Media Releases

New U of T plastics research facility promises lighter, stronger, more cost-effective production

May 3, 2013

TORONTO, ON – The Cen­tre for Indus­tri­al Appli­ca­tion of Micro­cel­lu­lar Plas­tics (CIAMP) offi­cial­ly opened May 2, bring­ing with it the promise of lighter, stronger and more cost effec­tive plas­tic mate­ri­als for the auto­mo­tive and con­struc­tion indus­tries.

Locat­ed in Mis­sis­sauga, CIAMP is a state-of-the-art research and devel­op­ment cen­tre with indus­try-scale facil­i­ties for devel­op­ing inno­v­a­tive, com­mer­cial­ly viable plas­tic foam­ing and com­pos­ite tech­nolo­gies, accord­ing to Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Engi­neer­ing Pro­fes­sor Chul Park, Direc­tor of the Cen­tre.

It is fund­ed by a $9.2‑million grant from the Cana­da Foun­da­tion for Inno­va­tion – Lead­ing Edge Funds and the Ontario Research Fund – Large Infra­struc­ture Fund and is part of the Net­work for Inno­v­a­tive Plas­tic Mate­ri­als and Man­u­fac­tur­ing Process­es, a Nat­ur­al Sci­ences and Engi­neer­ing Research Coun­cil net­work of 21 researchers across Cana­da. CIAMP is also sup­port­ed by the Con­sor­tium of Cel­lu­lar and Micro­cel­lu­lar Plas­tics (CCMCP), a net­work unit­ing more than 20 lead­ing plas­tic com­pa­nies around the world.

CIMAP’s goal is to col­lab­o­rate with indus­try to devel­op inno­v­a­tive micro­cel­lu­lar plas­tic prod­ucts and com­mer­cial­ly viable pro­cess­ing tech­nolo­gies, Park says. The tech­niques that CIAMP will work on should lead to lighter weight, stronger plas­tics that use less raw mate­r­i­al, he says. The con­struc­tion and auto­mo­tive indus­tries will ben­e­fit in par­tic­u­lar, but oth­er uses are pos­si­ble too, for exam­ple, elec­tri­cal insu­la­tors and house­hold elec­tron­ic devices.

“Chul Park’s research and lead­er­ship has already led to sig­nif­i­cant advances in the field of foamed plas­tics,” said Pro­fes­sor Jean Zu, Chair of U of T’s Depart­ment of Mechan­i­cal and Indus­tri­al Engi­neer­ing. “CIAMP will allow him and his col­leagues to build on this cut­ting-edge work and apply it at an indus­tri­al scale.”

“This is the kind of advanced man­u­fac­tur­ing that we should all be excit­ed about because it cre­ates jobs, con­tributes to eco­nom­ic growth and show­cas­es Cana­di­an inno­va­tion,” said the Hon­ourable Gary Goodyear, Min­is­ter of State (Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy). “That is why our Gov­ern­ment has made sig­nif­i­cant research invest­ments in the Cen­tre.”

“Plas­tics are a ubiq­ui­tous part of our lives and we tak­en them for grant­ed,” said Alli­son Barr, direc­tor of the research branch of the Ontario Research Fund. “But that doesn’t mean that we’re immune to ris­ing costs, and there are many poten­tial appli­ca­tions for plas­tics that are lighter, stronger and longer-last­ing, espe­cial­ly in the auto indus­try to reduce fos­sil fuel con­sump­tion and cut down on the costs of pol­lu­tion. If Ontario can devel­op these plas­tics and the meth­ods to man­u­fac­ture them we will have an impor­tant advan­tage. In Ontario, we’re very for­tu­nate to have a leader in research such as Chul Park who can help us real­ize the promise of these plas­tics.”

Chul Park is a pro­fes­sor in U of T’s Depart­ment of Mechan­i­cal and Indus­tri­al Engi­neer­ing. He is a world leader in the devel­op­ment of inno­v­a­tive, cost-effec­tive tech­nolo­gies for foamed plas­tics. Dr. Park has been exten­sive­ly involved in indus­tri­al projects through research con­tracts on var­i­ous foam­ing process­es includ­ing micro­cel­lu­lar pro­cess­ing, inert gas-injec­tion pro­cess­ing, rota­tion­al foam mold­ing, wood-fibre com­pos­ites and open-cell foams.

Found­ed in 1873, U of T Engi­neer­ing has approx­i­mate­ly 5,200 under­grad­u­ate stu­dents, 1,950 grad­u­ate stu­dents and 240 fac­ul­ty mem­bers. U of T Engi­neer­ing is at the fore of inno­va­tion in engi­neer­ing edu­ca­tion and research and ranks first in Cana­da and among the top Engi­neer­ing schools world­wide.


For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact:

Ter­ry Laven­der
Com­mu­ni­ca­tions & Media Rela­tions Strate­gist
Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence & Engi­neer­ing, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to
Tel: 416–978-4498