March/April 2008

Research centre to develop supermaterials for the aerospace industry

By H. E. Robinson

The McGill Aerospace Materials and Alloy Development Centre was officially opened in Boucherville, Quebec, this past February. The project represents a collaborative initiative between the National Research Council Canada (NRC) and McGill University, intended to nurture technological innovations in the aerospace industry. The $8 million project was made possible by financial contributions from the governments of Canada and Quebec, as well as from various industry partners.

The centre was created to develop a new generation of highly resistant materials, surface treatments and manufacturing processes designed to meet the extreme requirements of the aerospace industry. It brings together four highly specialized laboratories on McGill and Université de Montréal campuses, as well as at the NRC Industrial Materials Institute. Facilities include a cold spray lab, an electron beam physical vapour deposition lab, an electronic speckle pattern interferometry lab, and another that specializes in the production of titanium parts.

The centre aims to be an eminent place for research and education, as well as a training ground from which to generate highly qualified personnel for this vital industry. McGill graduate students will have the opportunity to work along side scientists and industry partners while pursuing their degrees, giving them practical industry experience and skills with which to supplement their academic training.

The Canadian aerospace sector employs 79,000 people across the country and generates sales of over $21 billion dollars.

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