Centre of Excellence funding announced
FacilitiesCollege of the North Atlantic maintains a number of specialized facilities for teaching and research. These facilities offer a variety of services and opportunities for research. These resources include:
- Applied Entomology Lab
- Innovative Product Development Centre
- Manufacturing Technology Centre
- Nanotechnology Lab
- Petroleum Specialty Centre
- Wave Energy Research Centre
- Applied Minerology and Chemical Analysis Lab
Applied Entomology Lab
Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? No, we’re not actually working on that, but it’s not that we couldn’t. College of the North Atlantic’s Applied Entomology Laboratory in Carbonear does in fact study the impact of insect activity on humans. But we keep things a little closer to home; how bees help our beloved blueberries, for example. Entomology is the study of insects, and it’s a very valuable science when we start looking at how the little critters affect our plants. Dr. Barry Hicks is an entomologist at the Applied Entomology Laboratory, and bees represent just one area of his research. Bees and their pollination activities are clearly beneficial to many of our native plant species of course, but there are also insects that threaten our plants. Notorious examples include the spruce budworm and the hemlock looper, two destructive species that have wreaked havoc on our forests in the past. Is there a safe, natural way to control such pests? That’s exactly the focus of Dr. Hicks’s research into a fungus called Beauveria bassiana. It grows naturally in soils worldwide, and – conveniently – kills various insect species, including the budworm and the looper. The research hopes to identify a sufficiently fatal strain of the fungus, and then figure out how to cultivate lots of it and prepare the spores for aerial spraying. And speaking of nasty insects, we all love to brag about the mosquitoes here in Newfoundland and Labrador. They’re big, and they’re annoying; that much we know for sure. But do they carry disease, as they do in some other parts of the world? In fact, we don’t know for certain, but the Entomology Lab hopes to determine what kinds and quantities – if any – of potential disease carrying mosquitoes actually share our home.
In keeping with the Office of Applied Research’s mandate to pass along benefits of research to our communities, the lab readily shares its information and expertise. Dr. Hicks has worked with the provincial Department of Natural Resources, and occasionally is a guest of CBC’s Radio Noon call-in show, answering questions on entomology. And you might say this one is hot off the press ... Dr. Hicks has been working to determine the distribution of a recent immigrant to the province - the invasive ant, Myrmica rubra, or European Fire Ant.
Innovative Product Development Centre
A sad chapter in Newfoundland and Labrador’s history is memorialized near the French village of Beaumont-Hamel, where most of the Newfoundland Regiment perished on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The memorial includes three large bronze plaques listing the names of the nearly 800 fallen. Today, many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians make the pilgrimage to this memorial site, but for those who can’t, there is a place closer to home where they can view a faithful replica of the Beaumont-Hamel site and monument. Appropriately, present-day Newfoundland and Labrador skill and know-how played a role in making this possible. A 3D laser scanner owned by the Office of Applied Research was used on-site at Beaumont-Hamel to scan the emblems that top the plaques. The scanned data was used to create a three-dimensional computer model, which in turn was sent to a ‘3D printer’, which created plastic moulds of the emblems for casting. Thanks in part to this work, Newfoundlanders, Labradorians and others who wish to honour the memory of these heroes can now visit the Beaumont-Hamel memorial replica – complete with precisely replicated plaques – at Bowring Park in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Not all the projects at the Innovative Product Development Centre (IPDC) are quite as dramatic as this of course, but they are no less innovative or valuable. Using CAD design, 3D laser scanning, 3D printing in ABS plastics, rapid prototyping, and injection moulding for prototype production, we help companies with research and design tasks, production of prototypes, and early stage production of prototype injection moulds. And while it may sound very technical, it’s not just for techies. We’ve helped a number of artists bring their creative ideas to fruition. Take furniture designer Christina Hilborne of Splintered Minx Inc., for example, who needed a scale model of a line of innovative plastic illuminated furniture she envisioned. After getting help from the centre in securing funding, Christina says, “I spent several hours with Randal (Power), discussing various designs, the pros and cons of different shapes and sizes, and of different plastic moulding methods. His input was invaluable, and, as a scientist, he was very patient with my artistic caprice! Together we came up with five different designs, which Randal created digitally using the program SolidWorks, and which he then printed out, in one-fifth scale, on the department’s 3D printer. Seeing things in three dimensions, even if they are scaled down in size, is incredibly helpful, compared to on a computer screen.”
Our work on other projects has helped create prototypes of parts destined for inclusion in all types of products, from coffee makers, to chocolate moulds, to mechanical prototypes. In fact, we’ve produced nearly 300 different parts for outside clients! Our projects are limited only by your ingenuity. Please contact us if have a project in mind, or would like further information.
Innovative Product Development Centre
Prince Philip Drive Campus, St. John’s, NL
Manufacturing Technology Centre
So, you’ve a great idea for a product, but you don’t have an injection moulding machine lying around to create that prototype? Well, you’re in luck, because we have one here, at the Manufacturing Technology Centre! We also have a vacuum former, a coordinate measuring machine, a wire electrical discharge machine, computer numerical-controlled machining centers and lathes, and a CO2 Laser. We have all this and a full-time technician to help you. This means you can quickly create complex geometric models of product concepts, and THAT means you get your product to market faster and cheaper.
