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2011/98 (a)

Backgrounder

CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory


The CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory, with facilities in Hamilton and Calgary, is the largest research centre in Canada dedicated to metals and materials research, focusing on fabrication, processing and evaluation. Scientific and technical staff are involved in research and development to provide materials solutions for Canadian industry in the energy, transportation and metal-manufacturing sectors. Canada has long been a leader in this field.

The mandate of the CANMET materials lab is to develop and deploy technologies that improve all aspects of producing and using value-added products derived from metals and minerals. Particular emphasis is placed on solving technological problems of relevance to NRCan’s mandate in clean energy and sustainable development, and on transferring materials technology to Canadian companies. In doing so, CANMET strives to develop technologies that improve the reliability of energy production and energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts, result in innovative products for a green economy and enhance health, security and safety.

CANMET’s materials research focuses on three industrial sectors that are enormous users of Canada’s natural resources and, therefore, are central to the mandate of NRCan. Laboratory staff work closely with clients and stakeholders in each sector:

  • Transportation — particularly the manufacturers of vehicles, engines and components, which require new advanced-materials solutions to improve fuel efficiency while maintaining safety and performance;
  • Energy — components for use in clean energy production (such as next-generation nuclear reactors and clean combustion systems for fossil fuels) and reliable pipelines to transport gas, oil, biofuels and carbon dioxide; and
  • Metal Manufacturing — components for a variety of other sectors, such as defence, aerospace, health and construction, which require high-performance materials.

CANMET also studies other aspects of sustainable development, such as achieving process efficiencies and the recycling of materials and has expertise and facilities for the pilot-scale production and performance assessment of novel materials. It houses unique facilities for handling hot and molten metal in pilot-scale quantities in its experimental casting and metal-forming laboratories. It also characterizes the microstructure of innovative materials and assesses their mechanical, corrosion, thermal and electrochemical performance.

These unique facilities are used by university researchers through CANMET’s academic access program, which is supported by a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). The program has supported 64 research projects from 18 universities across Canada.

Collaborative Research Agreement

The Collaborative Research Agreement (CRA) with the University of Waterloo will encourage advanced research in areas relevant to Ontario’s manufacturing industries. It will support materials developments for new light-weight vehicles using high-strength steels, aluminum, magnesium, titanium and polymers; manufacturing technologies such as metal forming and welding; nanomaterials; and advanced materials research for thermal management and defence applications. The CRA will also help make the CANMET facilities more accessible to researchers at the university and will aid in the training of students.

CANMET will benefit from Waterloo’s Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR), which functionally links the academic community to industry receptors and research collaborators. The CRA with Waterloo will support automotive research, which will have a positive impact on the competitiveness of Canadian automotive manufacturing sector.

CANMET and the University of Waterloo are also active in joint nanotechnology research through the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, an interdisciplinary centre of excellence pioneering high-impact research and innovation in nanotechnology. The Institute’s Director, Dr. Arthur Carty, is the former Science & Technology Advisor to the Prime Minister. CANMET’s work in thermoelectrics and photocatalysts will benefit from the concentration of research capability at this new institute. One specific project aims to capture some of the 60 percent of heat that is lost in manufacturing processes and during automotive combustion to produce useful electricity. This research also supports CANMET’s collaborations with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

A Research Collaboration Steering Committee will encourage collaboration to develop specific research projects, such as automotive welding and joining technology and nano-structured materials.  

The research agreement is effective for five years.


Media may contact:

Julie Di Mambro
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-996-2007

or

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-992-4447

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/media-room/home/1784.