Sustainable Manufacturing and Life Cycle Engineering Research Group @ UNSW  
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Postgraduate and Undergraduate Projects

PhD Projects | Masters Projects | Undergraduate Projects | Prospective Students


PhD Projects

Ongoing projects | Previous projects

Ongoing Projects

1.A decision support tool for integrating renewable energy into factories

Renewable energy, such as wind and solar, has received great deal of attention because of the high environmental impacts of fossil fuels and their high price. Industry sectors have a considerably a high share on energy consumption. However, the availability of the renewable energies is influenced by different factors, such as local weather condition. This research aims to create a decision support tool for integrating the renewable energy into factories so that ensures low unit energy cost and environment footprint.

Contact: Dejian Wang
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara

2.Absolute sustainability and product design

Contact: Sepideh Moshrefi
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara

3.Design of Cellular Structures and Resource Efficiency

Decreasing the utilisation of material, energy and manufacturing time while optimising the strength of manufactured parts are increasingly important goals that need to be met in order to achieve greater manufacturing process efficiency. This research aims to achieve the aforementioned goals through the utilisation of lattice structures, biomimetic attempts to replicate naturally occurring structures. Research will be conducted to create a methodology that aids in the selection and optimisation of ideal lattice structures for a given use, based on functional requirements. .

Contact: Mark Helou
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara

4.Develop a big data based generic methodology to address challenges of manufacturing big data in order to meet the requirements of Smart manufacturing

Contact: Yesheng Cui
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara


Previous Projects

|2018 | |2017 | 2016 |2015 |2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2004 | 2002 | 2000 and before


1.Conceptual design of Complex engineering systems

Design of complex engineering systems is complex because of the scale and multi-disciplinary essence of their design knowledge. Hence, this thesis proposes a modelling framework to support conceptual design of aforementioned systems. The framework should enable analyzing the alternatives by application of its models and algorithms which can significantly support decision making in conceptual design stage.

Contact: Shiva Abdoli

Supervisor: Prof S. Kara

2.Material Efficiency on Critical Engineering Materials

Focusing on a worldwide issue on meeting our booming needs of materials without posing a threat on resource supply, ecological environment and human well-being, this research aims at building a generic methodology to discover which kinds of engineering materials will become crucial and the dynamic mechanism behind this trend under the consideration on stakeholders’ options. Among this, as a key measure, material efficiency (using less of a material to make a product or supply a service), together with energy efficiency, will be assessed to support the future material needs sustainably.

Contact: Peng Wang
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara

3.Partial shipment for supply chain management

In business sectors like the pharmaceutical industry fast customer order deliveries can be crucial both for the businesses’ and the customers’ viability.  To accomplish this, finished products need to be stocked close to the customers at the expense of higher inventory holding and obsolescence costs in the distribution centres. This thesis, proposes an approach that could enable cross-docking despite rigid delivery lead time constraints is the “partial shipment strategy”. 

Contact: Georg Bienert

Supervisor: Prof S. Kara


1. Exergy Analysis and Energy Rating of Factories

Energy rating is measuring and benchmarking energy efficiency or performance which is very important to lead and devise firm’s action. It helps in gaining competitiveness and on the other hand reducing environmental impact causes by energy consumption. Due to the complexity and diversity of the manufacturing systems, there is no such method for measuring and benchmarking energy efficiency of a factory that can essentially help lead and devise action for a factory. This research intends to develop, test and validate a rating method through development of generalized model for factories. Theoretical and mathematical approaches are employed in the investigation.    

Contact: Rasel Mahamud
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Co-Supervisor: Dr. W. Li

2. Development of Environmental Value Stream Model for Assessing Sustainability in Manufacturing

In today’s globalized marketplace, increasing commodity prices and alarming rate of industrial pollutions are bringing more dimensions to the challenges Manufacturing has already been facing. Simultaneous improvement of environmental and economic dimensions for these companies require holistic system approach. An insight into identifying where and when the largest sources of waste occur within the multi-product, multi-machine manufacturing system is vital. This project aims at developing an integrated simulation and optimisation tool, for evaluation and improvement of the performance of the manufacturing companies on cost, lead time, throughput and environmental footprint. 

Contact: Samira Alvandi
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Co-Supervisor: Dr. W. Li

3. Learning and Reasoning in the Robotic Disassembly of EOL Electronics

This research applies artificial intelligence and robotics to the disassembly of end-of-life products, with the aim of increasing the flexibility of automated disassembly to different product variants, and eventually developing a robotic system feasible for the recycling and remanufacturing industry. In 2013, a dissertation was completed which demonstrated the flexibility to disassemble LCD screens without specific model information, using (semi-)destructive methods and with the aid of human demonstrations. The system learned the specific demonstrated steps relevant to each model. Current work on this project aims to implement less destructive techniques, in order that select components may be removed without damage. The feasibility of learning disassembly strategies that generalise between models is also being investigated.

