New Steel Research Centre opens its doors


With the rapid changes in steel production, it is expected that the steel making process of today will be unrecognizable in 20 years. The objective of the McMaster Steel Research Centre is to become the premier steel research centre in Canada and one of the best in the world.

According to Gord Irons, holder of the NSERC/Dofasco chair and professor of materials science & engineering, “The steel industry is no longer a smoke stack industry. It has evolved into a technology-based industry where research is vital to its growth.”

The centre, approved by Senate in January, will conduct leading-edge research in iron- and steel-making, waste processing and provide continuing education for engineers in the steel industry.

“There will be more research on steel, not just materials, as was done in the past. The centre's research is unique in that it has a broader-based scope because of its partnerships with the steel industry,” says Irons.

Graduate students and post-doctoral fellows will be enhanced approximately 20 at any time. A market survey is planned to determine the demand for masters or graduate diplomas in the steel-related technologies. The results of the survey will be discussed with the School of Graduate Studies and the relevant departments to determine the need of the programs.

John Thomson became the centre's operations manager on Feb. 1.”As an employee with Stelco for 18 years and as someone who was working with university research centres, his wide experience, skills and knowledge made him the obvious choice,” says Irons.

The centre will be funded by the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund (ORDCF), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), Materials and Manufacturing Ontario (MMO) and various others.