Lassonde professors contribute to award-winning research team at Pratt & Whitney

Support from York University professors in the Lassonde School of Engineering has helped a research team at Pratt & Whitney to win the prestigious Luke Hobbs Technology and Innovation Award that celebrates talented people and innovative products.

Professor Zheng Hong (George) Zhu, Tier 1 York Research Chair in Space Technology, and Associate Professor Alex Czekanski, NSERC/Quanser Chair in Engineering Design for Innovation, both from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, were instrumental in research that led to the award.

This year’s award went to the Nano Composite Stator Assembly project, chosen from 228 nominees and 38 finalists.

Led by Enzo Macchia, senior manager of research and product technology at Pratt & Whitney Canada, the Nano Stator team developed a revolutionary technology changing the composition of the gas turbine component from metal to nano-coating, a product much lighter than current components. This team was supported by Zhu and Czekanski, who played a key role in evaluating the technology and ultimately driving its success.

George Zhu

Alex Czekanski

“[Professor George Zhu and Professor Alex Czekanski’s] help in conducting key tests and analysis early in the program at York University was one of the key stepping stones in evaluating this technology’s great potential and development,” said Macchia. “PWC developed a customized configuration engine part and the professors’ innovative test procedure assisted in understanding and progressing the technology.”

This patented technology was innovated and developed to create a disruptive technology for United Technologies, and it can be applied to other engine components and on Otis, Carrier and other UTC applications. What normally takes years to accomplish, the team did in just 14 months.

Pratt & Whitney is a global manufacturer of aerospace engines. The Pratt & Whitney Luke Hobbs Technology and Innovation Award annually celebrates talented people and innovative products that continue to drive Pratt & Whitney’s time-honoured tradition of dependable engines. The Luke Hobbs Award is the highest award given at Pratt USA and Pratt Canada for technology and innovation. It is the pinnacle award that holds future promise for a breakthrough technology. It was named after aviation pioneer Luke Hobbs who worked at Pratt & Whitney.