Contact: Wei-Hua Chen
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Co-Supervisor: A/Prof M. Pagnucco (CSE)


1. Energy and Resource Efficiency in Manufacturing Systems

Over the past decades, the issue of energy efficiency has become a matter of concern in manufacturing system due to the increased energy costs and the associated environmental footprints. To improve the energy efficiency of the systems, it is important to forecast energy requirement of the system considering production parameters variations. In this research, a generic model is developed to simulate energy requirement of the plant considering hierarchical structure of different energy consumers. In addition, an optimization engine is introduced and integrated with simulation model in order to optimize the performance of the system from both economic and environmental perspectives. 

Contact: Smaeil Mousavi
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Co-Supervisor: A/Prof B. Kayis

2. Energy and Resource Efficiency in Manufacturing Systems

Over the past decades, the issue of energy efficiency has become a matter of concern in manufacturing system due to the increased energy costs and the associated environmental footprints. To improve the energy efficiency of the systems, it is important to forecast energy requirement of the system considering production parameters variations. In this research, a generic model is developed to simulate energy requirement of the plant considering hierarchical structure of different energy consumers. In addition, an optimization engine is introduced and integrated with simulation model in order to optimize the performance of the system from both economic and environmental perspectives. 

Contact: Smaeil Mousavi
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Co-Supervisor: A/Prof B. Kayis


1. Dynamic Optimisation of Enterprise Value Streams

Manufacturing organisations must routinely deliver efficiencies in order to compete, but their ability to realise a sustainable competitive advantage from these improvements is hampered by the lack of objective approaches for targetting their improvement efforts. In what is something of a paradox, otherwise highly structured methodologies, such as Six Sigma, give little or no guidance on project selection and instead rely on subjective approaches such as managerial experience. The result is lost opportunities; inefficient allocation of scarce resources and a sub-optimisation of the system as a whole. This research sets out to create more rigourous approaches to the problem of optimisation at a site and enterprise level.

Contact: Bernard Kornfeld
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Co-Supervisor: A/Prof B. Kayi

2. Energy Monitoring and Smart Grid Application in Manufacturing

To empower manufacturing industries by application of on-site energy generation systems, this study aims to develop comprehensive methodologies for optimal system design and its real-time operation management. Multiple integrated options in addition to fluctuating nature of energy supply and demand, would raise requirement for a dynamic optimisation which can be applied in real-time. The later should guarantee autonomous, reliable and optimal operation of the on-site energy generation systems for any manufacturing plant.

Contact: Pouya Ghadimi Karahrodi
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Co-Supervisor: Dr. S. Ibbotson (Manmek)


1. Sustainability Assessment of International Outsourcing in Manufacturing

International outsourcing has become a competitive strategy in manufacturing industries due to the issue of limited resources and associated economic benefits. Although international outsourcing seems to be a cost efficient way of production, the concerns about its impacts on the sustainability of societies are rising significantly. In order to have sustainable societies, the industrial managers need to control and quantify the static and dynamic social, economic and environmental impacts of their international outsourcing decisions. Nevertheless, there is a gap in the literature for quantifying these social, economic, and environmental impacts. Therefore, the objective of this study is to present a decision support tool for quantifying the explained impacts. In this research, the number of employees in the industries, gross value added and CO2 emissions were selected as the social, economic and environmental indicators at the macro level respectively.

Contact: SeyedHamed MoosaviRad
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara

2. Heat and Mass Transfer Simulation of a Steam Sterilisation Process in an Industrial Autoclave

Thermal processing is crucial in the pharmaceutical manufacturing and the food processing industries in ensuring that products are produced to stringent quality guidelines and regulations. At the same time, thermal processing on a commercial scale consumes an enormous amount of energy.  This research aims to develop a numerical model of the heat and mass transfer phenomena within a steam sterilisation process. The model will first be validated with experimental measurements and then used to simulate the sterilisation process with varying equipment and process parameters in order to identify opportunities for reducing energy consumption without any compromise to product quality.

