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Aerospace materials centre
Article Type: University and research news From: Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology: An International Journal, Volume 80, Issue 3.
McGill University and NRC have created a multi-lab research centre in the Montréal area to support the development of new materials and manufacturing processes for Canada's aerospace industry.
The $7.8 million McGill Aerospace Materials & Alloy Development Centre boasts three leading-edge technology facilities. They include a cold spray lab housed at NRC in Boucherville; a laboratory for advanced materials coating technology, called electron beam physical vapour deposition, located at McGill University; and an isothermal forging press for manufacturing critical jet engine components made from superalloys and other materials, based at the NRC Institute for Aerospace Research facility located on the Université de Montréal campus.
While all of the equipment is owned by McGill, NRC has signed a five-year partnership agreement to conduct joint R&D activities with the university. “The ultimate goal of this research centre is to increase the competitiveness of our aerospace industry and to strengthen the leadership position of Canada in aerospace research,” says Dr Christian Moreau, who leads the project at the NRC Industrial Materials Institute.
At a cost of $3.4 million, the cold spray laboratory represents the largest component of the new research centre. Cold spray is a new manufacturing method for depositing metals and alloys that involves accelerating a solid state powder in a supersonic gas jet. Upon impact, the particles undergo plastic deformation and bond to a surface.
“One objective of this collaboration is to show the viability of this technology for industry,” says Dr Moreau. “We've set up one of the best cold spray labs world-wide. Now that we have the equipment, we expect to attract a lot of interest from aerospace companies.”
Building on their respective strengths, the two NRC institutes have worked in close collaboration with McGill University since 2003 to make the new centre a reality. Funding for the research centre came from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (40 per cent), the Government of Quebec (40 per cent), and NRC and industrial collaborators (20 per cent).