Clean and NextGen Materials


A more sustainable future requires the development of products with improved performance, productivity and efficiency while at the same time reducing costs, energy consumption and waste. Meeting that goal requires research in advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, and valorization and the extraction of resources from what was previously considered waste.

ADVANCED MANUFACTURING

Reducing the weight of components in the transportation sector is one part of the strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transportation sector. When lightweight structures are manufactured using technologies that are efficient in both energy and material usage, the carbon footprint is even further reduced.

POWDER METALLURGY
Paul BishopKevin Plucknett and Stephen Corbin are developing innovations in the area of powder metallurgy (PM) processing of innovative products for the aerospace and automotive sectors. Paul Bishop’s research pertains to the conversion of metallic powders into engineered components for a range of industrial sectors. His activities in PM stress the development and commercialization of robust industrial processing practices, hot forging of aluminum PM alloys, advanced mechanical property testing of PM alloys, and titanium PM. Stephen Corbin is currently the NSERC/Pratt and Whitney Canada Industrial Research Chair in Structural Brazing and Processing of PM Superalloys. His work is primarily in the areas of metal injection molding PM and joining of light metals (e.g. Al and Ti) and Ni based superalloys for aerospace and automotive applications. He specializes in the application of high temperature thermal analyses, including differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Laser Flash Thermal Diffusivity (LFTD), combined DSC/Thermogravimetry(TG)/gas chromatography-mass spectrometry(GC-MS) and dilatometry, to various PM and brazing operations. Together, sintering and brazing represent net shape, manufacturing methods that reduce costs, energy usage and materials waste, making them sustainable manufacturing methods. Kevin Plucknett's PM research currently the effects of water jet peening on PM products made from titanium and aluminum alloys.

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING
Paul Bishop is developing additive manufacturing (AM) processing strategies designed to accommodate a range of material systems that include light metal alloys based on aluminum and titanium, high durability metal/ceramic composites, and advanced high strength steels. Core AM technologies of interest include laser powder bed fusion, directed energy (laser) deposition, and binder jet printing.  His work also emphasizes the use of powder fed laser deposition as a means to repair worn components and for the free-form fabrication of prototypes.  Ali Nasiri is currently a Canada Research Chair working on the fabrication of large structural components by means of wire-fed AM technology.  He also studies the processing of aluminum alloys in the context of laser powder bed fusion. Kevin Plucknett's research on AM emphasizes the design and development of functional gradient materials.  Core materials of interest include tool steels and cermet material systems.

Photo by Thiago Medeiros Araujo on Unsplash

ADVANCED MATERIALS

COATINGS
Kevin Plucknett is developing high performance ceramic-metal composites and coatings, boride-based coatings on titanium and iron alloys.

SUPERALLOYS
Stephen Corbin is developing Ni-based superalloys for aerospace and automotive applications, with particular interest in optimizing existing manufacturing methods and understanding processing-microstructure-property relationships.

CERAMICS AND CERMETS
Kevin Plucknett’s research focuses on high performance ceramic-metal composites and coatings. He has also worked with Brian Lilley to investigate novel ceramic material and production techniques and in situ environmental interactions, beneficial to microclimate systems.

POLYMERS
Alison Scott designs polymeric materials for target applications by investigating links between polymerization synthesis conditions (and polymerization kinetics), polymer structure, polymer properties, and industry-specific application requirements. A statistically informed design approach ensures the best use of available resources during material development (avoiding trial-and-error techniques) and leads to improved application performance.

COMPOSITES
Farid Taheri works on a novel 3D-fiber metal laminate composite (3D-FML), which is both lightweight and resilient, offering significant stiffness, strength and impact resistance that is more cost-effective when compared to the conventional fiber-reinforced polymer composite (FRP).  Current efforts are in progress to develop a new generation of the 3D-FML that will be eco-friendly, sustainable, and cost-effective.  A new rendition of the 3D-FML is also being developed by hybridization of the 3D-FML with graphene nanoparticles (GNP) and the hybrid composite is being optimized computationally.  His group is also testing a unique thermoplastic resin in conjunction with the new 3D-FML. Pedram Sadeghian is exploring innovative and sustainable solutions that can be applied to different features of civil engineering infrastructure. His team uses advanced materials such as fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites and innovative technologies to upgrade existing infrastructure and build new ones with longer life span, less environmental footprint, and better service. Kevin Plucknett is developing high performance ceramic-metal composites.

