MSc Projects


Delft University of Technology 

Down below you will find a collection of possible MSc projects. If you are interested in doing one of these or have some ideas in a project along similar lines please contact me.

MSc assignment Proposals

Welke krachten op het voorwiel hebben ernstige balansverstoring tot gevolg bij een fiets?
Een fiets is een balansvoertuig en bij ongevallen bij fietsen is een verstoring van de balans, gevolgd door een val en bekende toedracht. De oorzaken kunnen divers zijn zoals het met het voorwiel (heel even) raken van een voorganger of het zijdelings raken van een opstaande rand in het wegdek. Er is geen kwantitatief empirisch onderzoek bekend naar de gevoeligheid van de balans van een fiets voor externe krachten die op het voorwiel worden uitgeoefend. Verondersteld wordt dat een kleine verstoring van de stuurinrichting van een fiets door bijvoorbeeld een kleine laterale kracht voor de fietsbalans desastreuze gevolgen heeft.
Het beoogde onderzoek betreft experimenteel empirisch onderzoek naar verstoringen van de fietsbalans door het gecontroleerd uitoefenen van krachten op het voorwiel van een fiets (zonder berijder).

Bicycle Geometry, Dynamics, and Handling;
why do some bicycles feel different than others?

At the Royal Gazelle bicycle factory there is a vast amount of knowledge about the relation between bicycle geometry and handling. This knowledge is based on experience, and with this experience new bicycles are designed in an evolutionary manner. Academic research on bicycle dynamics and control (handling) has created theoretical knowledge on dynamics and control for bicycles [1,2]. There is a wish to make a connection between the two, by classifying geometry designs as used by Gazelle in a standard manner and relate them to the dynamical behavior as predicted by the recent theoretical bicycle models [2]. This could lead to a revolution in bicycle design.

Active stability control for a bicycle

The objective of the proposed MSc assignment is:
“To develop an optimal control strategy stabilizing the bicycle at low speed”
Address the following questions:
- How does the rider perceive this enhanced stability?
- Can you measure the change (decrease) in control effort from the rider?
- How does the stability enhancement influence the maneuverability?
- Is there a trade-off between stability, handling and maneuverability?

Behavior modeling of Vulnerable Road Users

Modeling shimmy in strollers

Shimmy is a recurring problem in all of our strollers.
Mostly by trial and error we are able to keep shimmy under control under normal use, but the lack of a proper underlying theoretical model makes it hard to predict the behavior of new stroller designs, or even to know with which strollers we are near a ‘tipping point’ in dynamic behavior.

Model Order Reduction for coupled ship hydrodynamic and multibody dynamic equations

A musculoskeletal bicycle rider model

Bicycle tire testing

Simplest Skater Model

Haptic steer for a desktop bicycle simulator.

Bicycle Dynamics and Control

Modelleren van onderwater pijpleiding dynamica tijdens het offshore pijpenleggen

Simplest Skater Model of the corner

Structural impact analysis of a lightweight foldable tail structure


Detailed info and finished projects:

A musculoskeletal bicycle rider model

With the Whipple model of the uncontrolled bicycle now well established the question remains how do people control the mostly laterally unstable bicycle?  One promising direction is adding a minimal musculoskeletal rider model to the Whipple model. With this rider model one could drive and stabilize the bicycle.

Assignment: Add a minimal (few extra degrees of freedom) musculoskeletal model to the Whipple bicycle model and add a control strategy such that the bicycle is laterally stabilized  and driven by the pedal forces resulting from muscle forces. Investigate the robustness of the control by adding longitudinal and lateral perturbations (a hill and side wind). Think of a way to quantify the handling quality by f.i. looking at the control effort.
The candidate will start by studying the literature on bicycle dynamics, and musculoskeletal models. Next, the two models will be incorporated into one model. Various control strategies will be explored.



Bicycle tire testing

Contrary to cars and motorcycles, little is known about bicycle tires. There is some knowledge on rolling resistance but an experimentally validated model for the lateral tire forces generated by the tire is unknown. Such a model is absolutely necessary to be able to predict the handling of bicycles in various extreme situations. Currently a bicycle tire testrig is under development (see picture) for testing tire characteristics on the large drum tire tester which is available in the TU Delft lab.

Assigment: Finish the design and construction of the bicycle tire testrig. Measure lateral tire characteristics (side force, alignment torque versus slip angle and camber angle) for a number of different bicycle tire-wheel combinations.  Develop a simplified bicycle tire model (like a brush model), determine the bicycle parameters from the tests and see how the rest of the measured data fits the model predictions.