In 1996 the Manufacturing Technology Centre came into being, with the clear goal of fostering the growth of the manufacturing sector in Newfoundland & Labrador. Since then, we’ve worked diligently toward that goal by helping companies with research, prototyping, custom training, consultation — anything and everything related to manufacturing. In fact, we’re proud to report that since then, more than 50 such projects have passed through our facility. The benefits to our clients have run the gamut from simple, helpful advice, to prototypes, to patent assistance, and so many areas in between. We’ve helped some companies you’ve probably heard of, like ACAN, Lotek Wireless, Provincial Airlines, Weathershore Windows, Precision Industries, and many more Newfoundland and Labrador companies, products, and expertise. Anyone need help ... get in touch with us.
Manufacturing Technology Centre
Prince Philip Drive Campus
It might be located in “The Big Land”, but research at the Nanotechnology Research Lab in Labrador deals with some incredibly small stuff. How small, you ask? Well, we’re talking nanometers. The period at the end of this sentence measures about 100 million nanometers across. And guys, your beard grew by several nanometers while you read that sentence. Nanotechnology involves working with materials – modifying them, shaping them, and creating with them – at the nanometer level. It is science and engineering at the scale of atoms and molecules. Nanotechnology is an emerging field, but already it boasts a vast array of both potential and working applications. This is because particles at such a small scale exhibit very unusual properties, which have been harnessed to produce such things as stain repellent khakis, golf club heads that are lighter yet stronger, and sunscreens that spread more easily, cover better, and are transparent on the skin.
In the Materials and Nanotechnology Research Lab, Dr. Gurinder K. Ahluwalia pursues research in various areas of nanotechnology such as Materials Characterization, Amorphous Semiconductors, Surfactants and Polymers, Self Assemblies, Nano-photo-mechanical Systems and Nonlinear Optics. Resulting applications in electronic and optoelectronic devices will yield improvements in optical data storage technologies, allowing us to store even more information on our DVDs and memory sticks, and access it even faster.
In other areas, Dr. Ahluwalia’s work on synthesizing gold nano-particles (under ambient conditions in aqueous phases by using surfactants as soft templates) has been published in peer-reviewed journals. She has achieved the assembly of nanowires: tiny structures that can then be used as building blocks for further applications in advancing technology. Her work even has potential in battling cancer, with recent achievements in the biomineralization (creation) of the element Selenium with a protein called bovine serum albumin (BSA). Clearly, nanotechnology holds tremendous promise, and in fact is already delivering on that promise. We’re confident there will be more big (or small) things coming from the Nanotechnology Research Lab in the future.
For information about what we do or how we can help you please contact us.
Nanotechnology Research Lab
Labrador West Campus
Petroleum Specialty Centre
In 1497, explorer John Cabot reported to the King of England that “the sea is full of fish, which are not only taken with a net, but also with a basket, a stone being fastened to it in order to keep it in the water.” Five hundred years later, Newfoundland and Labrador’s prosperity remains closely bound to the sea. But now it’s more about oil than fish, and the technology required is not as simple as a stone and basket.
An array of sophisticated techniques, tools, skills, and equipment is required to coax that oil from miles beneath the sea floor. College of the North Atlantic plays a major role in ensuring many of those skills are available here in the province, through its Petroleum Specialty Centre at the Seal Cove Campus, where it maintains state-of-the-art equipment related to petroleum production, well control, fluid hydraulics and industrial instrumentation. While this equipment and expertise is essential to delivering introductory and advanced training to students enrolled in the college’s Petroleum Technology courses, it is also used to develop and deliver custom courses for industrial clients in the oil and gas sectors. Offshore oil drilling is expensive and dangerous work, making on the job training a great challenge. One response to that challenge is to take advantage of simulations wherever possible. To this end, a key facility at the centre is a fully operational drilling rig, with associated support. Other resources include Well Control and Process Loop simulators, a Reservoir Analysis Laboratory and Modeling Software, a Production Process Facility, and an Instrumentation and Controls System. The centre’s capabilities go beyond training. For example, the college is partnered with the University of Cape Breton and the university of New Brunswick in a project called “Petroleum Applications of Wireless Systems” (PAWS), aimed at developing a fully automated wireless control system for oil and gas installations. The facilities allow petroleum companies to test new equipment and procedures; again, in the safety of a controlled environment. There is also a strong opportunity for applied research in network-based remote control of petroleum production related instrumentation.
Please contact us to discuss potential research and development projects, training opportunities, or other activities related to the offshore petroleum industry.
Petroleum Specialty Centre
Seal Cove campus
Wave Energy Research Centre (WERC)
The southeast coast of the Burin Peninsula is home to the ‘perfect storm’ of conditions for wave energy research: a unique combination of geography (significant waves, winds, tidal currents, and year round ice free harbours) and technological capability (metal fabrication, welding QA/failure analysis, electronics, control systems, biologists, chemists, and more) at the CNA campus in Burin. The centre is currently home to an NSERC Community and College Innovation – Innovation Enhancement project. This five year project is focused on developing an economical wave powered pump to deliver water to an on-shore aquaculture farm and on developing the methods and technology necessary for a land-based multi-trophic aquaculture farm. A longer-term goal is to establish a prototype - the first in Canada - for modeling commercial-scale polyculture, which would have significant potential for fish harvesters, processors and buyers, and aquaculturists.
To support this research, significant work has been done at the WERC site in Lord’s Cove: building and wharf renovations, and installation of piping, data acquisition equipment and telecommunications equipment, for example. The data from the site’s weather station is available on their website. This infrastructure, and the expertise and technology found at the college’s Burin Campus, are available to interested parties. Ocean Technology and Wave Energy Centre
Documents and Forms
- Wave Energy Research Centre - Aquaculture Facility (901kb)
- Wave Energy Research Centre - Infrastructure and Capacity (1649kb)
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