GLASS
Josef Zwanziger is interested in the development of new glassy materials for application in optical instruments and construction, using a combination of experimental, computational, and theoretical approaches to understand glass structure and environmental response.

ELECTRONIC MATERIALS
Ghada Koleilat investigates the properties of colloidal quantum dots and carbon nanotubes to develop their potential in the next generation of electronics, including new light-absorbing solar cells and electronic textiles. Ian Hill studies and develops organic electronic materials and devices (OLEDs), with a particular interest in Organic Thin Film Transistors and organic-based solar cells. Michael Freund is focusing on the development of new conducting polymers and novel synthetic approaches to facilitate the use of conducting polymers in emerging technologies. Mita Dasog’s research interests lie in the preparation of nano- and micro-materials using solid-state reactions. Her group is working on the development of low-cost ceramic plasmonic nanostructures with applications in desalination, water treatment, disinfection, and sensing purposes. Kimberley Hall applies ultrafast optical techniques to the study of rapid processes in semiconductor materials of interest for a variety of applications, including solar cells, photonic and spintronic devices, and next generation computing technologies that would exploit quantum mechanical effects.  

BIOMATERIALS
Nandika Bandara develops biobased and renewable polymers to create materials with uses as diverse as adhesives and wound healing materials. Laurent Kreplak investigates the design rules underlying the unique mechanical properties of protein assemblies, cells and tissues, studying the relationship between structure and mechanical properties for peptides and proteins assemblies. Kevin Plucknett‘s research interests in advanced engineering materials includes polysaccharide and protein biopolymers, with particular interest in processing-microstructure-property relationships. Peng Zhang works on the use of nanoparticles in a variety of applications, including orthopedic implants, as chemical scaffolds to regulate the enzymatic activity and in protein separation, with potential for other applications such as drug delivery, MRI contrast agents and hyperthermia therapy.

NANOTECHNOLOGY
Nandika Bandara is interested in the application of nanotechnology and material science to improve therapeutic efficacy and bioavailability of bioactive/drug molecules. Peng Zhang‘s research is intended to improve the ability to precisely control the structure and properties of multi-component nanoparticles by developing efficient synthetic methodology and exploring the applications of these nanoparticles in catalysis, energy and biomedicine. Mita Dasog is working on developing inexpensive ceramic plasmonic nanostructures primarily composed of transition metal nitrides and carbides for applications in desalination, water treatment, disinfection, and sensing purposes. Her research also includes engineering photocatalyst nanoparticles to enhance carrier collection and improve the overall efficiency of the chemical reaction. Ted Monchesky investigates nanomagnetic materials, growing nanolayers of chiral magnets by molecular beam epitaxy and exploring the influence of strain and nanoscale size on the magnetic structure. Ghada Koleilat investigates nanomaterials to develop their light absorbing materials, next generation electronics sensors and electronic textiles.

Photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash

 

WASTE TO RESOURCE

Waste utilization and treatment are among the research interests of Su-Ling Brooks and Quan Sophia He with the development of biofuels and biochemicals from biowaste and non-conventional crops a particular focus. Su-Ling Brooks  and her team have had recent projects in the recovery of high-value compounds (e.g. bioactives, enzymes, nutraceuticals) from process wastes and the conversion of process wastes into higher-value products (e.g. oils, fermentation products).

Quan Sophia He and Azadeh Kermanshahi-pour study anaerobic digestion and the potential uses for the by-products of that process. Focussing on reaction engineering and separation engineering, Quan Sophia He works on the development of biofuels and biochemicals from non-conventional crops and biowaste, novel  nanocatalyst development and applications and the separation of chiral drugs and chiral pesticides. Azadeh Kermanshahi-pour's research is centered on derivation of bioenergy and value-added chemicals from renewable resources within an integrated biorefinery.  Her focus area extends to the development of green extraction processes using supercritical fluids, as well as anaerobic digestion, bioremediation, identification of biodegradation pathway of chemicals in the environment and the treatment/reuse of effluent streams from industrial sources.