Professor Leads Collaboration on Aerospace and Mechanical Design Project
Long before experiential learning became a provincial performance indicator for post-secondary institutions, Centennial College was fostering an environment in which students could work with professors and clients on real industry projects. These projects take place in the classroom, or through placements or through its applied research department, ARIES: It is through ARIES that one of the most exciting collaborations between industry, applied research and academic program is underway right now.
The project is lead by Engineering Professor Pouria Tavakkoli Avval, PhD, who is also, among other research positions at the college, a Program Manager for ARIES. It brings Safran Landing Systems, Burloak Technologies and Centennial College engineering students together to redesign components of the Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft nose landing gear system.
What makes this project remarkable is the use of topology optimization (TO) and additive manufacturing (AM) to prove and achieve its key purposes of light-weighting, cost reduction, safety and reliability improvement, all with carbon footprint reduction.
Safran Landing Systems is a global leader in design, development and manufacturing in all types of landing gear. Burloak Technologies is a national leader in additive manufacturing solutions. They wanted to work with Centennial College not only because of its highly trained students in mechanical design and aerospace but also because the state-of-the-art equipment such as its computerized numerical control (CNC) machine, its 3D printers and its CM machines would lend themselves to an expedited design and development process.
The 16-month project started in July 2018 and will end in October 2019. So far, the team reviewed and presented nine suitable candidates for optimization, and Safran selected three final components. Now the Centennial R&D team is in the process of redesign, which includes topological optimization and stress analysis to indeed achieve lighter-weight and safer products than those of the existing, conventional components.
The importance of this project is on the global scale of increasing climate resilience: It takes action on climate change by implementing an innovative method to reduce the weight of aircrafts and; It results in a lighter, safer nose landing gear system which would improve the aircraft performance, leading to reduced carbon dioxide emissions associated with the burning of fossil fuels in aircraft engines.
To Centennial College, this project is one of a kind and the first of its kind at the school. It opens a new capacity for its applied research; wherein the knowledge gained in TO and AM can be transferred to more and similar projects, introducing new project efficiencies and qualities.
But what Dr. Tavakkoli Avval finds the most rewarding is the collaborative nature of this project and how academia and world-class industry partners join forces to address real-world problems. “…How this project and Safran’s engineers challenge our students and how our students introduce new solutions to tackle the issues facing world-class industry partners.” He goes on to encourage us all: “Believe in experiential learning! As the project supervisor, I am in daily contact with the students. Every day of the project, I see how they become better designers, better stress analysts, and more innovative as practitioners. This would not have happened without involving them in an industrial project.”
It also wouldn’t be taking flight without the commitment and ingenuity of colleagues like Dr. Tavakkoli Avval. It’s this kind of applied vision that makes applied research soar.
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