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Polytechnique Montréal inaugurates NSERC research chair


September 28, 2012
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Polytechnique Montréal, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and seven industry partners have joined forces to create the NSERC Multisectorial Industrial Research Chair in Coatings and Surface Engineering (MIC-CSE), to focus on non-polluting manufacturing technologies.

 As the country’s second-largest industrial research chair awarded by the NSERC, all fields combined, the MIC-CSE will benefit from a budget of $5.35 million over five years from NSERC ($2.6 million), and from seven partners (a total of $2.75 million): Essilor, Hydro-Québec, Guardian Industries Corp., Pratt & Whitney Canada, Velan, JDS Uniphase and the Canadian Space Agency.

Research will focus on developing a new generation of non-polluting manufacturing technologies for nanostructured coating materials. These processes make it possible to add successive layers of nanometre-thick films and thicker coating architectures using various materials (metals, ceramics, polymers, nanoparticles or others) on to flat surfaces as well as on three-dimensional objects. Far from being limited to corrosion and wear protection, these “molecular millefeuilles” aim to confer a wide range of functional characteristics to the surfaces: anti-glare, anti-erosion, anti-fog, but also self-controlled (or “smart”) optical reflectivity or emissivity, luminescence, sterility and more.

“The possible functionalities are limited only by our imagination!” Ludvik Martinu, MIC-CSE chairholder and professor in the Department of Engineering Physics at Polytechnique Montréal said in a statement. “The technologies we are developing will help us avoid relying on processes that are harmful to the environment, such as those using solvents. This is in response to a sustainable development issue that’s becoming crucial for businesses. It will also help explore new avenues for energy saving and for new high-value-added products.”

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The scope of collaborations within the MIC-CSE Chair reflects the immense variety of industry fields in which multi-layer coating technologies can be applied. The research carried out at Polytechnique is designed to improve the sustainability and effectiveness of materials in sectors as varied as aerospace, energy and manufacturing, as well as optics, photonics and space exploration.

“The MIC-CSE Chair aims to be above all a place to stimulate and exchange ideas, where partners working in very different areas but sharing common concerns can benefit from top-notch expertise,” said Martinu. “This openness strengthens the potential for collaboration and fosters the creation of new areas to explore.”