Queen’s University

Reactor Materials Testing Laboratory

“The facility provides a unique capability in Canada to support the development of materials for advanced reactor systems, and to improve our understanding of materials in use in existing reactors.”

– Rick Holt, Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Queen’s University

HH Angus has a long-standing and highly-valued relationship with Queen’s University, spanning many years and many diverse areas of the campus. For this project, we were engaged to provide mechanical and electrical engineering design services for the University’s new Reactor Materials Testing Laboratory (RTML). The RMTL is an exciting research endeavour for the Queen’s Nuclear Materials Group. It uses a proton accelerator to introduce damage into materials at a microscopic scale.

HH Angus was the M+E engineer for the specialized laboratory building. With TEM* and SEM** rooms requiring critical temperature and humidity control, and HVEE linear accelerator room, this building is a ‘function drives form’ project, with the laboratory equipment dictating all the infrastructure services and spaces. Significant time was spent to ensure appropriate services could be accommodated after the delivery of the equipment and to allow for changes in services that may occur with changing equipment.

The 8000 ft2 facility was custom designed to house electron microscopes and a linear accelerator for a specific research program. A highly specialized building, with toxic gas and radiation protection, the site features an accelerator hall, control room, services rooms, laboratories for specimen preparation and characterization, and working space for researchers.

A significant challenge that our team overcame was the design of mechanical and electrical building services that need to pass through the one-metre thick bunker walls for the linear accelerator room. The walls contain stray electrons, the potential for which also required the use of non-conductive chilled water. 


*Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is a microscopy technique whereby a beam of electrons is transmitted through an ultra-thin specimen

** A scanning electron microscope (SEM) produces images of a sample by scanning it with a focused beam of electrons

Mechanical Engineering

Size: 8,000 ft2 | Status: Completed 2013

Kingston, Ontario

Specialized laboratory building | Critical temperature and humidity control | Toxic gas and radiation protection | M&E building services had to pass through one-metre thick bunker walls