Position Type: NSERC USRA

Position Title: Research Assistant/summer researcher

Location:  BRG 4th Floor

Professor: Siu Ning (Sunny) Leung

Department: Mechanical Engineering

Contact for Professor (Email, phone): leungsun@yorku.ca

# of positions available: 1

Project Description:

This research project will focus on the design and fabrication of a new family of triboelectric nanogenerator to harvest mechanical energy and convert it into electricity. Triboelectrification is a commonly observed effect in our daily life and is usually viewed as a negative effect (e.g., electrostatic shock). Recently, great attention has been devoted to taking advantage of the charge transfer during periodic contact and separation as well as rubbing of a pair of triboelectric friction materials. The objective is to use this natural phenomenon to generate electricity. Recent research revealed that an energy conversion efficiency of ~50-85% can be achieved.

In this research, various micro-and-nanostructuring techniques will be investigated on a set of triboelectric materials to elucidate the structure-to-property relationship of the materials. Prototypes of triboelectric nanogenerators will be designed and developed to demonstrate the potentials of using these materials to harvest all kinds of mechanical energy that is available in our daily life, such as human motion, walking, vibration, mechanical triggering, rotation energy, wind, a moving vehicle, rain drops, …etc.

Students participating in this project will gain hands-on experience in a wide range of state-of-the-art and industrial viable material processing and characterization technologies. These include compounding, molding, supercritical CO2 foaming, differential scanning calorimetry, scanning electronic microscopy, analyzers for electrical properties…etc.

Duties and Responsibilities of the student:

1.      Conduct literature survey to identify recent progress in the specific research areas;

2.      Design and implement new experimental apparatus for material processing and/or characterization;

3.      Preparation of new multifunctional material sample for testing;

4.      Characterize multifunctional properties of fabricated specimens;

5.      Analyze and interpret experimental data and potentially develop new hypotheses;

6.      Assist in preparation of one conference or journal paper.

Skills and Qualifications:

(Technical Skills)

  • Knowledge and hands-on experience in SolidWorks;
  • Basic knowledge in electric circuit;
  • Good technical writing skills

(Interpersonal Skills)

  • Positive attitude and highly motivated;
  • Self-initiative;
  • Desire to be both a leader and a team member;
  • Willingness to learn new technology


  • Experience in computer graphics;
  • Experience in 3D printing and machining
  • Knowledge and experience in 3D printing are assets

Degrees, courses and Disciplines prerequisite*:  2nd Year or above engineering students

Stipend: TBD

Are you willing to host external students? Yes*

Duration: 16 weeks minimum

Start Date: 05/01/2018 (estimated)

End Date: 08/31/2018 (estimated)

If you are interested in this research project, please contact  Siu Ning (Sunny) Leung at  leungsun@yorku.ca.