Canada Awards Funding for Coatings Research


Earlier this month, the Government of Canada awarded $24 million to Queen’s University to research and develop carbon-to-metal coatings to protect metal surfaces from corrosion. The funding is part of the Transformation Stream of the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF), which has awarded $144 million in grants over six years to Canadian-led research teams.

“Our government has taken action to establish the role of science and scientists, and over the past two years, all Canadians have seen the true impacts of science and research in our lives,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Such is the value of Canadian institutions and researchers who think outside the box to tackle major challenges.

“These programs are a catalyst for generating new breakthroughs and discoveries that will improve people’s lives, nourish our innovation ecosystems and shape Canada’s prosperity for years to come.”

New Coating Research

The project will be building on Queen’s chemistry researcher Cathleen Crudden’s previous discovery that a certain class of organic molecules can form bonds with a wide range of metals. The research team plans to explore and develop a carbon-on-metal coating to slow or halt corrosion caused by oxygen, changes in pH and temperature.

Queen’s University will be teaming up with other project co-principal investigators Western University, Concordia University, McGill University, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and University Health Networks, in addition to many international co-applicants and industrial collaborators.

“Worldwide, countries spend, on average, over 3% of their GDP each year on corrosion maintenance. Annually, Canada spends around $66 billion across sectors,” said Dr. Crudden, professor and Canada Research Chair in Metal Organic Chemistry. “With new strategies, like the innovative coatings we are developing, we could save governments, taxpayers and industries up to 25% of this cost.”

Researchers hope that these coatings will be used in a variety of day-to-day applications, including:

  • Prevent metals in microchips from breaking down, leading to greater longevity for computers, phones and other devices;
  • Guard against automobile rust;
  • Improve aerospace design; and
  • Improve targeted chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and refine medical imaging when used on a nanoscale.

Crudden added that the technology’s potential to improve cancer is promising, as it could lead to new advances in cancer treatments that impact the health of one in two Canadians who will develop the disease in their lifetime.

Christian Moreau, professor in Concordia’s Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering at the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, will receive $1.875 million in funding to aid the team as a co-principal investigator of the research project.

“This new coating approach has the potential to revolutionize our manufacturing processes to produce coatings of exceptional quality that could improve Canada’s health, environment and economy,” Moreau said. “I am very proud to be part of this team of high-level researchers who tackle crucial challenges for our societies.”

According to the university, the development of the new coating could also help put Canada at the forefront of the barrier coatings industry, that currently has a national economic impact of $31 billion per year and employs 211,000 people across the country.

This is the first time NFRF: Transformation Stream have been awarded. The grant is one of seven large-scale projects involving high-risk, high-reward, interdisciplinary research announced by the government, with funding of up to $24 million.

The funding will be distributed to recipients over a six-year period. Crudden plans on hiring approximately 14 students and post-doctoral fellows to assist with the research.

“Thanks to support from the New Frontiers in Research Fund, Dr. Crudden and her interdisciplinary team will be able to advance the application of their pioneering research, protecting vital metals across industries,” said Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University. “This work reflects the importance of research being undertaken at Queen’s and the impact it can have on both human and economic aspects of our society.”



Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Coatings; Coatings Technology; Colleges and Universities; Corrosion; Corrosion protection; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Funding; Government; Grants; Industrial coatings; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; Latin America; North America; Program/Project Management; Research; Research and development; Z-Continents

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