April 06, 2015

NSERC Network for Innovative Plastic Materials and Manufacturing Processes (NIPMMP)

The objective of the NSERC Network for Innovative Plastic Materials and Manufacturing Processes (NIPMMP) is to establish a collaborative network that will develop advanced manufacturing technologies for high value-added plastic materials. Canadian plastics manufacturers have reduced their in-house R&D over the last decade due to economic setbacks; the network proposes to redress this decline in R&D with a comprehensive set of initiatives that emphasize research into both the scientific and technological aspects of plastic materials and related manufacturing processes.

We will work closely with 15 Canadian industrial partners to customize our research in response to their needs; this will ensure an effective transfer of knowledge and direct implementation of new technologies. Instead of competing with offshore markets that make lower value plastics, the network will consolidate Canada’s claim to leadership in value-added plastics, benefiting the automotive, construction, packaging, biomedical, electrical/electronics, aerospace, and communications industries. Based on a vertically integrated approach to understanding the governing interrelationships among fundamental properties, processing conditions, and end-use properties of plastic materials, the proposed research will lead to a number of novel applications in the following four areas: (1) Biomaterials; (2) Lightweight Hybrid Composite Materials; (3) Micro- and Nanostructured Polymeric Materials; and (4) Microcellular Foams.

Bringing together 22 first-rate academics from 11 Canadian universities and 1 national institute, the network will link talents and infrastructures to create a leading-edge research group for developing cost-effective plastics with superior variability and lower environmental impacts. The network addresses the pressing need for more highly qualified personnel (HQPs); we will train a total of 51 HQPs, including 25 PhD students, 6 Master’s students, 16 undergraduate students, and 4 postdoctoral fellows. Ultimately, we propose to carve out a manufacturing niche for Canada in value-added plastic materials that will permit industries to increase their national and international profitability while meeting environmental targets and safeguarding R&D.

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