2 Minutes with Daniel Marceau
August 13, 2012
Aluminum is a metal that is infinitely recyclable, lightweight and can be adapted to a wide variety of uses. That's why it is in high demand for everything from packaging consumer products to making more fuel-efficient vehicles. A partnership spanning 25 years, including a team of professors at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC), and Rio Tinto Alcan—a major global aluminum supplier—is ensuring Canada's continued leadership in aluminum smelting—a major contributor of jobs and economic growth in Quebec.
My name is Daniel Marceau. I am a full professor in the Department of Applied Science at the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi and director of CURAL, the university’s centre for research on aluminum. The research activities that CURAL carries out in partnership with Rio Tinto Alcan have the primary objective of improving existing technologies and fostering the development of new technologies, the development of new alloys, so as to promote the use of aluminum and thus make Rio Tinto Alcan more competitive internationally, while complying with the regulations on health and safety and also on the environment.
This partnership dates all the way back to the early 1980s, with the initiation of a first project on modelling the baking of carbon anodes with Professor Rung Tien Bui. Professor André Charette very soon joined the team, and then a few talented researchers were--took places on the team to produce in fact the first research group here, the GRIPS, around which everything grew. Over the years, numerous research chairs, NSERC projects, CRDs, NSERC industrial scholarships have supported, in partnership with Rio Tinto Alcan, our research activities; first with the Bauxite and Alumina Group, and then carbon technologies, research on the Hall-Héroult process, research chairs on aluminum transformation and metallurgy and friction stir welding.
Globally, the impact of the research activities at CURAL has been to establish a centre of excellence in the field of research on aluminum in Canada and this centre is also recognized worldwide, because of the very high level of expertise of the various researchers who work at this research centre.
Regionally here, the centre has enabled us to build ties with many small and medium-sized enterprises, some equipment manufacturers and also to produce highly qualified personnel. A number of master’s students, doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows have been produced since the start of this partnership and even now, I will mention in particular that at CURAL, about 40 graduate students are involved in research activities with Rio Tinto Alcan. Which represents very close to half of the students enrolled in the graduate program in the Department of Applied Science.