Abu Dhabi vision 2030 sets very ambitious goals towards a more healthy and diversified economy. Although the vision does not name design explicitly as one of the major focus areas, nevertheless, design and manufacturing are the realizing tools for these major activities.
Design is the basic translation block of any innovation and manufacturing is the realizing arm.This is why study plans at Khalifa University focus on the design content within the different study modules. This will prepare and qualify the highly needed design engineers for the demanding job market.
Research Thrust areas
There are a number of research activities in the area of design taking place at Khalifa University. The major thrust areas of design at the University are:
- Tribological Optimization of Machine Components: Tribological machine components, as bearings and piston rings, should be characterized by low friction, high load capacity, minimal wear, as well as a good dynamic behavior. Recent technological developments of relevance to Tribology applications enable the manufacturing of micro-asperities on surfaces, as well as the use of hydrophobic surfaces and electro-rheological fluids. Our research explores the potential of improving the performance of tribological components by a proper implementation of these technological advancements.
- Design for X: The design process is driven by a number of requirements and constraints. In developing countries, designers are faced with extra constraints, such as the availability of components in the local market. The availability is not limited to procurement of part from local markets. It is extended to having parts within an acceptable quality. Developing world markets are flooded with a spectrum of varying quality products at different price ranges. Hence, it becomes the designer’s duty to identify the proper components that meet the functional requirements of the system. This research area covers the system/product development process, which is an extensive process, taking into account the reality of the local developing world markets. Our research attempts to identify the best methodology to incorporate design for availability and cost in the design process.
- Optimized Design for Performance: Machine designs with certain objective function(s) such as maximum stiffness, minimum energy consumption, or other relevant criteria are adopted. A number of machines are designed at Khalifa University, and they are in the process of being fabricated, taking different objective functions into account.
Tribological Optimization of Machine Components
Tribological machine components, as bearings and piston rings, should be characterized by low friction, high load capacity, minimal wear, as well as a good dynamic behavior. Recent technological developments of relevance to Tribology applications enable the manufacturing of micro-asperities on surfaces, as well as the use of hydrophobic surfaces and electro-rheological fluids. The potential of improving the performance of tribological components by a proper implementation of these technological advancements has not yet been quantified.
Research currently underway at the Department of Mechanical Engineering aims at an optimal design of tribological machine components, utilizing the new technologies. To this end, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) tools are coupled with Optimization tools based on evolutionary algorithms. Results for bearing components indicate a substantial improvement in the performance of optimized components in terms of load carrying capacity and friction losses..
Five Degrees-of-Freedom Hybrid Serial-Parallel Kinematics Machine Tool
Hybrid serial-parallel link manipulators combine the advantages and eliminate disadvantages of their ancestors, the pure parallel or serial kinematics manipulators. Hybrid systems enable the user to tailor the machine and/or performance according to the required application. This will result in having modular units that could be arranged in different configurations to produce certain number and types of degrees of freedom and/or certain characteristics such as stiffness or range of motion. The focus of this research is a particular type of hybrid serial-parallel machine. This machine consists of two planar three degrees-of-freedom manipulators assembled together in a special configuration. The aim of the project is to characterize the impact of having two serially connected parallel link manipulators on the static and dynamic behavior. Additionally, that measured performance will be compared with theoretical model results. Therefore, the first phase of this project is to design and prototype a five axis serial-parallel kinematics machine, which is comprised of two serially connected 3 -Prismatic- Revolute-Revolute (3PRR) manipulators. This will be followed by static stiffness measurement which is compared with the theoretical values. This project is manufacturing based, and focuses on machine tool design and machining.