover using salvaged materials after a rough landing on the Red Planet. In testing, the prototype rover had a limited amount of time to navigate a variable-terrain obstacle course while carrying a sizeable payload to the target destination. In addition to designing, building, and testing their prototype, the team also had to prepare a presentation showcasing their design—all within the competition’s five hour time limit.

Congratulations again to Josh, Annika, Jenny, and Nicholas, who now move on to compete at the national level in the Canadian Engineering Competition. Good luck team!!

August, 2015

CTV News & Construction Kids Summer Camp

Over the month of August, Saint Mary's Engineering hosted participants in the Discovery Centre's Construction Kids Summer Camp. Campers were able to spend some time in our Engineering Computer Lab designing 3D models, which were then translated into physical form using one of our MakerBot 3D printers. CTV News stopped by one morning to capture a taste of the action. Check out the video here:


In addition to 3D computer modeling and printing, campers also got a chance to get up close and personal with some of the VEX robots built by our second-year Engineering Design students.

Calling all future Construction Kids Campers: we're looking forward to seeing you next summer!!

Think you or someone you know might be interested in attending the Construction Kids Summer Camp? Keep an eye on the Discovery Centre's Camps & Clubs webpage: http://thediscoverycentre.ca/visit/camps

Saturday, March 14th 2015

Design Expo & Engineering Banquet

This year’s Design Expo and Engineering Banquet was a huge success. In addition to the traditional robot competition, 2nd year engineering design students also had the option of choosing a discipline-specific design project that interested them. From microprocessor-controlled 3D LED arrays to in-house 3D printed and assembled water turbines, there was plenty for attendees to explore. As always, attendance was great with engineering students of all ages, family, and community members taking in the action.

Later that evening, with a toast to the success of all those who participated in the day’s Expo, the Engineering Banquet got underway. The attendees looked great, with the ladies definitely outdoing the gentlemen this year. The three-course meal was excellent, conversion flowed freely, and those brave enough to venture onto the dance floor tried to keep up with the band.

A huge thank-you to the members of the Engineering Society who did an excellent job organizing this year’s Engineering Week activities.

Thursday, March 12th 2015

Students vs. Professors Basketball Game

Last night it was the students’ turn to school the professors. In an event organized by the Saint Mary’s Engineering Society, students and professors battled it out on the court from 6 to 8 pm at the Homburg Centre. The competition was fierce! Jump shots, stuffs, collisions, and the Director from outside the arc for 3! While neither side was willing to admit defeat after two hours, everyone agreed that a cold beer and wings at the Gorsebrook Pub had been earned, where minor injuries were nursed, and laughs were shared.

Monday, January 19th 2015

SMU Engineering Records Two 2nd Place Finishes at the 2015 Atlantic Engineering Competition!

The 31st Atlantic Engineering Competition (AEC) was held this past weekend at Dalhousie University. Saint Mary’s sent 14 students split into four teams: one team competed in the Re-engineering Competition, two teams competed in the Junior Design Competition, and one team competed in the Consulting Engineering Competition.

In the Re-engineering Competition, teams had to re-engineer an existing device to enhance its current functionality and/or add new functionality with the aim of making the device useful in a new or alternative way. This year, teams were asked to perform two tasks: modify a fishing rod to include a system that can keep the lure a fixed distance from the bottom, and modify a household fan to power two onboard coolers. Each team presented their work to a panel of judges, who evaluated the designs’ practicality, originality, feasibility, and marketability.

In the Junior Design Competition, teams had to design a solution to an engineering problem in just four hours. But that’s not all—within that time limit, the teams also had to produce a working prototype of their design using a limited variety of in-house materials. This year, teams were challenged with designing a water-wheel powered system to perform mechanical lifting work.

In the Consulting Engineering Competition, teams were asked to create an innovative solution to a real-world problem specified by a hypothetical client. This year, teams were required to design a system to treat excess sewage & wastewater in Halifax during intermittent periods when supply exceeds the current treatment system’s capacity. In addition to designing a technically feasible solution, each team was also required to assess the social and environmental impacts of their solution.

