Canadian Manufacturing

New Industrial Research Chair to invent ‘smart’ nanocoatings

Properties could include self-controlled or "smart" optical reflectivity or emissivity, luminescence and sterility.



MONTREAL—A new Industrial Research Chair focusing on coatings and surface engineering was inaugurated today at Polytechnique Montréal.

It is Canada’s second-largest research chair with a five-year budget of $5.35 million.

Quebec’s largest engineering school partnered with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and seven industry partners to create the NSERC Multisectorial Industrial Research Chair in Coatings and Surface Engineering (MIC-CSE).

The MIC-CSE will receive $2.6 million from NSERC and $2.75 million from its partners, which include Essilor, Hydro-Québec, Guardian Industries Corp., Pratt & Whitney Canada, Velan, JDS Uniphase and the Canadian Space Agency.

Research will focus on developing non-polluting manufacturing technologies for nanostructured coating materials.

The goal is to coat flat surfaces and three-dimensional objects successive layers of nanometre-thick films and thicker coating architectures of metals, ceramics, polymers, nanoparticles or others materials.

Far from being limited to corrosion and wear protection, these coatings will add functional characteristics such as anti-glare, anti-erosion, anti-fog, but also self-controlled or “smart” optical reflectivity or emissivity, luminescence and sterility.

“The possible functionalities are limited only by our imagination!” said Ludvik Martinu, MIC-CSE Chairholder and Professor in the Department of Engineering Physics at Polytechnique Montréal. “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.”

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, such as aerospace, energy and manufacturing, as well as optics, photonics and space exploration.

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