Collaboration with Industries

Since the Research Chair has been working primarily on problems relevant to MPR Teltech, research activities have been geared towards telecommunication and information technologies. However, the electromagnetic field modeling research performed by the Research Chair has proven to be suitable for solving a much broader range of problems. Because of this, and following the recommendations of ASI and MPR Teltech, a spin-off company (Faustus Scientific Corporation) has been incorporated to develop software tools and to provide consulting services.

Faustus Scientific Corporation

Faustus Scientific Corporation is a knowledge-based company founded on September 25, 1996 by members of the Computational Electromagnetics Research Laboratory (CERL) at the University of Victoria. Its mission is to translate state-of-the-art research expertise and knowledge in electro-magnetic modeling into world-class software tools and services. These shall empower educators, researchers and design engineers to solve challenging problems that involve electro-magnetic fields and waves. At present, Faustus employs two persons.

At the present time, Faustus Scientific Corporation is developing a Multi-Purpose Electromagnetic Field Simulation Tool (MEFiSTo) which can be fitted with specialized user interface modules suitable for specific modeling tasks such as wave-guide components, antennas, EMI/C problems, and RF/Vacuum wood drying. Knowledge and expertise gained in the course of research funded partially by ASI will be implemented in MEFiSTo and thus contributes to the development of a tool set that will empower companies requiring such modeling capabilities. The wood-drying module is being developed in close collaboration with Glade Technologies (see below). In the short term, Faustus Scientific Corporation is also providing consulting and problem solving services to clients. In the area of RF drying, Faustus is performing electromagnetic simulations for MacMillan Bloedel Research (see below), thus extending research expertise gained in the course of this project to key players in the BC Forest Industry.

Contacts: W. Hoefer, M. Righi

Glade Technologies Ltd.

A joint research program to model RF drying of softwood lumber is being conducted, and a contract with Glade has been completed to create appropriate software modules that could be used to verify the proper functioning of a RF/Vacuum Kiln by predicting the evolution of wood moisture content. Glade Technologies and its subsidiary HeatWave Drying Systems have a very keen interest in the modeling of RF/Vacuum kilns and has invaluable expertise in this technology, thus making it a very desirable industrial partner for the purpose of software tool development. HeatWave has agreed to be an alpha tester of MEFiSTo, and a full set of MEFiSTo executable files for Pentium PC have been transferred to HeatWave. At present, MEFiSTo only covers the electromag-netic part from which initial heat dissipation can be extracted. As soon as the coupled models have been validated, they will be incorporated into MEFiSTo for further testing by other practitioners.

Terry Enegren of HeatWave has spent several days in the Computational Electromagetics Research Laboratory at UVic to familiarize himself with the software and to provide user feedback on the features of the software.

Contacts: R. Zwick, T. Enegren

Environmental Sensing and Agriculture Canada.

The Chair has conducted a joint research project with Environmental Sensing (formerly Gabel Corporation in Victoria) to model the propagation of electromagnetic impulses on various soil moisture probes fabricated by this BC company. The model not only predicts the performance of existing designs and visualizes their mode of operation, but it also allows for optimization of the probe cross section for maximum sensitivity to the moisture in the soil. Furthermore it can evaluate the effects of air and water films on the probe performance, and predict the impact of soil inhomogeneities (stones, water pockets, metal objects) on the measured results.

As a result of the preliminary research results that demonstrated the capability of our modeling approach, Environmental Sensing and Agriculture Canada have contracted Faustus Scientific Corporation to develop a new sensor that possesses superior sensitivity and measurement accuracy.

Contacts: R. McFarlane (Gabel), C. Topp (Agriculture Canada)

Macmillan Bloedel Research, Salton Fabrication, Glade Technologies.

A Industrially Oriented Research (IOR) project supported by MB-Research, Salton Fabrication and Glade Technologies as Industrial Partners is being pursued in collaboration with Dr. S. Avramidis of UBC. Industrial funds are matched by ASI and NSERC. This project has led to the development of a coupled electromagnetic/thermal/mass transfer model of wood, and experimental validation of this model using the vacuum/rf kiln at UBC is now being prepared.

Furthermore, research expertise and know-how generated in the course of this research, is presently supporting new technology developments at MB Research in Burnaby. For reasons of confidentiality these services are provided through Faustus Scientific Corporation. UVic and its spin-off company Faustus are the only providers of RF wood modeling and simulation support in B.C. By developing a wood drying module for the tool MEFiSTo, Faustus intends to enable B.C. companies to do their own modeling in-house

Contacts: M. Churchland, N. Kott

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