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McMaster Steel Research Centre

Hamilton, Ontario, is the centre of Canada’s steel industry and McMaster’s Steel Research Centre, founded in 2000, has evolved from a long established university-industry cooperation to a key resource for industry.

The Steel Research Centre was set up to encourage substantial involvement by its industrial members. Member companies provide both technical and management guidance through Program Review Groups, as well as representation on the Centre’s Board. The lines of communication are shown in the diagram, relating the member companies, Program Review & Project Groups in each core area, and the Board. Inter-disciplinary projects are illustrated by the overlapping of Process Metallurgy and Control Groups. The Board ensures that the research is in line with the Centre’s goals and Members’ interests. The University Senate appoints the Steel Research Centre Director, on the advice of the Board and Dean of Engineering. The Director reports to the Board. The bi-annual Board meetings approve the Centre’s budget, project portfolio and programs for the coming year, and: 

  • Establish long-term goals for the Centre
  • Establish membership fees and policies
  • Approve patenting initiatives
  • Assist with recruitment of new members
  • Assist in the development of initiatives, such as creation of new Chairs within the Centre

The Associate Dean Research and External Affairs is Chair. Board members are drawn from the Centre’s member companies, government service and the university. All member companies have voting seats on the Board during the entire period of their support.

Steel Research Centre Structure:



Program Review Groups

The research projects are organized into programs with broadly defined goals or themes related to each area. Each area has a Program Review Group (PRG) made up of the key investigators, member company representatives, and the Centre’s Operations Manager. PRGs will meet during semi-annual reviews but will also confer as needed to establish programs and consider project proposals for recommendation to the Board, exercising primary scientific, business and budget oversight. The PRGs are the focal point for technical exchange between industrial and academic researchers, where goals are agreed and results first discussed.

Industry collaboration with the then Department of Metallurgy and Metallurgical Engineering was formalized as long ago as 1962 with the establishment of the Stelco Chair of Metallurgy, held in succession by Robert Ward, Jack Kirkaldy, and Wei-Kao Lu.


More recently, Gordon Irons has developed a strong focus on steelmaking process metallurgy as Dofasco/NSERC Chair. The significant benefits from this work have motivated the expansion of the Research Chair model for industrial collaboration into the Steel Research Centre. The Centre combines the expertise of three dedicated research chairs in the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering with strong participation from the three departments.


The SRC combines research objectives established by the steel industry with government funding supporting wealth creation through science and McMaster’s own identification of Science-based Manufacturing as a key research area. Developing exploitable technologies motivates and sustains a talented academic research team for the benefit of the steel industry, while producing a stream of knowledgeable engineers ready to make careers in steel. There are three components to the SRC’s mission:

Research leading to commercially relevant new approaches to ironmaking, steelmaking process control, waste processing, steel product design and metal forming technologies.
Training of highly qualified personnel to provide the means of transferring new technology to the steel industry.

Continuing education for steel industry engineers to enhance the receptor capacity for innovation.
Guidance from the Centre’s industrial members is an essential principle of the organization. We have built up a membership consisting of the world's major steel producers, as well as suppliers and engineering consultants to the industry.

Funding for research projects in the centre come from member companies, augmented by leveraging through Canadian Federal Government research grants or other funds made available by the Province of Ontario. The centre has received funding from:


Natural Sciences & Engineering Research CouncilCollaborative Research and Development Programs
Industrial Research Chair Program
Canada Foundation for Innovation

Ontario Centres of Excellence
Ontario Research & Development Challenge Fund
Ontario Innovation Trust
In 2002 the Centre was awarded a $2.5 million grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation - Innovation Fund for the acquisition of major research facilities. This was applied towards acquisition of the galvanizing simulator, X-ray cinematography, glow discharge optical emission spectroscopy and upgrades our induction melting laboratory.


