Rudolf Seethaler

Associate Professor

Office: EME4255
Phone: 250.807.8801

Graduate student supervisor

Research Summary

Mechatronics for automobiles; sensor less control of piezoelectric actuators, machine tool process control; optimisation of carbon nanotube reinforced composite materials

Courses & Teaching

Engineering Mechanics; Modelling of dynamic systems; Design and optimisation of mechatronic systems; Numerical methods for real-time control applications


During his MASc and PhD Dr. Seethaler worked on high-speed contouring for machine tools and on process control systems for milling operations.

After his PhD, Dr. Seethaler joined BMW in Germany to manage the introduction of parametric surfacing technologies to the CAD systems at BMW. He then joined a project that developed electromagnetic valve trains for internal combustion engines. He was responsible for simulating and optimising all mechanical, electrical, and magnetic components of the actuation system. He used this simulation environment for designing optimal control strategies. He also implemented the control system in a rapid prototyping environment and successfully tested the actuation system on component test stands and on engine test stands. Thereafter, Dr. Seethaler managed a team that was responsible for R&D of motion control applications for IC-engines.

In early 2006, Dr. Seethaler became a professor at the University of Applied Science in Konstanz, Germany. He taught graduate courses in Mechatronics and introductory Computing courses.

In the summer of 2006, Dr. Seethaler joined the University of British Columbia Okanagan as an assistant professor and he was promoted to associate professor in 2012


PhD – Mech. Eng. (UBC)
MASC – Mech. Eng. (UBC)
BASc Mech. Eng. (UofT)

Research Interests & Projects

  • Sensorless control of piezoelectric actuators
  • Electromagnetic valve actuation of internal combustion engines
  • Sensorless control of electromagnetic fuel injectors
  • High speed contouring control of CNC machine tools
  • Design of viscoelastic impact absorption technologies
  • Optimisation of carbon nanotube reinforced composite materials

Selected Publications & Presentations


  • DE10252991/WO2004044392 Pivoting actuator for controlling the stroke of a gas exchange valve in the cylinder head of an internal combustion engine. Inventors: Rudolf Seethaler, Johannes Meyer, Axel Knaut, Karl-Heinz Gaubatz
  • DE102004054773/WO2006050789 Device for controlling the lift of a gas exchange valve in an internal Combustion engine, Inventors: Rudolf Seethaler, Christian Beierlieb.
  • DE102004054776, Granted: 16.03.2006, WO2006050796, published 18.05.2006. Method for calibration of a positional Sensor on a rotational actuator device for control of a gas-exchange valve in an internal combustion engine. Inventors: Rudolf Seethaler, Martin Lamprecht
  • US 5519602, granted: 1996 / EP 0712510, granted: 1997. Multiple Slave Control. Inventors: Ian Yellowley, Ramin Ardekani, Rudolf Seethaler.


  • S.Z. Mansour, R. Seethaler, “Displacement and Force Self-Sensing Technique for Piezoelectric Actuators Using a Nonlinear Constitutive Model”, IEEE Industrial Electronics, accepted January 18, 2019
  • S.Z. Mansour, R. Seethaler, R., Yik R. Teo, Yuen K. Yong, Andrew J. Fleming, “Piezoelectric Bimorph Actuator with Integrated Strain Sensing Electrodes”. Accepted by IEEE Sensors, May 25, 2018, Sensors-21916-2018.
  • S.Z. Mansour, R. Seethaler, “Simultaneous Displacement and Force Estimation of Piezoelectric Stack Actuators Using Charge and Voltage Measurements”, IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 2619-2624, 2017.
  • S.Z. Mansour, R. Seethaler, “Feedrate Optimization for CNC Machine Tools Using Modeled and Measured Process Constraints”, ASME. J. Manuf. Sci. Eng. Vol 139, no 1, pp. 011012, 2016,
  • B. Reinholz, R. Seethaler “Experimental Validation of a Cogging Torque Assisted Valve Actuation System for Internal Combustion Engines”, IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, vol. 21, no, 1, pp. 453-459, 2015,
  • M. Rahaman, R. Seethaler, I.Yellowley, “A New Approach to Contour Error Control in High Speed Machining”, Int. J. Mach. Tools Manufact. vol.88, pp. 42-50, 2015
  • M. N. Islam, R. Seethaler, “Sensorless Position Control For Piezoelectric Actuators Using A Hybrid Position Observer”, IEEE/ASME Transaction of Mechatronics, vol. 99, pp.1-9, 2013.
  • H. Rokni, Rudolf J. Seethaler, Abbas S. Milani, Xian-Fang Li, “Analytical closed-form solutions for size-dependent static pull-in behavior in electrostatic micro-actuators via Fredholm integral method”, Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, vol. 190, pp. 32–43, Feb 2013
  • J. Zhao, R. Seethaler, “A fully flexible valve actuation system for internal combustion engines”, IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 361-370, 2011.
  • M. Omidi, H. Rokni D.T, A.S. Milani, R.J. Seethaler, R. Arasteh, “Prediction of the mechanical characteristics of multi-walled carbon nanotube/epoxy composites using a new form of the rule of mixtures”, CARBON vol. 48, pp. 3218 –3228, 2010.
  • R. Seethaler, I. Yellowley, „Process control and dynamic process planning“, Int. J. Mach. Tools Manufact., vol. 40, pp. 239-257, 2000.



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