Aisha Al-Zouaghi, an undergraduate student,  who is supervised by Professor Paul Simms, won third place at an Innovation Challenge event hosted by Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO). As part of Carleton’s Tailings Research Group (, Al-Zouaghi researches how to end catastrophic failures of mine waste impoundments. These disasters unfortunately occur around the world with some regularity, the latest disaster in Brazil in January 2019 claiming 300 lives. Al-Zouaghi found that polymer can be applied to change the fabric of gold mine tailings, stopping their propensity to rapidly lose strength after a dam breach, potentially eliminating the deadly consequence of such failures. This information was used to design a simple prototype that can be used in the field to deposit the tailings at their optimum strength with the added benefit that it is practical, simple and cheap.