Stephen Corbin

NSERC/Pratt & Whitney Canada Industrial Research Chair in Structural Brazing and Processing of Powder Metallurgy Superalloys

"Research under the NSERC/Pratt and Whitney Canada Industrial Research Chair allows me to grow my love of learning and teaching beyond the classroom and into the lab. It also gives me a chance to work alongside a small group of young, enthusiastic researchers and help them further development their science and engineering skills, an especially gratifying part of my job. The fact that the problems we solve together have the potential to help Canadian companies become more competitive is an added benefit." - Dr. Stephen Corbin

Reducing costs and energy in aerospace manufacturing

The Challenge
Today's gas turbine engines are subjected to high temperatures and aggressive environments. These demanding conditions require engine parts which are manufactured using specialized and expensive nickel-based superalloys. Current manufacturing methods require that engine parts are forged out of large blocks of metal, resulting in up to 90% wasted materials, which is both costly and environmentally unfriendly.  

The challenge is to develop cost effective manufacturing methods that use less energy, result in less waste, and reduce the overall impact on the environment. Dr. Stephen Corbin, professor and NSERC/Pratt & Whitney Canada Industrial Research Chair in Structural Brazing and Processing of Powder Metallurgy Superalloys will address these challenges through the research performed under the Industrial Research Chair award.

The Approach
In partnership with Pratt Whitney Canada, Dr. Corbin and his team will use a variety of thermal analysis tools to investigate the details of metallurgical processes, such as brazing, which are used to manufacture gas turbine engines. These thermal analysis tools allow a measure of a sample's thermal properties during a simulated manufacturing operation in the lab, providing a view of what's happening inside the material.

Dr. Corbin has also been awarded prestigious grants from Canadian Foundation for Innovation Leaders Opportunities Fund and the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust, providing him with the equipment he will need to carry out this research.

Ultimately, this work will further develop the use of near net shape manufacturing in the aerospace industry. Optimizing the manufacturing process may lead to being able to redesign engines to make them lighter, reducing the weight of the plane, the need for fuel, and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions.  

Dr. Corbin's graduate students and research team benefit from a unique opportunity to work closely with their industry partner. "We're also training highly qualified people: key to keeping the industry healthy here in Canada" says Corbin.

If you would like to know more about the work of the NSERC/Pratt and Whitney Canada Industrial Research Chair, visit the High Temperature Thermal Analysis Laboratory website.