Research Axes

REGAL proposes a scientific program that accurately reflects Québec’s current economic and environmental interests. This program includes 2 distinct research axes that follow the journey of aluminium metal from alumina to the finished product. Based on technological roadmaps from Canada and the United States, the program covers subjects that are widely accepted throughout the industry.

Axis 1 – Aluminium Production

Scientific Leader : Duygu Kocaefe

Aluminium production, which occupies an important place in the Quebec economy (10 000 jobs, 9 plants, 2.8 MT / year), uses technologies based on the Hall-Heroult process (HH). Despite advances in recent years, the HH process produces nearly 2.3 T of CO2 equivalent per tonne of aluminium, consumes from 13 to 14 MWh / T Al (for Quebec plants), and produces large amounts (about 60kT / year in Canada) of toxic, contaminated spent pot-lining (SPL). The quality of the aluminium produced is directly related to the quality of the raw material used (coke, alumina) and the operations performed during casting. As this scientific program focuses on industrial issues, it fits into the context of sustainable development. Through the expertise of its researchers, REGAL will address the quality of raw materials, the improvement of the HH process, the quality of the primary metal product, and the management of waste matter.

Quality of raw materials & Waste Management

Theme leader 
Alamdari, Houshang
Regular members contributing to this theme
Bouazara, Mohamed – UQAC
Duchesne, Carl – Université Laval
Fafard, Mario – Université Laval
Gosselin, Louis – Université Laval
Kocaefe, Duygu – UQAC
Sarkar, Dilip – UQAC
Description
The sources of quality coke are a major problem. The presence of sulfur and other unwanted chemical elements in it, if left untreated, leads to releases that are harmful to the environment. The chemical reactivity as well as the electrical efficiency of the carbon electrodes pass through the quality of the techniques and manufacturing parameters. REGAL will tackle alternative sources of coke and the manufacture of carbon anodes. Residues of various natures are derived from the production of primary Al, including red sludge resulting from the Bayer process, spent potluck obtained at the end of a cell’s life, gaseous residues as well as heat discharges. REGAL will focus on the valorisation of red sludge, carbon residues, heat discharges from HH tanks and casting centers, as well as the use of spent potlining by-products as a cement additive.

Hall-Héroult Process & Primary metal

Theme leader
Duchesne, Carl
Regular members contributing to this theme
Alamdari, Houshang | Université Laval
Chen, X-Grant | UQAC
Fafard, Mario | Université Laval
Gosselin, Louis | Université Laval
Kiss, Laszlo | UQAC
Kocaefe, Duygu | UQAC
Marceau, Daniel | UQAC
Description
The proposed research on the HH process aims at emission reduction at the source and energy efficiency. It will tackle in situ measurement techniques, monitoring and control related to cell dynamics, the performance of assemblies and electrodes, cell start performance criteria, characterization techniques of materials and interfaces interaction between bath / alumina / metal / electrode and the stability of the jelly. The quality of the metal produced is conditioned by that of the casting operations, the control of solidification and cooling conditions as well as the nature of the impurities. The gradual increase in the level of impurities produced by the decrease in the quality of the raw materials, requires a better understanding of the casting step. The aim is to develop new technologies for metal processing (filtration, degassing, fluxing, etc.) as well as tools for controlling various operations.

Axis 2 – New products and materials based on aluminium

Scientific leaders : Carl Blais et Mohammad Jahazi

The importance of the aluminium transformation for Quebec is well established. Currently, more than 600 kT of aluminium are transformed per year in Québec by primary processing (wire, tube, pipe, extrusion, etc.), which is nearly 23% of the total aluminium production. With this in mind, the research activities identified by REGAL are oriented with priority toward the 2nd and 3rd transformations of aluminium, and in particular to applications with higher added values. Specifically, REGAL will address the development of applications in the fields of infrastructure, aerospace, land and maritime transportation, and new niches where we find corrosion-resistant coatings, nanostructured materials, and others. Each research theme involves varied expertise, ranging from the development of specific alloys, digital tools, and implementation techniques, to assembly, surface treatment, recycling, etc.

Infrastructures

Theme leader
Fafard, Mario
Regular members contributing to this theme
Alamdari, Houshang | Université Laval
Amira, Sofiene | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Annan, Charles-Darwin | Université Laval
Bocher, Philippe | École de technologie supérieure
Chen, X-Grant | UQAC
Chiesa, FrancoCégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Chromik, Richard | Université McGill
Desrochers, Alain | Université de Sherbrooke
Guillot, Michel | Université Laval
Jahazi, Mohammad | École de technologie supérieure
Kiss, Laszlo | UQAC
Lamarche, Charles-Philippe | Université de Sherbrooke
St-Georges, Lyne | UQAC 
Description
Even though aluminium has demonstrated excellent properties for its use in the manufacture of bridges, it still remains underused in Quebec for the manufacture of various infrastructures, particularly for buildings and engineering structures. In this sense, this theme was clearly identified by AluQuébec as having high potential for social and economic benefits for Quebec. This theme first addresses the study of the aluminium bridge construction on steel beams for new bridges, as well as for existing bridges in steel/concrete or steel/wood. The next step consists of examining wood as a supporting superstructure and its assembly with the deck. Aluminium footbridges are already in use but there remain problems with vibration, fatigue, and selection of a more optimal extruded section. Finally, the use of aluminium for signs, architecture, and urban property will be studied.

