By Kari Williamson

The two-year project, Enhancing the Corrosion Resistance of Mg Alloys by Optimum Incorporation of Rare-Earth Elements and Use of a Green Bio-Organic-Metal Coating for Automotive Applications, will start on 1 April, 2012.

The project aims to attack realistic problems with corrosion and mechanical behaviour of magnesium and rare earth alloys.

The scientists involved in this project are Arch's Principal Scientists Professors Li And Irvin of the University of Alberta and Professor Chen from Ryerson University and Professor Szpunar of the University of Saskatchewan:

  • Li's lab at University of Alberta can fabricate alloys using different processes such as arc melting, casting and isostatic hot pressing, and sintering. Li's team has also conducted extensive theoretical studies of atomic bonding on the electronic level. His team will fabricate and characterise the proposed rare earth-modified magnesium alloys and develop theoretical base for the rare earth-magnesium alloy development.
  • Irvin's microbiology group at the University of Alberta, which has been working on a synthetic peptide originally for bacterial control, has found that the peptide reacts with steel to form an organic-metal substance, which is harder and more corrosion resistant. This is also the case for other metallic materials.
  • Chen's group at Ryerson University has the capability to evaluate mechanical properties such as the fatigue behaviour of materials.
  • Dr. J.A. Szpunar research at the University of Saskatchewan includes electro-chemistry, coatings, corrosion, texture, crystallography, and microstructure characterization. His group brings capabilities for characterisation of the materials and evaluation of the performance of the materials during various corrosion processes. Techniques of Raman Spectroscopy and X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure will allow better understanding of the mechanism of protection against corrosion.

Industrial support

Industrial support for the project will be provided by Cosma International, Quantum Group and Arch Biopartners.:

  • Cosma International, an operating group of Magna International, will support the research on corrosion issues for the rare earth-magnesium alloys including technical consultation, raw materials, and various standards.
  • Quantum Group has agreed to provide technical consultation, sample materials, and testing services for the proposed research
  • Arch will provide cash contributions totalling CA$20,000 a year, and in addition, Arch's subsidiary Arch Biophysics Ltd will synthesise, manufacture and test protease resistant peptide-conjugates for the project.

AUTO21 is a national research initiative supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence Secretariat.