Contact: Wei Liang Lau
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara, Dr V. Timchenko, John Reizes

3. Development of environmentally sustainable supply chain networks

This research aims at developing a generic simulation model based on strategic decision support system for selecting the best-fitted suppliers and the best-fitted facility locations in global supply chain networks. The system is modeled by adopting fuzzy goal programming with Pareto-optimality on the basis of multiple quantitative objectives in order to simultaneously minimize overall cost, lead time, and environmental impact under stochastic and fuzzy situations.

Contact: Kanda Boonsothonsatit
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Co-Supervisor: A/Prof B. Kayis

4. Economic and environmental evaluation of Product Life Cycle Design

This research developed a new design assessment method to improve product life cycle design. The design method addresses the shortcoming of current LCA practice in using single functional unit definition by considering a range of functionality for new product technologies. In addition, the impact of increasing volume due to growing market demand is considered to identify the necessary design improvement at product level. By incorporating Standard Logistics Function, a predictive analysis of future environmental impact is performed to reach a more environmentally sustainable development.

Contact: Seung Jin Kim
Supervisor: Prof S.Kara
Co-Supervisor: A/Prof B. Kayis


1. Application of Cognitive Robotics in Disassembly of Products

This research aims to study the possibility of using cognitive robotics in order to develop economically feasible automated disassembly cell that is able to disassemble every previously unseen model of products. The system is expected to be flexible enough to disassemble a variety of models of product in one product group regardless of exact information regarding the structure and geometrical model. The cognitive robotic agent is expected to be a high-level planner for generating proper disassembly sequence plans (DSP) and control the disassembly operations in task level. In order to handle a number of uncertainties in the disassembly process, the system’s behavior is influenced by 4 typical cognitive functions, including reasoning, execution monitoring, revising, and learning. Typically, the vision-based disassembly cell with a 6-DOF manipulator will be developed and used in this experiment. LCD screen monitors will be used as a case study in this research.

Contact: Supachai Vongbunyong and Wei-Hua Chen
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Co-Supervisor: A/Prof M. Pagnucco (CSE)


1. Energy and Eco-efficiency of Material Removal Processes

The overall objective of this project is to develop reliable methods of predicting energy consumption and the associated environmental impact of manufacturing processes. The methodology will be based on empirical models developed through measuring energy consumption during a specific manufacturing process. Initially material removal processes e.g. milling, turning, grinding, will be targeted for developing the methodology. After proving the principle, the methodology will extended to cover other manufacturing processes.

Contact: Dr. W. Li
Supervisor: Prof S.Kara
Co-Supervisor: A/Prof P.Mathew

2. A Decision Making Model for Employing Product Service System in Industry

Sustainable production and consumption are an issue of current international concern. Recently, the concept of Product Service System (PSS) is proposed as a driver to transform industry structure to the one that does not reduce the Earth’s resource. Although many papers show the progress in this field, very little has been done attempting to assess impacts of PSS. This research aims at assessing the environmental and economic impacts associated with the entire product life cycle of the industrial products in this new business model. Comprehensive model will be developed to provide the decision makers to evaluate the sustainability and profitability of industrial products with a sound analysis of the chances of the company to achieve the defined goal of successfully introducing a PSS.

Contact: Rachata Khumboon
Supervisor:Prof S. Kara
Co-Supervisor: Dr. S.Manmek


1. Multidimensional Requirement Analysis for Sustainable Product Development

This research’s objective is to develop a systematical integrated method for balancing the four key requirements, which are Life Cycle Cost, Quality, Product Lead Time, and Environmental Impacts simultaneously in the conceptual design stage. This method can be used to help industries make decisions with limited data in the early product design stage.

Contact: Mei Lu
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Co-Supervisor: Prof H. Kaebernick


2. Reuse or Recycling of Industrial Products - A Technical & Economic Model for Decision Support

Considering the superior benefits of re-use and the impediments for its implementation, this research is devoted to investigate the economic and technical viability of reuse by addressing manufacturer and customer sides. The main concern is on how to make reuse works and reasonably benefits all stakeholders; producers, customers, and society. Comprehensive models, which include economic, technical and environmental aspects, will be developed to provide a guideline for decision-making processes to evaluate the reusability of industrial products. As important feedback from the models, at the end this research will also reveal design strategies for reuse.

Contact: Maria Anityasari
Supervisor: Prof H. Kaebernick
Co-Supervisor: Prof S. Kara


3. Modelling of Product Collection Networks: Reverse Logistics

The enactment of extended producers' responsibility requires producers to be responsible for the whole life cycle of a product. Reverse logistic has become an indispensable part of this process, where products are collected from end-users, reprocessed and returned to the manufacturing line and to the customers. In this project, the logistic network is mapped and simulated in order to find the efficient and effective way to manage reverse logistic. The simulation is also expected to be able to forecast the possible problems and how the logistic activities will impact the environment.

