Laboratory for Strategic Materials

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
Area(s) of Expertise

Our research group takes a combined theoretical and experimental approach to address the world major challenges, including growing demand for natural resources (mainly energy & materials) and anthropogenic environmental impacts, through enhancement of existing processes and development of new materials and production routes in various industrial sectors: energy, water, and metals. Our research lies at the intersection of “Process Engineering”, “Electrochemistry”, and “Materials Science”. Our research combines fundamental science and engineering principals to arrive at solutions for real world applications.

The first mission of our research program is “to develop innovative hydrometallurgical, supercritical, and electrochemical processes for extraction and recycling of strategic materials including REEs, PGMs, lithium, and iron”. The second mission of our group is “to develop game-changing processes and devices (e.g., batteries) to address the sustainability challenges in terms of energy, environment, and materials criticality”. The third mission of our group is “to design and fabricate advanced materials with controlled properties including hydrophobicity (non-wetting), scale-resistivity, transparency, and electrical properties".

What the facility does

Develop innovative processes and devices to extract strategic materials and design of advanced materials

Research Services

High pressure acid leaching; atmospheric leaching; process modelling (OLI software, FactSage, and Aspen Plus); super critical fluid extraction; molten electrolysis; materials synthesis; solubility measurements; battery fabrication; battery testing; high temperature materials testing.

Sectors of Application
  • Chemical industries
  • Clean technology
  • Energy (renewable and fossil)
  • Mining, minerals and metals

Name of equipment in use

Description of function

Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES)

To measure concentration of ions in electrolytes

Autoclave

High pressure experiments

Gas Chromatograph

To measure gas concentrations to ppm levels

Microreactor

Perform supercritical extraction

High temperature vertical tube furnace

To perform molten salt/oxide electrolysis

High temperature chamber furnace

Pyrometallurgy, carbothermic reduction, sintering and materials synthesis

Potentio/galvanostat

Electrochemical testing

Battery tester

Test up to 16 batteries simultaneously

Pouch cell assembly line

Full facilities for slurry mixing, doctor-blade coating, cutters/welders, vacuum sealer

  • Agrium
  • BEMISA (Brasil Exploração Mineral S.A.)
  • GreenMantra Technologies
  • H.C. Starck
  • Hatch
  • Mercedes Benz Research and Development North America
  • Nutrien
  • Potent Group
  • Rio Tinto
  • Tenova Goodfellow
  • Vale