Scheduled Bi-annual Meetings

2019 Fall Meeting:

  1. Program Review: Thursday, December 5, from 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  2. Board Meeting: Friday, December 6 from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

2020 Spring Meeting:

  1. Program Review: Thursday, May 28 from 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  2. Board Meeting: Friday, May 29 from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Steel Research Laboratory Facilities

The centre's research uses a wide range of facilities located at McMaster. Some of these are dedicated to Steel Research while other generic analytical equipment is accessed through the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of the Brockhose Institute for Materials Research.


  • Vacuum/Atmosphere Induction Furnace (75 KW - 100 lb. Heat)
    • Wire feeding
    • Powder injection
  • Air Melt Induction furnace (75 KW – 200 lb. Heat)
    • Wire feeding
    • Powder injection
  • X-ray cinematography for viewing inside metals and slags.
  • Resistance heated crucible melting furnace (1000°C)
  • Gas fired reverbratory furnace for rotary hearth simulation - 6 kg green ball charge
  • Green Ball/Pelletizing disc
  • Water modelling:
    • Electric arc furnace including bottom stirring, lance, arc effects and CO boil.
    • Submerged arc furnace
    • Ladles/Torpedo Cars
  • Particle image velocimetery
  • Facilities for Computational Fluid Dynamics modelling
  • Isotope exchange apparatus for studies of reaction kinetics
  • Atmosphere/vacuum thermogravimetric analysis systems
  • Galvanizing wiping rig model (Oil on 12in wide endless steel belt)
  • Salt bath furnaces (to 1300°C)
  • Stanat rolling mill (2 high: 4 in Ø x 6 in rolls)
  • Leco CS 444 Carbon – Sulfur analyser

  • Leco TC – 136 Oxygen – Nitrogen analyser

  • Jarrell-Ash 9000 Inductively Coupled Plasma/ Optical Emission Spectrometer

  • Perkin Elmer 403 Atomic Absorption Spectrometer

  • Micromass IsoPrime mass spectrometer (for isotope exchange studies)

  • Perkin Elmer Autosystem XL gas chromatograph

  • Glow discharge optical emission spectroscopy: JY profiler HR. (Fe, C, Mn, S, Si, P, Ni, Cr, Nb, Ti, B, Mo, Al, Zn Mg, Sn, Ca, Co, V, W, H, O, N).

  • Struers Pedemax 2 automatic polishing

  • Struers Roto-System 300 automatic polishing (arrives Dec)

  • Leitz Metalloplan metallograph with digital imaging

  • Philips 515 Scanning Electron Microscope With EDS

  • Philips CM12 Transmission Electron Microscope with EDS

  • JEOL 2010F Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope with EDS

  • Leco M-400-H2 microhardness tester

  • Charpy impact toughness tester

Instron Mechanical Test Machines (Hydraulic)

Two Test Frames:

  1. 100 kN

  2. 250 kN

  • Vee Jaw faces 6.1 – 26.2 mm diameter for gripping round specimens.

  • Vee Jaw faces 50 mm wide (100 kN) for gripping specimens 0 – 7.8 mm thick (For flat specimens)

  • Vee Jaw faces 100 mm wide (250 kN) for gripping specimens 0 – 6.4 mm thick (For flat specimens)

Both load frames are fully computerized:

  1. Built in high-speed interface.

  2. Advanced sensor technology provides 19 bit data resolution across complete span of the sensor.

  3. Transducer signal provides high accuracy.

  • Extensometers

    • High Temp: Up to 1200°

    • CLow Temp: Down to –200°C

    • Room Temp

Instron/Satec System Creep Test Machine

  • Load Capacity 3 kN

  • Load frame provides testing space for specimen elongation up to 75 mm.

  • Testing can be preformed under vacuum, in atmosphere, or under inert gas.

  • High temperature furnace up to 1200°C, with 3-zone temperature control.

  • Beta Laser Micrometer:

    • Performs high speed non-contact measurements along one axis

    • Gathers comprehensive Statistical Process Control data

    • Computerized data acquisition.

Lloyd’s Screw driven test Machine

Load Cell:

  1. 1000 N

  2. 30 kN

  • Machine can perform simple tensile, compression, and bending tests.

