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(February 8, 2001, Gazette)

Fast track

Corwyn Moores Photo by Chris Hammond

Corwyn Moores ia an engineering student from L’Anse-au-Clair, Labrador

By Susen Johnson

Graduate engineering student Corwyn Moores isn’t interested in breaking records; he wants to set them.
“I take a lot of enjoyment from doing things no one’s ever done before,” he said. “I like extremes. If it’s a car, it should be faster; a boat – deeper, larger, further. That’s what I like most, that’s what I’m here for.”

Mr. Moores, from L’Anse-au-Clair, Labrador, is a master’s student in the faculty’s fast-track program, and at just 24, he’ll be one of the youngest students to graduate with his degree in ocean and naval architectural engineering this spring.

Grandson of a fisherman, Mr. Moores has spent a lot of time on the water – fishing, swimming, diving, and boating – so the drive to design for water is innate.

“I don’t enjoy being too far from the water,” he explained. “I like moving around, but basically everywhere I’ve gone has been on the saltwater.”

It was his desire to be back on the water in Newfoundland that lead Mr. Moores to change his initial plan to be a marine engineer with the Canadian Navy, and, as soon as ROTP basic training ended, to shift gears and start at Memorial. His brothers soon followed: Justin is doing a honours degree in biology, William is doing one in biochemistry.

A seemingly permanent member of the dean’s list for the
duration of his fast-track B.Eng./M.Eng. program at MUN, Mr. Moores takes his training seriously.

“In naval architecture, maybe more so than the more grounded disciplines, if something goes wrong with a design, you either lose the ship or end up with a serious catastrophe,” he said. “I’m still a student, so I haven’t had a situation yet where one mistake means a problem. But it’s a responsibility that I look forward to taking on. It’s a personal challenge to make sure you do it right the first time.”

Mr. Moores explained how the learning curve or design spiral is one of the things that appealed most about his chosen field.

“It is a science, and at the same time it isn’t,” he said. “Naval architecture started as a ‘black art’. Apprentice boat builders went and learned, and when they saw a mistake they fixed it. And there’s still a fair bit of that still in it, but it’s iterative.”

After workterms that have taken him from St. John’s to Gander to Ottawa, and from Houston, Texas, to Aberdeen, Scotland, Mr. Moores’ most recent project has been performing model scale propeller tests at IMD using their new dynamometer to measure single blade loads involving a propeller in ice. So what does that look like?

“Basically, we tested a propeller at various pitches, which were ran at various thicknesses of ice,” he explained. The goal of the research was to measure the loads of single blades hitting the ice. Most figures only account for the total load of the blades as a group, not differentiating the force generated by the one in the act of hitting the ice from the others, encountering other matter.

“It wasn’t complicated as much as time-consuming, because it was never done before,” Mr. Moores said. “That’s the kind of work I like to do.”

The results from the testing are not only of benefit to IMD client Lloyds Registry (the global shipping insurance magnate with a more-than-passing interest in propeller performance); they are also the stuff of Moores’ master’s thesis, supervised by Drs. Brian Veitch and Neil Bose. With the tests themselves finished in late November, Mr. Moores explained why the analysis hasn’t been easy.

“The amount of data we’re looking at maxxed out IMD’s data-acquisition capability at the time,” he reported.

Laughing, he added, “So yeah, I think I’ve got enough material for my thesis.”

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