Simplest Skater Model – Optimal skating technique for champions
To move forward one has to push backwards. In skating one pushes sideways. By means of a simple mechanical model we would like to predict the optimal skate technique. This model should also be able to predict the optimal shape of the skate blade in order to apply this optimal technique.

Haptic steer for a desktop bicycle simulator.

Design, build, and test a bicycle handle bar with torque feedback which can be used as an input device for the simple bicycle desktop simulator.The candidate will start by studying the literature on bicycle dynamics, and driving simulators with haptic feedback. Next, design a haptic steer for torque input with torque feedback and finally test the device on various groups of bicycle riders (novice, experienced, elderly). 


The Delft Bicycle Laboratory wishes to develop a bicycle simulator: a stationary bicycle on a moveable platform, driven by a computer model of a bicycle, on which one can sit, steer, lean and pedal. As a first step, a simple desktop bicycle simulator has been built. The input device is a joystick for forward speed and steer torque commands and the output device for feedback control is a simple 3D avatar of the bicycle on a computer screen. It turns out that even an experienced bicycle rider cannot stabilize the unstable bicycle at low speed (v< 4 m/s). It is conjectured that the human controller needs haptic torque feedback for proper control.

Design of the steering mechanism for the RooT electric scooter
The RooT is an electric scooter designed to create a new user experience that enhances the advantages of electric mobility: it is quiet, clean and intuitive. It moves with you like a “flying carpet”. To create this feeling a new innovative mechanism is introduced which tilts forward when accelerating and tilt backward when braking (figure 1). It does so by means of a bar-mechanism suspension which tilts to the appropriate angle using the momentum of scooter and driver, in other words without the use of actuators.
Assignment: Combine the tilting mechanism with a steering solution

Bicycle Dynamics and Control
One of the great mysteries in bicycle dynamics and control is the question: “how do we stay on track”. In this project we wish to develop a controller model which, for a given forward speed, stabilizes the bicycle and keeps it within the bounds of the bike path at minimal control effort. 

Modelleren van onderwater pijpleiding dynamica tijdens het offshore pijpenleggen

Door de stijgende vraag naar onderwater pijpleidingen wordt er continu onderzoek gedaan naar het verbeteren van de mogelijkheden om deze leidingen op de zeebodem te kunnen leggen. De dynamica van de te leggen pijp, die vanaf een schip, door het zeewater op de zeebodem rust, speelt hierin een cruciale rol.

De focus van dit onderzoek is het analyseren van het dynamisch gedrag van de onderwater pijp. De pijp wordt door zijn omgeving beïnvloed: Tijdens het pijpenleggen is er een continu samenspel tussen de pijp, het water (de hydromechanica) en het schip wat gevolgen heeft voor het gedrag van de pijp.


Steer-by-wire Bicycle
Recently a prototype of a steer-by-wire scooter was developed at the TU Delft faculty of IO. Both the control algorithm and the mechanical design of the steer-by-wire system were sub-optimal, making the scooter difficult to control. Among other things, the steer actuator design prohibited the front wheel from freely rotating about the steering axis, thereby preventing the possibility of the machine showing any form of dynamic selfstability.

The bicycle dynamics lab is interested in equipping a bicycle with a steer-by-wire system to create a variable stability bicycle. This variable stability bicycle can then be used to do all kinds of bicycle handling quality experiments.

The desired steer-by-wire system replaces the mechanical connection of the handlebars with the front wheel by sensors and actuators. The system should be capable of actuating the steer and the handle bars (feedback torque) given the measured state of the complete bicycle system. The underlying control model is then based on the linearized equations of motion of the bicycle together with a stabilizing or destabilizing controller.


Simplest Skater Model of the corner
To move forward, a skater pushes sideward. The skater balances on a thin sharp edge at speeds over 60 km/hr. In cornering, skaters constantly lean towards the center of the corner thereby resisting centrifugal forces. Changing the direction of motion costs effrot, but still skaters manage to accelerate during the corners. In fact, the corners are becoming more and more important in competitions and skaters tend to elongate the corner as much as possible.Recently a dynamical model of a skater was developed and validated for the straights. Such a dynamical model gives valuable insights in skating technique of individual strokes.

What is the simplest skating model able to investigate optimal skate technique in the corners?Compare measured skate motion with model results. In what sense isthe motion optimal?