MONTREAL, Dec. 12, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, Polytechnique Montréal,
the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
and Safran are inaugurating the NSERC-Safran Industrial Research Chair
on Novel 3D Composite Materials for the Aerospace Industry.
With the creation of this chair, which will benefit from investments
totalling more than $2.4 million, Polytechnique Montréal will become
one of the first universities in the world to build a large-scale 3D
composite laboratory for the aerospace industry. It should be noted
that the chair also benefits from the research infrastructure provided
over the last few years by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the
Government of Québec and other partners. This state-of-the-art
equipment represents a total investment of $5.4 million.
"Canada's aerospace and space industries contribute over 170,000 jobs
and more than $27 billion annually to the Canadian economy," said the
Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry. "This industrial research
chair will help develop innovative solutions for the aerospace
industry, while providing assistance for training highly qualified
personnel. Our government supports Canadian businesses so they can
continue to compete internationally and be global leaders."
Composites: "star" materials for the aerospace industry
Composite materials now occupy a key place in the aerospace industry.
Their use has spread to aircraft structures, whether for the fuselage—
as in that of the Boeing 787—or for the wings, such as those of the
Airbus A350 or the Bombardier CSeries.
Today, the need to manufacture even lighter aircraft that are more
reliable and more corrosion-resistant has led the industry to become
interested in the use of composite materials for engine parts. This is
true, among others, for Safran and GE, which are using new
three-dimensional composites to create their next turboreactor, the
LEAP-X. Thanks to the intensive use of composites, this engine will
offer a decisive advantage in terms of mass, performance and fuel
consumption: a 15% fuel savings compared to its predecessor, a 60%
reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 450-kg gain in mass on the fan
blades, and a 15-dB reduction in engine sound level. The new motor in
development has already attracted the attention of major airlines,
which have confirmed it as their choice for the re-engining of the
Airbus A320-Neo and the Boeing 737 Max, and for the new Chinese
transport aircraft COMAC 919, all three planned for 2016.
A chair to address the technical challenges of 3D composites
The use of innovative 3D materials in the aerospace industry
nevertheless poses significant challenges, because these materials must
be resistant to impact, fatigue and, in some cases, temperatures
exceeding 1,200 degrees Celsius. Not to mention the requirement to
certify rotating parts to zero defects!
To meet these challenges, the NSERC-Safran Industrial Research Chair on
Novel 3D Composite Materials for the Aerospace Industry, held by
Professor Edu Ruiz, is undertaking research work at Polytechnique. "We
will cover the full development of new solutions destined for the
aerospace industry: we will work on both the creation of 3D composite
nanomaterials and the development of new manufacturing processes for
large structures," Professor Ruiz says. "We will then use these
innovations to build industrial-scale prototypes. This approach is
fairly unique in our field of research. As well, our partnership with
the Safran group, a world leader in aerospace, will enable us to
develop scientific solutions that address the concerns and challenges
of the high-end products industry."
A unique research infrastructure
The chair has exceptional equipment, both in the characterization
laboratory for nano-composites and polymers and in the manufacturing
laboratory. In the first, the members of Professor Ruiz's team study
the behaviour of polymers and nanoparticles and develop new
multifunctional materials, resulting from the combination of
three-dimensional composites and some nanoparticles. In the second,
other team members perfect manufacturing methods for aerospace engine
parts and manufacture industrial-scale prototypes.
A promising collaboration
Thanks to the expertise, scientific innovations and unique technologies
developed by Professors Ruiz and François Trochu over the past 20
years, Polytechnique Montréal has become an internationally recognized
research hub in the field of composite materials.
Polyflex, a flexible-injection process patented by Polytechnique that
makes it possible to manufacture high-performance composite parts in a
lower-cost, reliable and automated way, attracted Safran's attention a
few years ago.
"Snecma and Polytechnique began their work together in 1992, but since
2006, Polytechnique Montréal has been working closely with Safran to
study the implementation of structural parts for new aeronautics
engines," says Ludovic Molliex, Vice-President, Materials and
Processes, for Safran. "Our collaboration with Polytechnique
intensified in 2010 when we announced a $6-million investment over 10
years to accelerate research with a view to mastering new manufacturing
processes for structural composites reinforced by three-dimensional
carbon fibre fabrics. The Polyflex process offers a very attractive
alternative to existing processes such as RTM or resin infusion, among
others for large-scale parts. The application projects we have
undertaken with researchers at Polytechnique Montréal are yielding very
For her part, Janet Walden, Chief Operating Officer of the Natural
Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, notes: "NSERC's Industrial
Research Chairholders, such as Dr. Ruiz, share a unique blend of
qualities - they strive for excellence in research, provide a rich
learning environment for their students, and are able to build and
nurture productive, successful relationships with their industrial
partners, applying fundamental research to address industry R&D needs.
Dr. Ruiz's work with Safran will position Canada as a global leader in
composite materials research, helping the aerospace industry make
An incubator for young scientists
Because of its broad scope of activities and expertise, as well as its
collaborations with major industry players, the NSERC-Safran Industrial
Research Chair on Novel 3D Composite Materials for the Aerospace
Industry makes for a unique training environment. Some 50 students will
actively take part in the Chair's research work, and will be trained to
use avant-garde technologies in the realm of manufacturing and
"This partnership with Safran will help us train the best recruits in
the world," says Christophe Guy, Chief Executive Officer of
Polytechnique Montréal. "The training of highly qualified staff
specializing in manufacturing composites is a critical issue not only
for the aeronautics industry, but also for many other sectors, such as
ground transport, renewable energy and civil engineering
infrastructures. This is an invaluable asset for Canadian industry."
About the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of
discoverers and innovators. The agency supports almost
30,000 post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows in their
advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding approximately
12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging over
2,400 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary
Safran is an international high-technology group, and a first-rank
equipment manufacturer in the fields of aerospace (propulsion,
equipment), defence and security. Present on every continent, the group
employs 65,000 people for an annual sales figure of over €13.5 billion
in 2012. Composed of numerous companies, the Safran group, alone or in
partnership, holds leading positions in its markets in Europe and the
world. To respond to market evolution, the group is committed to
research and development programs representing €1.1 billion in 2012.
Safran holds several units and plants in Québec, including Turbomeca,
Messier-Dowty and Sagem-Morpho.
About Polytechnique Montréal
Founded in 1873, Polytechnique Montréal is one of Canada's leading
engineering teaching and research institutions. It is the largest
engineering university in Québec for the size of its graduate student
body and the scope of its research activities. With over 41,400
graduates, Polytechnique Montréal has educated nearly one-quarter of
the current members of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec.
Polytechnique provides training in 15 engineering specialties, has 248
professors and more than 7,500 students. It has an annual operating
budget of over $200 million, including an $82-million research budget.
SOURCE: Polytechnique Montréal
For further information:
B-roll and photos of the facilities and equipment are available upon request.
Available for interviews:
Edu Ruiz, professor and holder of the NSERC-Safran Industrial Research Chair on Novel 3D Composite Materials for the Aerospace Industry
Ludovic Molliex, Vice-President, Materials and Processes, Safran
Pamela Moss, Director, Research Partnerships Programs, NSERC
Christophe Guy, CEO, Polytechnique
Source and information:
Senior Communications Advisor
Polytechnique de Montréal
T. 514 340-4415
C. 514 231-8133
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