Aerospace Industry

Theme leader
Brochu, Mathieu
Regular members contributing to this theme
Amira, Sofiene | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Blais, Carl | Université Laval
Bocher, Philippe | École de technologie supérieure
Brochu, Myriam | Polytechnique Montréal
Chen, X-Grant | UQAC
Chiesa, Franco | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Chromik, Richard | Université McGill
Desrochers, Alain | Université de Sherbrooke
Gakwaya, Augustin | Université Laval
Gauvin, Raynald | Université McGill
Giguère, Nicolas | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Guillot, Michel | Université Laval
Jahazi, Mohammad | École de technologie supérieure
Kiss, Laszlo | UQAC
Levasseur, David | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Mascle, Christian | Polytechnique Montréal
Pham, Tan | École de technologie supérieure
Sarkar, Dilip | UQAC
Songmene, Victor | École de technologie supérieure
St-Georges, Lyne | UQAC
Tougas, Bernard | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Description
Aluminium alloys are a good choice of materials for the production of many aircraft components, which can represent nearly 80% of the total weight of the aircraft. The development of new alloys, combined with the development of new technologies for manufacturing, shaping, and multi-materials assembly, in addition to hybrid composite assemblies will push weight reduction ratios further than has ever been achieved. Therefore, it is important to optimize the use of these new technologies while determining the impact of these changes in practice on the fatigue behavior of new components, as well as their end-of-life recyclability. The proposed research is consequently directed to the priorities identified by the CRIAQ and CARIC consortia in which several REGAL researchers are involved. It particularly studies the weight reduction of structures by reducing the BFT ratio as well as the development of multi-material and hybrid composite assemblies.

Land and marine transportation

Theme leader
Desrochers, Alain
Regular members contributing to this theme
Amira, Sofiene | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Blais, Carl | Université Laval
Bouazara, Mohamed | UQAC
Brochu, Mathieu | Université McGill
Brochu, Myriam | Polytechnique Montréal
Chen, X-Grant | UQAC
Chiesa, Franco | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Chromik, Richard | Université McGill
Gakwaya, Augustin | Université Laval
Giguère, Nicolas | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Guillot, Michel | Université Laval
Jahazi, Mohammad | École de technologie supérieure
Kiss, Laszlo | UQAC
Larouche, Daniel | Université Laval
Levasseur, David | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Pham, Tan | École de technologie supérieure
Sarkar, Dilip | UQAC
Songmene, Victor | École de technologie supérieure
St-Georges, Lyne | UQAC
Tougas, Bernard | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Description
The use of aluminium in transportation requires the development of new design approaches through a judicious choice of alloys and treatments, as well as techniques of manufacture and component assembly. Obtaining the desired mechanical properties allows for a more efficient structural role for vehicle components. In the context of electric transportation, as identified in the National Research and Innovation Policy (PNRI), weight reduction of structures results in improved performance, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and increased autonomy. In this sense, the proposed research will address personal, public, and maritime transportation by focusing on topics such as the development of high rigidity structures, the mechanical strength in service (fatigue of welded joints, buckling of energy absorbing elements), corrosion, and the recyclability at the end of service life.

Coatings and surfaces

Theme leader
Sarkar, Dilip
Regular members contributing to this theme
Amira, Sofiene | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Blais, Carl | Université Laval
Brochu, Myriam | Polytechnique Montréal
Chen, X-Grant | UQAC
Chiesa, Franco | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Chromik, Richard | Université McGill
Desrochers, Alain | Université de Sherbrooke
Gauvin, Raynald | Université McGill
Giguère, Nicolas | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Jahazi, Mohammad | École de technologie supérieure
Kiss, Laszlo | UQAC
Levasseur, David | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Pham, Tan | École de technologie supérieure
Songmene, Victor | École de technologie supérieure
St-Georges, Lyne | UQAC
Bernard, Tougas | Cégep de Trois-Rivières (CMQ)
Description
The different phenomena related to the behavior of surfaces and interfaces are a major challenge for the use of aluminum with other materials and in specific environments. REGAL has identified 3 highly promising research elements that would consolidate the Quebec expertise in the fields of aluminium transformation and its applications, and additionally would feed into the other themes of the program and the direction of the research streams in the coming years. In this sense, the expertise of REGAL researchers will be used in the fields of manufacturing nano-structured components (mechanical properties, corrosion resistance), coatings (biocompatibility of alloys, corrosion resistance, fatigue resistance, hydrophobicity) and the manufacture and storage of renewable energy (photovoltaic cells).