Our Saint Mary’s teams did exceptionally well this year. One of the Junior Design teams placed 2nd in their competition, and the Consulting team—competing against 3rd and 4th year students—also placed 2nd! Congratulations!! These two teams now advance to the national Canadian Engineering Competition (http://2015cec.ca), hosted at Memorial University in Newfoundland this March.

December 18th, 2014

Engineering Running Club Crushes 200 km Fall Semester Goal, Aims for 400 km this Winter!

The Engineering Running Club ended their Fall 2014 season today with a cumulative total of 231 km run, easily surpassing their 200 km goal. The team started in September with fresh legs, sun on their backs, and a warm sea breeze in their nostrils as they made their biweekly loop out to the end of Point Pleasant Park and back. Although now running in darkness and the occasional snow flurry, the team's spirits are high. So high in fact that they’ve doubled their goal for the winter semester! Who wants to come out and help crush the 400 km goal? Every km helps, and anyone is welcome to join, regardless of ability. Besides staying active, participating is a great way to connect with present and former SMU engineering students. If you’re interested in running with the group in January contact Dr. Sam: sam.veres@smu.ca

November 15th, 2014

Robot Competition for Design II Students

As part of their Design II course, teams of second-year undergraduate students battled head-to-head using remote controlled robots that they had designed and built. Each team was given an identical kit containing a fixed number of components, including: motors, gears, wheels, structural members, and connectors. Their goal: using their robot, move as many competition blocks as possible to the correct home compartment within the allotted time. Competition was fierce! Congratulations to all teams, who provided spectators with a truly action-packed afternoon.

July 16th, 2014

Dr. Veres Awarded $110,595 to Study Mechanical Contributions to the Development of Chronic Low Back Pain

Dr. Sam Veres has been awarded a three-year grant totalling $110,595 from the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation to study chronic low back pain. “Chronic low back pain is a major problem in Nova Scotia, and many, many studies show that mechanical factors play a role in it’s development.” says Dr. Veres. “Yet, we still haven’t been able to define what physical damage to the spine’s structural components starts the chain of events that ends with chronic pain.” Work under Dr. Veres new grant will focus on examining how excessive mechanical stress effects the nanostructure of spinal ligaments. “Spinal ligaments are the first structures to be damaged when the spine undergoes excessive bending deformations. It seems likely that the cascade of events that cause chronic low back pain in many cases might start here.” Congratulations Dr. Veres!

July 1st, 2014

Engineering Welcomes Dr. Jason Rhinelander!

The Division of Engineering would like to extend a warm welcome to new faculty member Jason Rhinelander. Dr. Rhinelander, who completed his doctoral degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering at Carleton University, is an expert in the field of machine learning and optimization theory. “We live in a digital age.” says Dr. Rhinelander. “Efficient interpretation and analysis of digital information is critical to the success of businesses in every industry. Consequently, the real-world applications of my research are diverse in scope, having uses in control theory, game theory, system analysis, supply-chain management, project resource planning, and pattern recognition… just to name a few.”

Dr. Rhinelander also brings with him a passion for, and impressive record in, undergraduate teaching. “I get the most satisfaction when I inspire students to explore and extend their knowledge beyond the lecture notes, beyond the examples, and beyond the tutorials.” says Dr. Rhinelander. “It’s my goal to inspire each student to reach their potential while also helping to give guidance using my own experiences within industry and as a university professor.”

We’re very excited to have Jason join our team at Saint Mary’s. Welcome Dr. Rhinelander!

April 2nd, 2014

Dr. Veres Awarded $125,000 to Study the Origins of Toughness in Collagen Biomaterials

Dr. Sam Veres has received a five-year Discovery Grant of $125,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. With the funding received, Dr. Veres and his research group will work toward understanding the fundamental structural features that make biological tissues tough. “Toughness”, says Dr. Veres, “describes the among of mechanical energy that a material can withstand before rupturing. It’s a highly desirable material property—especially for biological tissues. Because of the severe consequences of tissue rupture, millions of years of evolutionary pressure have given us remarkably tough tissues. Yet, we don’t really understand how tissues absorb energy without rupturing.” Dr. Veres foresees potential applications of his research ranging from improving selection criteria for surgical allografts to creating new, mechanically robust biomaterial constructs for use in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Congratulations Dr. Veres!

