ARCHIVED - President's Insight
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May 08, 2008— Ottawa, Ontario
Advances in Aerospace
As we continue to implement Science at Work for Canada, NRC's strategy that will lead us to 2011, we are targeting considerable research and development efforts to support critical industrial sectors, one of which is aerospace.
Aerospace is among Canada's most dynamic sectors, and earns revenues of nearly $22 billion annually. The country also leads in a host of key market segments, such as commercial flight simulators, civil helicopters and aircraft engines. This industry includes over 400 aerospace companies located from coast to coast – such as Pratt & Whitney, Bombardier and Rolls-Royce – and provides 79,000 workers with high-quality jobs.
NRC has been involved in aerospace research since 1947 and has contributed to its success by collaborating with hundreds of companies on countless projects. Today, NRC continues to play an essential role in this booming sector. Through our extensive multidisciplinary expertise, NRC offers unprecedented scientific support to this industry, ensuring it remains on the leading edge of aerospace innovation.
Recently – for the first time in Canada – a joint team, involving NRC aerospace researchers and prominent industry partners, demonstrated automated fibre placement (AFP) technology and other NRC proprietary technologies for use in manufacturing aircraft primary composite structures. The AFP technology replaces the labour-intensive hand lay-up of composite materials prior to curing them in an autoclave. The result is a cost-effective, fast, fully reproducible way to make aircraft parts, particularly those with moderate to high degrees of curvature and a high level of structural integration.
As part of the NRC Aerospace key sector plan, new synergies have developed involving almost every NRC institute in one way or another. For example, NRC construction researchers have been studying and improving air quality in buildings for decades. Through our collaborative research approach, these results can now be directly applied to improving air quality aboard aircrafts, which is a growing concern for pilots, flight attendants and frequent flyers.
NRC is also dedicated to moving toward an environmentally sustainable aerospace industry. For example, NRC researchers are developing a new class of aircraft materials based on carbon nanotubes and reinforced composites. These lightweight, high-strength materials have many potentially groundbreaking applications for lighter, stronger components and more fuel-efficient aircrafts.
We also encourage innovation by giving aerospace firms coordinated access to NRC's research leaders and state-of-the-art facilities. No other single organization in Canada can offer this level of collaboration and assistance to this vital, Canadian industry. That is why NRC is, and will remain, a key player in this dynamic sector.
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