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Concordia receives $1.9M for transformative coatings research

Christian Moreau named co-principal investigator on $24M project led by Queen’s University to preserve metals
January 19, 2022
Pictured: the wing of an aeroplane in flight above the ocean at sunrise.
The new approach has serious implications for aerospace design, cancer treatment and more. | Photo by Inma Santiago on Unsplash

The Government of Canada has committed $24 million through the New Frontiers in Research Fund for a project poised to extend the lifespan of metals. The Queen’s University­–led project uses unique molecular coatings that could save billions of dollars on maintenance across several sectors including aerospace, automotive, cancer therapy, consumer electronics and infrastructure.

Christian Moreau, professor in Concordia’s Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering at the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, is co-principal investigator of the research project. The Canada Research Chair in Thermal Spray and Surface Engineering will receive $1.875 million to bring his expertise to the team led by Cathleen Crudden, Canada Research Chair in Metal Organic Chemistry at Queen’s in Kingston, Ontario.

“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 says. “I am very proud to be part of this team of high-level researchers who tackle crucial challenges for our societies.”

“Worldwide, countries spend, on average, over three per cent of their GDP each year on corrosion maintenance,” says Crudden.

“Annually, Canada spends around $66 billion across sectors. With new strategies like the innovative coatings we are developing, we could save governments, taxpayers and industries up to 25 per cent of this cost.”

She adds that the researchers are very excited about the potential this work holds and grateful for the significant support from the New Frontiers in Research Fund.

Pictured: A smiling man with short grey hair, a grey beard, in a shirt and jacket and standing next to a piece of machinery. Christian Moreau: “This new approach has the potential to produce coatings of exceptional quality.”

Serious implications for aerospace design, cancer treatment and more

Together with her multidisciplinary team of Canadian and international researchers and industry collaborators, Crudden is developing a fundamentally new approach for protecting metal surfaces. The project builds on her prior discovery that a certain class of organic molecules can form bonds with a wide range of metals.

The group is exploring and developing a carbon-on-metal coating that could slow or halt corrosion and degradation caused by oxygen, changes in pH and temperature.

These coatings could prevent metals in microchips from breaking down, leading to greater longevity for computers, phones and other electronic devices. They could also guard against automobile rust, improve aerospace design and even be used on a nanoscale, improving targeted chemotherapy and radiation therapy and refining medical imaging.

The technology’s potential to improve cancer care is promising. It could enable new advances to nanomedical precision cancer treatments that could impact the health and well-being of one in two Canadians who will develop the disease in their lifetime.

Funding for the project will come from the Transformation Stream of the New Frontiers in Research Fund, which supports high-risk, high-reward interdisciplinary research and is distributed to teams over a six-year span.

“I am beyond proud of the Canadian institutions and researchers who think outside disciplines and borders to tackle major challenges,” says the François-Philippe Champagne, Canadian minister of innovation, science and industry.

“These programs are a catalyst for amplifying new voices, insights and discoveries that will answer communities’ needs, elevate our innovation hub and shape Canada’s prosperity for years to come. Congratulations to all recipients!”

The project will also involve collaborators from around the world, including academic and industry partners in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Finland and more.

Find out more about 
Concordia’s Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering at the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science.

With files from Queen’s University.



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