  • Fully computerized data acquisition.

  • Jaw faces for both round and flat specimens

W. W. Smeltzer Corrosion Laboratory 

* EG & G Princeton Applied Research corrosion measurement systems with control & data collection software for:
    * Potentiodynamic polarization
    * Tafel plots
    * Polarization resistance measurement
    * Cyclic polarization
    * Potentiokinetic reactivation
    * Galvanic corrosion
* Pine & Hokuto Denko electrode rotators with bi-potentiostat, ring-disk and cylindrical electrodes for electrochemical studies involving hydrodynamic and velocity effects.
* Temperature controlled Greene cells.
* Rohrback Cosasco lab portable Corrators for instantaneous corrosion rate and pitting tendency determinations.
* Various potentiostats and D.C. power supplies with multiplexing capability(both high current & voltage).
* Micro-electrodes with computer controlled micro manipulator and potentiostat for in-situ study of solution properties within pits and crevices.

Lab Room
Hille Press

Round (50 mm) and square (50 & 33 mm) section cup drawing
Conventional and Tractrix dies
Swift flat bottom 50mm
Swift hemispherical 50mm & 75mm
Fukui Test
Hole Expansion Test

200 Ton Servo-hydraulic Press

Configurable for LDH testing and Marciniak Cup

Experimental Hydrakupper
Hydraulic bulge testing

John Hodgins Engineering Building (JHE) Room: B115/B130

Dynamic Mechanical Spectrometer

  • 10-3 to 10 Hz
  • -150°C to 400°C
  • Sample size: <1mm x 10mm x 40-50mm
  • Mechanical damping of cast irons and steels
  • Strain ageing of low carbon, IF and TRIP steels
  • Determination of solute C, N, B, Mn in steels
  • Determination of elastic properties


The Centre’s activities fall into three main areas:


Our world-class researchers offer top notch support to the steel industry.



Membership in the McMaster Steel Research Centre is available to companies that have an interest in the steel industry as producers, suppliers or users. Members pay annual membership fees and participate in decision making and intellectual property as outlined below. The Members' fees attract matching funds from Government agencies. Annual memberships, therefore, provide a highly levered access to about one million dollars of research activity.

Membership commitments are for five years, with provision for withdrawal on six months’ notice. The membership agreement and intellectual property policy outline rights in, and measures to protect the value of, developments made by the Centre.

Summary of Membership Right

* Early access to research results.
* Pre-publication copies of papers.
* Semi-annual reviews.
* Access to short courses.
* Non-exclusive, non-transferable, royalty –free licences for in-house use of IP developed by the Centre’s research.
* Exclusive, transferable, royalty-bearing licence for IP developed by research contracts with the Centre.
* Research contracts use discounted OH rate (30%)
* Entitled to transferable, non-exclusive, royalty-bearing licences permitting commercial exploitation of IP to third parties
* Participates in Program Review Groups
* Board membership


Blast Furnace Ironmaking Course

It is an in-depth, week-long course held every second year. It covers every aspect of blast furnace ironmaking, making it invaluable for managers, operators, engineers, researchers and suppliers of equipment, refractories and raw materials. It is officially recognized by the American Iron and Steel Institute. The lecturers in the course are acknowledged experts in their fields and the delegates come from diversified industrial backgrounds. The week-long course consists of 24 lectures given by experts in the field, supplemented by a computer game, and plant tours.

Cokemaking Course

It is designed to present knowledge of the coke plant to operators, researchers and suppliers to the industry. It is patterned after the Blast Furnace Course. The week-long course held every second year consist of 18 lectures given by international experts in the field, supplemented by two case study workshops, a computer game, and plant tours.

Contact Us

 Joe McDermid

Director, Steel Research Centre 
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON, L8S 4L7, Canada
Tel: (905) 525-9140 ext. 27476
Fax: (905) 526-8404

John Thomson

Operations Manager, Steel Research Centre
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON, L8S 4L7, Canada
Tel: (905) 525-9140 ext. 24955
Fax: (905) 526-8404