January 31st, 2014

Dr. Veres Awarded $383,948 to Study the Response of White Blood Cells to Mechanically Damaged Tendons

Dr. Sam Veres and a team of collaborators has been awarded a four-year grant totalling $383,948 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Working with Drs. Kathy Gough (Manitoba), Laurent Kreplak (Dalhousie), and Michael Lee (Dalhousie), Dr. Veres will study how cells respond to mechanically damaged tendons. “When you sustain a soft tissue injury like a sprained ankle”, says Dr. Veres, “the cells within your body have to repair the damaged tissue. Before they conduct the repair, though, they first need to identify the tissue that’s been damaged. Currently, we don’t know how cells distinguish damaged tissue from normal, undamaged tissue, which is what we hope to discover in this work.” Dr. Veres hopes that the work will eventually lead to new therapies that can accelerate healing in a variety of different tissues. Congratulations Dr. Veres!

October 3rd, 2013

Engineering Bids Farewell to Dr. Vlodek Tarnawski

On Friday, October 3rd, the faculty from the Division of Engineering bid farewell to one of their own: Dr. Vlodek Tarnawski, who came to Saint Mary’s 30 years ago and has been a mainstay in the Division until his retirement this year. Dr. Tarnawski rose to the rank of Associate Professor carrying out research primarily in the field of thermodynamics, and most recently on subsurface heat sinks and the heat transfer of different soil structures.

Despite his love for research, his true passion lay in teaching, instilling the 3 Ps into his students: Passion, Pride, and Persistence. He taught not only thermodynamics but also developed the courses in Engineering Design, especially the Robot Competition, for which he will especially be remembered. He bridged his research and teaching by taking in undergraduate students for work in his laboratory and exposing them to research beyond the theory in the classroom.

From the left: Dr. Swingler, Mr. MacNeil, Dr. Merabet, Dr. Tarnawski, Dr. Veres.

March 21st, 2013

LCSM Participates in Saint Mary’s Research EXPO-2013

‌Dr. Merabet’s Laboratory of Control Systems and Mechatronics (LCSM) participated in Saint Mary’s Research EXPO-2013. Dr. Merabet and his graduate research group highlighted their ongoing research, laboratory facilities, recent publications, and success stories. Vignesh described his work on wind-diesel hybrid energy systems, while Aminul demonstrated his methodologies in developing solar-wind hybrid energy systems. Recently LCSM received a real-time embedded controller from the National Instruments for advancement of their research. During the expo, they exhibited the new ‘NI-cRIO system’ along with the servo motor and a power electronic interface that their lab has developed. Dr. Merabet is expecting to get more advance equipment for further research in wind energy and control systems. The LCSM research team works in collaboration with Wind Energy Techno-Centre, Royal Military College, Dalhousie University, and Quanser Inc.

Dr. Merabet with Master's students Aminul Islam (left) and Vignesh Rajasekaran (right).

October 17th, 2012

Dr. Merabet Awarded $173,226 for Wind Energy Research!

Dr. Adel Merabet has been awarded $173,226 from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation Leaders Opportunity Fund to advance his group’s research on wind energy control systems. The funding will allow his group to purchase new, state-of-the-art lab equipment. Through experiments with this infrastructure, Dr. Merabet and his student researchers will develop high performance control systems capable of drawing the most power possible from wind energy. The technology developed within Dr. Merabet’s research laboratory is also transferable to other renewable energy sources such as solar and tidal energy. “Renewable energy is a critical source of energy,” says Dr. Merabet. “Extracting the maximum possible power at all wind speed levels is of utmost importance. Only then can we have efficient use of equipment and available energy sources.” Congratulations Dr. Merabet! 

 June 1st, 2012

Dr. Merabet Awarded $22,279 for New Wind Turbine!

Dr. Adel Merabet has been awarded an Engage Grant of $22,279 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to improve a laboratory-scale experimental wind turbine for education and research in renewable energy. In this project, a power electronic interface will be designed and integrated into the wind turbine in order to allow the implementation of control strategies for operation at all wind speed regimes. The upgraded wind turbine will be an open-architecture system, suitable for real-time multivariable control, design, and implementation, facilitating research & development in wind energy. The project will be in collaboration with Quanser Inc., the manufacturer of the experimental wind turbine. Congratulations Dr. Merabet!