Ibrahim G. Ogunsanya has joined the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering as an assistant professor. His research focuses on the durability and sustainability of materials and structures across several engineering sectors.
Ogunsanya received his PhD in Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Waterloo, where he studied structural engineering problems. He completed his first post-doctoral fellowship at Waterloo, focusing on automotive mechanical engineering problems.
Before joining CivMin, Ogunsanya was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry at U of T, where he researched nuclear engineering problems.
Writer Phill Snel spoke with Ogunsanya to learn more about his research, his multidisciplinary academic journey and plans for the next few years.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a Nigerian-Canadian with a BSc degree in Metallurgical & Materials Engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria; and both my MASc and PhD degrees are in Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering from the University of Waterloo, Canada.
I have also taught material science and engineering courses to individuals across the aforementioned departments/fields, and to biomedical engineering students. It is safe to say I have had a multidisciplinary academic journey. My passion outside academia is soccer.
Could you explain the focus of your research?
Simply put, my research focuses on the durability and sustainability of materials and structures across all engineering sectors. I study the processing-structure-property-degradation relationship to develop new durable and sustainable materials, but also to improve existing materials, from ferrous (iron and steel) and non-ferrous (aluminum, nickel, copper, etc.) alloys and superalloys to cement and concrete.
Over the years, the majority of my study has been on durability and sustainability of reinforced structures because we continue to expose our infrastructure to harsher environmental conditions but ask more of their service life. My role has, therefore, been to select appropriate material (reinforcing bars, cement and concrete) combinations that solve our immediate and future needs of economy, safety, durability and sustainability. To date, I have been known for my study on corrosion of metals in this field. Individuals with a similar focus may reach out!
Why did you choose U of T Engineering?
When U of T comes calling, you answer! Well, they call because they want to fill a gap in the department and University, and you answer only if you think you are that part of their missing puzzle.
Top universities require top professionals to remain on top, and top professionals require top universities to grow and evolve. Our new relationship is a befitting one! U of T is equipped with robust research facilities that fit my multidisciplinary research ideas, it is located in the industrial part of Canada that attracts industry collaboration, the faculty members are top of their field and are there to grow with, the students leave the institution to become top-class in the world. I think you get the point now.
What are you most looking forward to in your new position?
The infinite opportunities! The opportunity to impact students with experiential knowledge, the opportunity to mentor them, the opportunity to learn from them, especially after returning from their co-op jobs, and the opportunity to collaborate with faculty members in various research projects. I look forward to it all – giving and benefiting! I am just an email away!
What is one piece of advice you would give to new students?
Enjoy life! No one is ever free of worry and there’s no step you take in life where you don’t fear the unknown. Your grades will be fine, enjoy the learning! Your dream job will come, be patient and happy in the current one! Your start-up will make an impact, focus on gathering the knowledge now.
There’s not much we can do about the unknown and worrying doesn’t help it either, so, just enjoy life: take each day at a time, set your goals and embrace the different paths to your success.
What do you hope to accomplish during your time at U of T Engineering?
I want to build a research group that will impact and grow the concrete materials section, CivMin, U of T Engineering, and the civil and materials engineering world.
My ambition has always been to make an impact in the world, however small. I hope to positively impact the lives of those around me because people come first! I strongly believe the engineering future is now and here, and I hope to expose the limitless opportunities in the civil engineering world during my time here.
Finally, is there anything unexpected about yourself you would like to share?
My career choice as a kid was between soccer and academia. I eventually chose the latter. I did not regret it, but I still think about what might have been. Now, I referee soccer games across Ontario, play friendly soccer games and almost never miss watching a soccer match.