Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Hybrid Powertrain Program: Electric, Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research

Earl Fairall

Ph.D. Student

Short Biography

Earl-Fairall_1_200x250Earl Fairall received a B.S. degree (with honors) in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Chicago, Illinois, USA, in 2010. He joined the McMaster Institute for Automotive Research and Technology (MacAUTO) at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 2011. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering. Earl was president of the student chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers and Illinois Tech Robotics at IIT. He also helped design and build formula-style race vehicles for the Formula Hybrid International Competition as a student at both IIT and McMaster University. His research interests, which have largely developed from his involvement in those programs, include high speed and high torque electric machine design, switched reluctance motors, power electronics, and hybrid vehicle drivetrains.

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Earl-Fairall_3_250x450Although he grew up in a small, quiet town called Pontiac, Illinois (population 11,911), Earl had big, vibrant plans for his future. Before joining McMaster University in 2011, Earl studied with Dr. Emadi at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago. While there, Earl had the honor of being President of the Robotics Team as well as the local student chapter, Society of Automotive Engineers. Among the many projects he encountered at IIT, one in particular stands out as a defining moment in his educational journey. The task was to build an autonomous lawnmower for the U.S. Department of Defense. As he recalls, “I encountered many roadblocks that motivated me to try 1000 times harder to succeed.  In the end, the project was a great failure, but it may have been the best learning experience of my life. I learned many of the skills that I have carried with me to my PhD program.” This project was merely a stepping-stone in Earl’s greater path to success.

Now at McMaster University as part of the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Hybrid Powertrain Program, Earl has focused his research on switched reluctance motors (SRMs). Today, these motors are one of the rarest types of motors available on the market. Earl’s research investigates the positive attributes of SRMs and pushes them to their mechanical limits, a level of performance that other types of motors struggle to compete. He has found that through analysis, design, and physical validation, he is able to achieve this. Ultimately, his research aims to provide a pathway for lower cost, more efficient and lighter hybrid/electric powertrains for commercial applications. Although he faces challenges at times, Earl has enjoyed finding innovative ways to ensure that the machine will have high performance and a long lifetime. The hope of this project is to employ a multitude of cutting-edge technology and design concepts, in order to make a significant impact on switched reluctance motor technology.

For Earl, his five-year plan includes finishing his research and continuing to build his product development firm. He is confident that working with Dr. Emadi and the amazing team of researchers at McMaster Institute for Automotive Research and Technology (MacAUTO), he will be able to flourish in his field.