Rio Tinto Alcan renews research support for Chair

Aluminum giant Rio Tinto Alcan has renewed its research support for the Chair in Materials Process Engineering, currently held by Materials Engineering Professor and Department Head Warren Poole, with grant-in-aid support of $335,000 over the next five years.

Through Rio Tinto Alcan’s support, Poole and his team will delve into their latest research project, entitled Microstructure Engineering of AA6xxx Aluminum Extrusion Alloys.

“For the past five years, with the support of Rio Tinto Alcan, we have been working to develop a mathematical model to predict the properties of 3XXX aluminum alloys as a function of processing conditions.  This alloy family is seeing rapid growth as aluminum replaces copper in heat transfer applications,” says Poole.

The result of this research was the successful development of a predictive process model that has been used by the aluminum industry to design improved manufacturing processes.

“Rio Tinto Alcan felt they benefited from this research relationship and decided to renew the Chair support for another five-year period, for which we are extremely grateful,” says Poole. “We are excited that this new project will expand on the work of the last five years and examine more complicated aluminum alloys and their potential applications.”

As a testament to the strength of research at UBC, the contribution from Rio Tinto Alcan is a substantial increase over the previous Chair renewal contribution. It also marks an important milestone in the history of the Chair, which celebrated 20 years of research and industry support between Rio Tinto Alcan and UBC this July 1, 2012.

The Chair was originally established on July 1, 1992, with an endowment provided by Alcan, predecessor to Rio Tinto Alcan. The original Chair was Professor J.K. (Keith) Brimacombe, who held the Chair until his sudden passing in December 1997. Professor Mary Wells followed Brimacombe as Chair until July 2007, when Professor Poole assumed the role.

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