The University of British Columbia now ranks solidly within the world’s top 35 universities, according to surveys of more than 1,000 institutions. The Materials Engineering Department contributes to this ranking as a world leader in Materials Process Engineering. Our Department belongs to a distinct group of units at UBC that enjoy an exceptional level of research grants and contracts and our strong performance is due to the outstanding quality of our graduates and faculty members. There are five Research Chair holders in the Department: Frank Ko – Canada Research Chair in Nanofibrous Materials, Rizhi Wang – Canada Research Chair in Biomaterials, David Dreisinger – Hydrometallurgy Chair, Warren Poole – Rio Tinto Alcan Chair in Materials Process Engineering and Matthias Militzer – Dofasco Chair in Advanced Steel Processing.
Materials research in the Department emphasizes the development of new processes and process models primarily for novel materials in the transportation sector and biomaterials for medical applications. The Department fosters a strong interaction with industry through their Industrial Research Chairs. Industrially oriented research is combined with fundamental studies to advance understanding of the microstructure mechanisms and resulting properties.
Materials research in the Department aims at providing materials process solutions of societal magnitude including light weight materials for the transportation sector, cleaner and greener metallurgical processes, engineered materials to replace or repair injured body parts. For example, Professor Dixon from the Hydrometallurgy Group has developed Galvanox – a new process with the potential to become the method of choice to extract ore in the 21st century. Under the auspices of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), Professors Militzer and Poole have developed a hot strip mill model (HSMM) for advanced high strength steels – the model is at the core of the commercial Integ-HSMM software package that is now used worldwide by the steel industry. Professors Poursartip and Fernlund are the co-founders of CMT – a spin-off company for process simulation to manufacture composite parts that are e.g. used in Boeing’s new 787 aircraft.
Many of the Department’s laboratories and offices for graduate students are located in the Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratory (AMPEL) – an interdisciplinary facility on campus that brings together materials researchers from Physics, Chemistry, Materials, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. Having a common home for materials research has promoted cross-disciplinary projects and provides graduate students with an interdisciplinary environment that offers unique opportunities in their training program to become graduates who will be in high demand worldwide for employment in academia and industry.