Contact: Jessica Hanafi
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Co-Supervisor: Prof H. Kaebernick


4. Lifetime Modelling of Products for Reuse: Physical & Technological Life Perspective

Reuse of products and their components can be an economically and environmentally superior alternative to material recycling or other End-of-Life options. One of the main obstacles in implementing a reuse strategy is the lack of reliable methods to assess reliability of used parts, which should take the physical and technology life into account. This project aims at developing a lifetime simulation model to predict the remaining life of components for reuse based on the integrated lifetime perspective. The project outcomes provides a useful tool for preliminary estimating the remaining life of product and components without time consuming disassembly and testing operations.

Contact: Fatida Rugrungruang
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Co-Supervisor: Prof H. Kaebernick


1. Economic Evaluation: Environmental Impact of Industrial Products

Although, there is extensive research in the areas of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) approaches, and the integration between these approaches, the estimation of the financial value is mainly considered as an internal cost. Current approaches usually ignore the external or non-marketed cost, which is currently paid by the society at large. Therefore, the evaluation of external costs associated with the environmental impact of the industrial products still remains as an uncertainty in these analyses. Thus, this research is aimed at assessing the environmental impact cost of industrial products. The evaluation of external costs associated with the environmental impact of the industrial products will be considered using the integration of the Simplified LCA assessment, LCC and Economic valuation approaches. Such analysis will facilitate the true assessment of environmental cost of industrial products during their life cycle.

Contact: Suphunnika Manmek
Supervisor: Prof H. Kaebernick
Co-Supervisor: Prof S. Kara


1. Lifetime Monitoring of Appliances for Reuse

This project aims at determining the remaining useful life of products/appliances on the basis of data collected during their operating life. This will be relatively a new approach towards environmentally safe manufacturing. To date, recycling in which the products are converted into low grade raw materials for next generation of products, is considered to be more economical form of disposal. However, the proposed research would focus on the reuse potential of these products which is obviously a more realistic approach.

Contact: Muhammad I. Mazhar
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Co-supervisor: Prof H. Kaebernick


1. Environmental Assessment of Industrial Products

This study will develop a full methodology for designers to take product environmental performance into account at the early design stage. A simplified LCA assessment approach will be developed to generate the product's Environmental Performance Indicator (EPI), which is the assessment of the environmental impacts associated with the entire product life cycle. The EPI will then be used in a generic decision model to assess the product environmental performance together with other design objectives.

Contact: Mingbo Sun
Supervisor: Prof H. Kaebernick
Co-supervisor: A/Prof B. Kayis


2. Waste Impact Assessment of Manufacturing Processes for Product Design Evaluations

Contact: Albert Choi
Supervisor: Prof H. Kaebernick


3. Planning for sustainability through cleaner production

This project aims to accelerate the evolution of Cleaner Production within manufacturing enterprises. The focus of the project is to invent a planning and implementation framework, "top-down" - from the boardroom to the shop floor, as a seamless process capable fast tracking the uptake of industrial environmental management practices. The project brings together a range of manufacturing management, engineering, scientific and environmental management disciplines in an attempt to reduce complexities and to standardise concepts.

Sustainability, Eco-efficiency, Cleaner Production, Industrial Ecology, Life Cycle Management, a Toolkit for hard and soft technology point solutions and Performance Indicators are defined, developed and integrated as the one strategic process.

Contact: Andrew Aschner
Supervisor: Prof H. Kaebernick


1. Design for Environment at the Functional Level of Product Design

Contact: Francis Francis


1. Planning for Disassembly

Contact: Ben O'Shea (CRC)

2. Environmentally Sound Production Systems

Contact: Virginia Soriano

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Masters Projects

2006 |1999


1. The Effects of Reuse and Recycling on the Eco-Efficiency of Industrial Production.

Project Description: This project aims at evaluating the environmental impact (EI) reduction which benefits from reuse and recycling on industrial production level. By reuse and recycling, the environmental impact reduction on products level will be gained via the LCA method. But the relationship of EI between products and production level is non-linear, thus based on the global industrial production statistics, an upscaling model needs to be established to assess the EI for production level, so that the improvement of Eco-Efficiency can be obtained.

