By Kevin Ritchie
Ryerson has landed a grant to build a new one-of-a-kind aerospace research lab.
The 325-square-metre facility will test the strength, durability and long-term performance of aircraft material, said Zouheir Fawaz, an associate professor of aerospace engineering and one of four researchers spearheading the project.
Researchers will be able to build prototype airplanes, bring small aircraft up to 40-feet long into the lab for testing, as well as perform experiments on doors and wings of large passenger planes.
Fawaz said the research will improve airline safety and will help develop lighter aircraft materials.
“Canada is leading the world now in aircraft manufacturing,” said Fawaz. “This kind of research will benefit Canada tremendously. It has a direct economic benefit.”
That’s why the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) — a Crown corporation that provides research funds for universities and nonprofit organizations — announced in early February that it will provide $355,887 towards the $1.1-milion facility, which will be housed in the new Centre for Engineering and Computer Science which will be built at Church and Gould Streets.
Major Canadian companies such as Bombardier use this kind of facility to certify their airplanes, but there are no other universities in the country using these facilities for research purposes. Fawaz expects the lab will attract post-doctorate, graduate students and other researchers to Ryerson.
Suzanne Corbeil, CFI’s co-ordinator of public events, said Ryerson’s proposal was accepted because of the potential benefits the research will have for Canada.
This is Ryerson’s fifth CFI award since becoming a university in 1993. Last September researchers at Ryerson were given two CFI grants — $395,979 to help further the creation of smaller, more environmentally friendly motors and $562,000 spent on state-of-the-art microscopes to help improve the quality of food, water and waste treatment.