Professor Ridha Ben Mrad

PhD, P.Eng., FCSME

University of Toronto
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
5 King’s College Rd
Toronto, Ontario, Canada  M5S 3G8

Office: Mechanical Engineering Building, Room MC224
Phone: (416) 946-0689

R. Ben Mrad, P.Eng., FCSME, is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto. He joined the University in 1997, having previously held research positions at the National Research Council of Canada in Vancouver, BC, and the Ford Research Laboratory in Dearborn, Michigan. He received a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1994.

Professor Ben Mrad’s research interests are Mechatronics and Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) with a special focus on the design of pieozceramic actuators and sensors, microactuators and microfluidic systems, MEMS fabrication, thin film pieozoelectrics and development of smart materials based devices. His research led to a number of patents and inventions including 9 US patents/patent applications. He has supervised the research of over 55 graduate students and researchers, received the Faculty Early Career Teaching Award in 2002, and the Connaught Innovation Award in 2013 and 2015.

He serves on the NSERC Mechanical Engineering Grants Committee (2008-2011), chairs the IEEE Industrial Electronics Committee on MEMS and Nanotechnology, and serves on the Executive Board of the CanSmart Group. He is currently a Technical Editor of the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, Editor of IE Tech News, and serves on the Steering Committee of the IEEE/ASME JMEMS. He was also a Guest Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics. He also served as a founding Director of the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics at the University of Toronto (2009-11).

Research Areas

The research areas include mechatronics, precision design, hydraulics, smart materials, nonlinear control, microelectromechanical systems and microfluidics. The research group is currently focused around the following themes:

1. Use of smart materials for the development of sensors and actuators and their integration into smart systems. This work has been mainly focused on the characterization of piezoceramics. Applications include switches, injectors, dispensers, valves, pumps, active vibration control using linearized actuators, chatter reduction.

2. Design, fabrication and testing of precision positioning devices and linear motors offering nanometer precision. Applications include stages for microfabrication, robotics, biomedical testing and photonics.

3. Design, fabrication and testing of microfluidic components and chips with a focus on micropumps, microvalves, mixing chambers, and high accuracy (picoliter) dispensing. Applications include the development of a lab on a chip and microarraying.

4. Design, fabrication and testing of micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) with a focus on the development of sensors and actuators. Applications so far include adaptive optics, optical switches, and RF MEMS.

The Mechatronics and Microsystems Design Laboratory houses a large selection of precision instrumentation and data acquisition systems as well as various modeling and analysis software packages.