The fast and the furious: a new muscle for cars

Dr. Philip Bates, Dean of Engineering and Professor of Chemical Engineering at RMC and Canada Research Chair in Polymer Processing and Joining

Make way for a new brand of cars – cheap, fuel-efficient, strong! It’s what is expected in the green era, and researchers at the Royal Military College of Canada are hoping to deliver with lower weight and lower cost plastic components. Reducing the weight improves fuel efficiency. Dr. Philip Bates, Canada Research Chair in Polymer Processing and Joining and Dean of Engineering and Professor of Chemical Engineering at RMC is studying the science behind how these plastics can be joined to each other and other materials – a step which he says is often over-looked. “The auto sector has already recognized the value of polymers,” says Bates. They outdo other materials when it comes to strength to weight ratios, and are also inexpensive to produce. They can perform well at both high and very low temperatures and tolerate exposure to moisture, fuels and oil.“By understanding how these polymers join, we can make lighter cars that are therefore more fuel efficient as well as impact resistant,” says Bates. Bates’ work has the potential to not only develop cost-effective techniques of joining, such as laser and resistance welding, but will also help to reduce the cost and improve the performance reliability of auto parts. These new technologies would be internationally competitive, and might even help turnaround the flagging North American car industry. Funding: $500,000 (Canada Research Chair) Source

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