Grad Students Win First Place at Auto21 Event

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A team of University of Guelph graduate students have received national recognition for their work on using biomaterials to make car parts.

The team won first place May 28 in the AUTO21 Highly Qualified People (HQP) poster competition, taking home a $4,500 prize. The competition had more than 50 teams from across Canada. Judges included industry, government and research and development experts. AUTO21 is part of the national Networks of Centres of Excellence program.

Their poster and oral presentation highlighted the Guelph team’s work on hybrid biobased composite materials for automotive interior parts. The project aims to substitute or supplement existing petroleum-based products with renewable biomaterials. The research involves developing high-impact thermoplastic biocomposites for applications in the automotive industry as car bumpers, fender extensions and rubber strips.

Team members are Kunyu Zhang, Vidhya Nagarajan and Arturo Rodriguez-U. The project is led by Prof. Amar Mohanty, Department of Plant Agriculture, and Prof. Mohini Sain of the University of Toronto. Prof. Manjusri Misra, School of Engineering, also works on the project.

Mohanty is also the director of U of G’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC) and holds the Premier’s Research Chair in Biomaterials and Transportation. BDDC researchers study the use of new industrial crops and biomass for green composite materials in car parts, building materials and packaging.

Watch a video presentation of their work on hybrid biobased composite materials.

From left: Rick Legate, chair of the AUTO21 board of directors; U of G team members Vidhya Nagarajan, Arturo Rodriguez-U and Kunyu Zhang; and Peter Frise, AUTO21 CEO and scientific director. Photo courtesy AUTO21 HQP

From left: Rick Legate, chair of the AUTO21 board of directors; U of G team members Vidhya Nagarajan, Arturo Rodriguez-U and Kunyu Zhang; and Peter Frise, AUTO21 CEO and scientific director. Photo courtesy AUTO21 HQP