Canadian Consulting Engineer

Silence please: Canada’s Nanotechnology laboratory opens

The $52.2-million National Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Alberta officially opened last month.

July 6, 2006   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The $52.2-million National Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Alberta officially opened last month.
The facility is designed as “Canada’s quietest space,” with ultra-low vibration and minimal acoustical noise or electro- magnetic interference. Such an environment is essential for research at the nano-scale.
The company Cohos Evamy of Edmonton was the architect and structural engineer on the project. Hemisphere Engineering did the mechanical engineering and Stantec did the electrical design. The 20,000 square metre building is to be shared by the National Research Council of Canada’s National Institute for Nanotechnology and the University of Alberta. It will also lease space to tenants working on commercializing nanotechnology.
Its seven floors include laboratories, underground clean rooms, and a mechanical penthouse.
Nanotechnology is defined as the application of science to developing new materials and processes by manipulating molecular and atomic particles.
A nanometre is a billionth of a metre, i.e. about 1/80,000 of the diameter of a human hair, or 10 times the diameter of a hydrogen atom.
In order to isolate the laboratories from sound and vibration, the laboratories are in a single-storey structure sitting on 9000-mm isolation slabs and supported on four piles. The laboratories have to be 30 metres from elevators in order to minimize the electromagnetic fields. As well, power is distributed in rigid galvanized steel conduit with twisted wiring.
See Canadian Consulting Engineer, August-September 2004, page 31.


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