Student: Aries Hui (Master by research student)
Supervisor: Prof H. Kaebernick


2. Clustering of Industrial Product for reuse

Student: Scott Ibbotson (Master by research student)
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Supervisor: Prof H. Kaebernick


3. Selective Disassembly for Re-use of Industrial Products

Student: Pornwan Pornprasitpol (Master by research student)
Supervisor: Prof H. Kaebernick
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara


1. Re-use and Recycling of Consumer Products (ME project)

Student: Maria Anityasari

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Undergraduate Projects

2012 | 2011| 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | before 2000


1. UNSW water footprint assessment

As the population of the world continues to increase, the negative impacts of unsustainable freshwater consumption is becoming a greater concern. A life cycle assessment can be performed using water footprints to determine the negative impacts of freshwater consumption on human health, the ecosystem and fossil reserves. However, water footprint LCA is currently in the early stages of development and no internationally recognised standards exist. Some methods of water footprint assessment will be analysed, and a method for water footprint LCA will be selected based on its suitability for use as part of a case study at the Mechanical Engineering Building.

Student: Brandon Chan
Supervisor: Dr. S. Ibbotson (Manmek)
Co-Supervisor: Prof S. Kara


1. Recycling of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars

Lithium-ion batteries are the preferred energy source for hybrid and electric cars. It is expected that the usage of these batteries will increase dramatically in the near future with the increased usage of electric cars, hence end-of-life batteries returned. There is currently no established disassembly and recycling technology which will enable high material return efficiency. The aim of this project is to develop viable disassembly and recycling methodologies for end-of-life lithium-ion batteries, which will make lithium-ion battery recycling more efficient.

Student: Nicola Karcz
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara


2. Development of a model to estimate the minimum thermal energy required in manufacturing processes

Increasing energy costs have forced manufacturing companies to re-assess their attitude towards categorising energy costs as overheads. I will develop a model to analyse current manufacturing processes to improve its thermal energy efficiency. The results will indicate areas for improvement in Baxter's manufacturing processes.

Student: Kai Cen
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara
Co-Supervisor: Dr. V. Timchenko and Bernard Kornfeld


1. Modeling of Product Collection Networks

Student: Fatida Rugrungruang
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara


2. Lifetime Modelling of the Industrial Product

Student: Ket Ching Goh
Supervisor: Prof S. Kara


1. Life-time Monitoring of Appliances

Student: Robin Wong

2. IDEF3 Modelling of Product Collection Networks

Student: Lydia Supratman

3. IDEF0 Modelling for Sustainable Business Development

Student: Sabina Silvestro

4. Disassembly Planning of a Washing Machine

Student: Sim Wee Leng

5. Design for Environment (DFE) Analysis of a Household Appliance

Student: Jenny Hoya

6. Critical Design Parameters for Condition Monitoring

Student: Ka Yan Ip


1. Reusability Assessment for Technical Products

Student: Netty Sari

2. Material Recycling - A Costing Approach for Technical Products

Student: Irsan Chandra

3. Application of a Design Structure System DSS for Disassembly Analysis

Student: Indra Sanjaya Hareguna

4. Disassembly Planning of a Washing Machine

Student: Cheng Sen Seow

5. Recycling of TV Tubes (MRI)

Student: Chris Ho

2000 and before

1. Survey on Design for Environment Practices in Product Development in Australia

Student: Timothy Edmondson

2. Survey on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Methodologies with Particular Emphasize on Product Design

Student: Arwin Sutanto

3. Recycling of Electronic Goods in Australia and Germany - A Case Study and Comparison

Student: Adam Evans

4. Product Design with Recycled Materials, Considerations of Performance Constraints

Student: Yen-Chen Liu

5. Methodologies for Life Cycle Assessment of Industrial Products

Student: Ting Fa Huang

6. Material Selection Aspects in Design for Environment

Student: Srinivas Padavola

7. Application of DFE Principles in Material Selection for Water System Piping

Student: Thursina Harahap

8. Disassembly Processes and Their Applications

Student: Dida Diah Damayanti

9. Economic Considerations of Disassembly Processes

Student: Ivan Stephanus Tarliman

10. Survey of Tools for the Environmental Assessment of Industrial Products

Student: Agustina Christiani

11. Investigation of Trade-offs in Product Development

Student: Sri Hartati Werdiningsih

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Prospective PhD and exchange student

We are seeking highly motivated PhD and master students interested in Life Cycle Engineering research at the University of New South Wales. Candidates enjoying research in a team and with a good background are encouraged to apply. Please send the following documents directly to Prof S. Kara for your application:

  • CV
  • University certificates
  • Academic transcripts
  • Letter of motivation or abstract of the thesis 

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Sustainable Manufacturing and Life Cycle Engineering Research Group, School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, UNSW, Sydney NSW 2052, Australia
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Authorised by Prof. S. Kara • Last updated November 12, 2019