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Engineering professors receive funding under a new NSERC grant

Drs. Faisal Khan and Kelly Hawboldt

By Jackey Locke

Drs. Faisal Khan and Kelly Hawboldt with Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science didn’t waste any time applying for a new grant through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to advance research to advance the world in which we live.

The new Engage Grants (EG) program is intended to give companies that operate from a Canadian base access to the unique knowledge and expertise available at Canadian universities. This program is intended to foster the development of new research partnerships between academic researchers and companies that have never collaborated together before, by supporting short-term research and development projects aimed at addressing a company-specific problem.

The Safety and Risk Engineering group at Memorial is a leading research team in the area of fault diagnosis, failure analysis and risk assessment in offshore oil and gas and process industries. Dr. Khan heads up this team and his project aims to develop a new collaborative research partnership with Mad Rock Marine Solutions Inc. (MRMS) to apply the in-house knowledge and expertise to do a risk analysis of MRMS’s new generation of RocLoc series of lifeboats release hooks. These hooks are known to fail in demand, and since their demand comes during an emergency situation, failure to function is of serious consequences.

“The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has made it mandatory to do detailed risk assessments on all advanced lifeboat release hooks. My project will aim to do a detailed risk assessment of Mad Rock Marine Solutions Inc.’s RocLoc hook,” explained Dr. Khan.

Dr. Khan will receive $24,500 over the next six months to further develop a joint project with Mad Rock Marine Solutions, Inc. on advanced hooks for lifeboats. The money will be used to hire an engineering co-op student and to purchase advanced software tools to do the risk analysis.

Dr. Khan said he applied for this grant to share the expertise with local industries and to fill the knowledge gap. He explained that projects such as this help to develop a close collaboration with local technological based industries. Such collaboration helps to undertake real life applied research and provides a competitive edge to the industry having access to technical expertise.

Dr. Hawboldt will receive $20,500 to work with Martec Limited, a leading Canadian engineering firm specializing in advanced engineering simulation technology for the design and analysis of complex structures and systems, such as aircraft and ships, to develop a model to predict combustion efficiency and predict emissions for gas inventories and linking to plume dispersion models.

“Martec has a really strong research group in CFD modelling, which is basically modelling complex fluid flows (gas and liquid). For instance, they can model how fires and gases disperse in explosions or fires, so they can predict how the fire will travel or how the explosive gases might transport in the atmosphere. Together, we will try to model the flare in offshore oil and gas platforms. Flares are used under emergency shut down or pressure situations where you have waste gas that you need to relieve to prevent an accident but the thicker combustion efficiency is difficult to predict and the combustion determines the dispersion and the type of emissions,” she added.