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By Esther Son

Two new engineering labs on campus are among the first of their kind in Canada.

With the help of a $1.2 million grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Ryerson’s aerospace and civil engineering departments now have labs with “state-of-the-art” equipment for conducting advanced experiments.

“[The lab] is the only one in Canada,” says Kamran Behdinan, chair of the aeroepsace department. “The unique facilities are not available in other schools.”

One of the key features of the labs is the bedrock flooring-an essential because the surfaces will allow students to perform more advanced experiments involving large-scale objects like bridge and building sections, aircraft wings or spaceship components.

“It’s important for an engineering department to have this kind of lab, but not all universities can afford it,” says Mohamed Lachemi, Ryerson’s Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Construction. “Not all engineering schools have this-only the good ones.”

The undergraduate aerospace engineering program is one of only two in Canada. Although Carleton University has a program, Behdinan says “our equipment is more sophisticated.” “To get funding from CFI shows that we are unique.”

Both the civil engineering and aerospace engineering stuctures labs are meant to simulate realistic conditions. Students can examine the responses of bridges, buildings and aircraft to the loading of large objects.

After two years of construction, the labs will be available this year for fourth-year and graduate students. Paul Mongelli, president of civil engineers student society, said while the old, deteriorating Geary Labs were too far, he’s optimistic about the new facilities.

“New building, new space, new opportunities.”

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