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Automotive research community gets cash infusion

Canada's automotive research community is revving up for an infusion of $24.5 million in grant money from the feder...


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June 27, 2005 by Canadian Plastics

Canada’s automotive research community is revving up for an infusion of $24.5 million in grant money from the federal government and other industry partners.Forty-one auto-related research projects, conducted by a total of 230 researchers at 37 universities across Canada, will receive grants though the Auto21 Network of Centres of Excellence, a national research initiative supported by the federal government. Several of these projects are plastics-related.For example, Dr. P Bates at the Royal Military College (Kingston, ON) is conducting research into laser welding of thermoplastics. Laser welding is commonly used to join components that cannot be injection molded as a single part. There are still limitations on the technology that prevent it being widely used, according to a description of Bates’ project on Auto 21’s Web site. Bates’ research involves using a single laser beam moving along the weldline, an approach suitable for large parts with complex shapes.Auto 21 is also funding Dr. Chul Park’s team at the University of Toronto, which is trying to reduce the amount of thermoplastic polyolefins (POs) used for bumper fascias, by 20 to 25%, without sacrificing performance and Class A surface quality.Other projects that received grants range from Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), a process whereby a thermoplastic is injected a low pressure through a fibrous reinforcement contained in a rigid and closed mold, to the replacement of oil in plastics with renewable biomaterials.In addition to the $9.8 million supplied by the federal government, another $14.7 million is being invested by a combination of other companies, including several vehicle manufactures, automotive suppliers as well as federal and provincial government agencies.