John Spray - NBIF - FINB

Spray, PhD

Canada Research Chair

Planetary Materials

John Spray


Advanced Manufacturing

Protecting People in Space, the Air, And on Earth

A recipient of NBIF's R3 Innovation Award for Excellence in Applied Research, John Spray is turning his 25 years experience in what happens to the earth when hit by asteroids and comets into new, tougher and lighter armour for the space, defense and areospace industries. Currently in phase I, he and his team of scientists and researchers have completed the design and construction of a facility that can launch projectiles up to 8 km/s, the speed at which orbital debris can hit satellites and the International Space Station with devastating effects. Now fully operational, his company HIT Dynamics is working with Bombardier Aerospace on the development of a new leading edge wing design, Pratt & Whitney testing the armour around jet engines that prevent blades from escaping when struck by birds, National Defence and NATO.

Phase II of Dr. Spray's project will see the construction of additional facilities for the development of new ceramic materials that could see the weight and thickness of current vehicle armour systems cut in half, including transparent ones for windows. Current armour systems are up to 3.5 inches thick, and can only stop a specific number of threats. Creating new ceramic polymorphs backed by novel nano-textured metals, Dr. Spray's work could revolutionize the industry, giving vehicles much larger ranges, and reducing the energy needed to run and transport them. Materials will be developed to protect space infrastructure and airplanes as well.

In addition to his work in Fredericton, Dr. Spray is also on the scientific team of NASA's Mars Curiousity Mission.