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Canadian University Opens Polymer Research Centre

18 February 2005

A research centre has been opened in Canada with aims to bring together academic and industry researchers in the field of polymer matrix composites.

The Polynov laboratory represents the first commercial-scale unit of the CREPEC, a group formed in 2004 to bring together Quebec's foremost university and industry researchers in the field of polymers.

Robert L. Papineau, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal's Director General, together with Professor Pierre J. Carreau, Director of the school's Centre de recherche en plasturgie et composites (Research Centre on Polymers and Polymer Matrix Composites - CREPEC), have officially opened the Polynov Laboratory, located in Anjou Industrial Park, Canada.

The Polynov Laboratory's sheet coextrusion line brings the lab up to the standard of any multinational corporate R&D centre, making it the only laboratory of its kind in the North American academic community.

The Polynov Laboratory will provide Quebec and Canadian companies in the plastics industry with the equipment and expertise needed to conduct preliminary trials on new products or processes. Given that most of these companies are small and medium-sized enterprises, investing millions of dollars in equipment before they have even tested their projects' technical feasibility might otherwise be difficult. Now, through the Polynov Laboratory, not only can they quickly determine the viability of their projects, they can do so more effectively, since the lab's equipment is already commercial-scale - a fact that ought to minimize any problems associated with moving into industrial production. Overall, the Polynov Laboratory will help boost competitiveness among local entrepreneurs by broadening their product range and increasing productivity.

With a budget totalling more than $10 million, the project was largely funded by the CFI and the Quebec Education Ministry, each of which invested $3.75 million. Private-sector partners, in turn, included Crompton Davis- Standard (Pawcatuck, Connecticut), the Polynov's main equipment supplier; and the Lavergne Group (Anjou), which donated the space housing the lab.

""It's through networking between the private and public sectors like this that universities manage to successfully obtain their research funding,"" Mr. Papineau stated.

""These facilities will be used by graduate students as well as by industry and other institutions as part of contractual research projects,"" said Professor Carreau. ""A number of companies have signalled their intentions to date, and discussions are currently under way. The Cascades Group, a specialty products manufacturer, recently installed a 114"" coextrusion line, means that they are now committed to developing numerous products. Laboratory tests at the Polynov will take on a preliminary role in the production process. Klockner, Flexia and Winpak have also expressed interest in the lab's facilities and in the research carried out at the CREPEC.""

Mrs. Charette added that ""Canada is clearly becoming the kind of place where world-class researchers want to work. The CFI's investment in the Polynov Laboratory will only strengthen the general perception of Canada as a place for exceptional research and training.""

Founded in 1873, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal is one of Canada's leading engineering institutions, in terms of both teaching and research. The Canada Foundation for Innovation is an independent corporation created in 1997 by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure.