The State of Utah has established the Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative to bolster Utah’s economy with high-paying jobs. The intent is to recruit world-class research teams in care fully targeted disciplines. These teams will develop products and services that can be commercialized in new businesses and industries. $40M has been allocated over a five-year period. In addition, construction of a $130M USTAR building is planned for the campus, funded by $100M from the State via the USTAR initiative and the balance from the U.
Currently eight USTAR programs at the university have been authorized:
Each USTAR program will have about $5M over a five-year period to accomplish the initiative’s goals. It is expected that the Department of Metallurgical Engineering will be able to participate in the USTAR programs on Nanotechnology Biosensors and Utah Fossil Energy.
Francis Elnathan, Amrita Mahapatra, and Shili Zheng are studying the use of activated carbon and magnetic activated carbon for gold recovery from alkaline cyanide solution under Jan Miller’s supervision.
Flow through packed particle beds is the topic for Alvaro Videla’s (MS 2006) PhD thesis. Alvaro is using 3D x-ray CT information to define complex geometry of the pore network structure and simulating the unsaturated flow behavior using the lattice Boltzmann method, with advice from Profs. Lin and Miller.
With Prof. Miller, Dr. Jinshan Li continues to look at noncyanide hydrometallurgy strategies for the treatment of gold ores, including leaching, solution concentration and purification, and recovery.
Prof. Mike Moats has enjoyed a fruitful first year with the department. His group is working on two projects, funded by DOE/CAST and Phelps Dodge Mining Company. Prachi Shrivastava is focused on improving anode technology for primary metal electro winning systems by stabilization of ruthenium dioxide for oxygen evolution. Chayata Piriyapong is working on under standing rapid voltage escalations experienced by iridium dioxide electrocatalysts in copper electrowinning. The ultimate goal is to develop improved anodes that can reduce the power consumption of worldwide primary metal operations by 400 mW. Mike’s research group is rounded out with an undergraduate researcher, Steve Merrill.
Mike was awarded an NSF travel grant to visit Dr. Adalgisa Andrade at the University of Sao Paulo-FFCLRP in Brazil to develop a collaborative research pro gram on developing electrocatalysts for wastewater electrolysis and direct ethanol PEM fuel cells.
Another international collaboration is being formed with Dr. Masatsugu Morimitsu of Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. Dr. Morimitsu visited in October 2006 to establish plans for a joint research program developing “intelligent” electrocatalysts that can inhibit side reactions while promoting desired reactions.
Mike co-authored four papers in 2006 on electrocatalytic coatings for industrial electrolysis, particle microelectrodes from flotation concentrates and tailings, and anode passivation in copper electrorefining.
In May 2006, Phelps Dodge Mining Corp. invited Mike to deliver a one-day short course on alternative anodes for copper electrowinning, in Safford, Arizona. Eighteen process and research engineers from all of Phelps Dodge’s North American electrowinning operations attended the course.
Finally, Mike has been invited to join the Copper Refining Group, a North American industry consortium of all operating copper refineries. Mike is only the second academic invitee in the 20-year history of the Group.
Dr. H. Y. Sohn has a new $200,000 project funded by the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM), "Mathematical Modeling of Flame Reaction Process for the Synthesis of Silicon Compounds from Waste Silicon Sludge," running through April 2010. A project on suspension hydrogen reduction of iron oxide concentrate, funded by American Iron & Steel Institute & U.S. DOE, is underway, as well as one on metallic iron whiskers growth during the reduction of iron oxide, funded by the U.S.-Egypt Joint Science and Technology Board/NSF. He published 21 papers during the year.
He and Prof. Zak Fang have three continuing projects funded by the U.S. DOE, on bulk nanocrystalline cemented tungsten carbide, chemical vapor synthesis of metal hydrides for reversible hydrogen storage, and nanocrystalline intermetallic coatings for metal alloys in coal-fired environments.
Dr. Dong Won Lee of Nanopowder Materials Group at the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials, Changwon, Korea visited from September to October 2006 to discuss nanopowder synthesis with Prof. Sohn's research group and to plan international collaboration.
Dr. Weol Cho is developing two new technologies. The first is a new synthetic oxide flux system based on titanium oxide to remove nitrogen from molten metals including steels and superalloys. The new flux was found to have a much higher affinity for nitrogen than other oxide fluxes reported previously. The nitrogen content can be lowered to an extremely low level using the flux. The preliminary study was presented at the Sohn International Symposium and has been submitted to Materials and Metallurgical Transactions for publication. An application of utility patent on the discovery of the flux has been filed by the Technology Commercialization Office.
The other project is to develop a new process to eliminate copper impurities from solid ferrous scrap, in particular auto scrap. The trace amount of copper causes a detrimental effect to various steel properties. For this reason, ferrous scrap containing copper has not been recycled effectively by the steel industry, especially not by the EAF minimill industry. The proposed process will remove copper without melting scrap, unlike other processes attempted previously. Lab-scale fundamental studies are currently underway to fully develop the technology.
Prof. Mike Free’s research group works in the areas of metal extraction, electrodeposition, corrosion, and electrochemical machining. They are currently working on electrodeposition methods to produce alloy coatings that have appropriate values of stress, resistivity, composition, and coefficient of thermal expansion to meet the demands of the electronics industry.
The group is also working on projects to improve gold and copper recovery during extraction from gold and copper ores. Another project is underway to reduce energy consumption in the copper industry by more than 50% using nontraditional hydrometallurgical and electrometallurgical processing.
Future projects are in various stages of development, including work in nanoparticle removal, fuel cells, agglomeration, precipitation, corrosion modeling, metal extraction modeling, and electrochemical micromachining. In addition, they are collaborating with Prof. Guruswamy’s group in a corrosion study involving magnetostrictive alloys.
The work in the electrometallurgy group has resulted in research opportunities for several undergraduate and graduate students this past year.
Dr. Wlodzimierz Zmierczak initiated development of processes for production of two types of new generation fuels from lignin, an abundant biomass component. They include conversion of lignin to bio-jet fuel and to bio-naphthenic kerosene. The bio-jet fuel project, funded by DARPA, is realized as teamwork with North Dakota University. In the framework of this project The group will provide the technology for production of aromatic component of the fuel. The goal is generation of JP-8 jet fuel from biomass feedstocks. The bio-naphthenic kerosene project, funded by BioFuels Development Group, leads to production of high-performance jet and rocket fuels.
Wlodek and Jan are starting a large long-term R&D project on production of dimethyl ether (DME) from synthesis gas generated in the coal gasification process. This project will develop catalysts and reactors for commercial production of dimethyl ether (DME) and consecutive conversions of this primary product to olefins, gasoline, and diesel fuel.
Wlodek continues projects on lignin to bio-gasoline (PureVision Tech nologies, Inc.) and naphthenic kerosene from refinery naphtha feedstock projects.
Microbes, plants, and their components (biomaterials) are being harnessed to clean various wastewaters of inorganic contaminants. Bioremediation can be used to clean up oil spills and remove metals, salts, and other chemicals from the soil, water, and waste materials. Additionally, biotechnologies have enabled scientists to harness the genes and gene products of different plants and microbes to increase their usefulness in bioremediation. Research conducted under programs directed by Dr. Jack Adams and Jan Miller is developing new biotreatment products and bioprocesses based on these concepts.
This research is being conducted by Nicol Newton, Madhuri Nanduri, James Kennedy, and Brett Richins. Bioremediation processes and products developed by this team are being integrated into biotreatment and bioremediation processes for mine wastes and wastewaters.
Dr. Ravi Chandran’s State Center of Excellence on titanium boride materials is in its fourth year. Four grad students are creating titanium boride-coated titanium materials and nanostructured titanium boride for applications ranging from biomedical implant devices to bearings, gears, and dies. The Center is funded by the State Office of Economic Development and by Ortho Development Corp., of Draper, Utah.
The students, principally Curtis Lee, in collaboration with Loveridge Machine Co. of Salt Lake, have designed and built a pin-on-disk wear machine to enable testing of implant materials submerged in bovine serum, a medium simulating human blood. The machine has force and torque sensors in three axes and is intended to measure subtleties associated with dynamic friction between contacting hard surfaces. The Center has also made the first titanium boride-coated balls for use as ball bearings for industrial/aerospace applications.
Anil Kumar completed his master’s thesis, developing a materials information system for efficient database storage of materials property data of commercial metallic materials. He has joined a database software company in Detroit, Michigan.
Two new students have joined Dr. Chandran’s group. Biplab Sarma, formerly at Essar Steel Ltd., India, has joined Dr. Chandran’s group for PhD research on titanium boride materials. Paul Chang transferred from the Department of Mechanical Engineering to work with Dr. Chandran on fatigue of superalloys. In a collaborative project between the University and GE Aircraft Engines, Cincinnati, Paul will explore the nature of duality of fatigue brought about by stray inclusions in superalloys.
Dr. Chandran also received a one-year Small Grant for Exploratory Research from NSF, for understanding and controlling the uncertainty in fatigue of superalloys. GE Aircraft Engines Corp. will provide material for the study, which may help in establishing long-term collaborations in this area. Dr. Gerald Cashman of GE Aircraft Engines visited in November for discussions.
The activities of Prof. Siva Guruswamy's magnetic and electronic materials group include developing high-performance magnetostrictive alloys for sensor and actuator and other applications, research on nanoscale magnetic structures, development of solid-state thermal diode structures, examining deformation and dam age in silicon, germanium, and compound semiconductor crystals and wafers, and examination of issues related to failures in lead cable sheathing in high-voltage under ground power transmission systems.
The clean-room facility for magnetic materials and thin film development work, the high-temperature metallic single-crystal growth facility, and magnetic measurement capabilities have seen further improvements over the past year. Research in nanoscale magnetic and electronic structures is anticipated to expand during the coming year.
We are fortunate to have excellent graduate students Jay Jayaraman, Swieng Thuanboon, Deepak Thimmegowda, Adirek Janwong, Cody Pearce, Padungkiat Kwannnikom and Passakorn Duangmuan working on various projects. We are deeply saddened by the serious accident to Deepak's brother recently, and we pray for his complete recovery. Jason Neff has taken employment with Syllarus and is anticipated to finish his MS work during the year.
It is a great pleasure to welcome Dr. Nakorn Srisukhumbowornchai and his family back to Salt Lake City. He is here as a Visiting Professor during 2006-07, working at the Magnetic Materials Laboratory as a part of Center of Excellence activities. He is currently a faculty member and Acting Division Head at the King Monghut's Institute of Technology, in Bangkok, Thailand.
Thanks to support from the University and many individuals, we have been able to bring the TEM back on-line. A popular new course in the principles and practice of trans mission electron microscopy was offered Fall semester, enabling students from various groups on campus to operate the TEM independently. Efforts to obtain a next-generation TEM facility are underway.
The Magnetic Materials Laboratory was recognized as a Finalist for the Stoel Rieves award and as one of the winners of the Edison Innovation Showcase competition held in Salt Lake City in 2006.
Visitors this year include Dr. K. L. Murty from NC State, Dr. Raghaw Rai, Free Scale Semiconductor (Motorolla), Austin Texas, Dr. Srini Srinivasan, Los Alamos, Drs. Greg Peisert and Brian Lent, JGAI, and visitors from Norway and Detroit. Dr. Rai presented an invited lecture on "Failure Analysis of Semi con ductor Devices during Device Development and Manufacture."
Dr. Miller’s students Edgar Blanco and Francisco Medina are investigating aspects of the flotation of gold ores such as factors that limit effluent recovery, cindlugin liberation issues, and surface chemistry factors. Students working on other flotation research include Orhan Ozdemir (trona), Hao Du (other soluble salts), and Lukasz Hupka (phosphate rock).
Preferential grain boundary fracture in multiphase particles is being studied by Daniel Garcia, under the direction of Profs. Lin and Miller, using 3D x-ray CT information to define the extent of preferential breakage as a function of the loading rate and other variables.
Dr. Raj Rajamani’s research group just completed a DOE project on energy reduction in SAG mills via redesign of shell lifters and discharge pulp lifters. Cortez Gold Mines, Crescent Valley, Nevada cooperated immensely with the project. They modified the shell and pulp lifter as recommended by the U of U team, and in January 2007 they reported a net plant work index reduction of 3.6 kWh/ton.
Trailokya N. Patra will be completing his M.S. thesis on pulp lifters in May 2007. Dr. Sanjeeva Latchireddi, postdoctoral fellow on the project for three years, took a chief engineer position at Outokumpu Technology, Centennial, Colorado.
In summer 2006, Dr. Jose Delgadillo completed his Ph.D. on the computational fluid dynamics of hydrocyclones using large eddy simulation as the turbulence model. He continues to work with Dr. Rajamani on the CFD of heavy-media cyclones. Jose has taught the mineral processing class for the past two years. He received excellent reviews from his 2005 class of 13 students.
Tugcan Tuzcu is applying a nonlinear population balance model to ultrafine grinding — that is, the evolution of particle size distribution in stirred mill and planetary mills. He is pursuing a Ph.D.
It has been a challenge for Swadhin Saurabh to magnify the Lorentz force in his eddy current device. Lately, he figured out how to do this successfully. He will be completing masters degree soon.
Vishal Durisetti pursued the problem of measuring impact spectra in grinding mills. He devised load cell package and wireless transmissions to go on the grinding mill. The force spectra of impacts were successfully gathered via wireless and a control computer. DOE is funding the project with the aim of helping mill operators monitor grinding mills more closely.
During the past six years, the X-ray micro computed tomography (CT) instrumentation has provided for 3D visualization and analysis of multiphase systems at a resolution of ten microns. This custom-designed, state-of-the-art equipment has been used by researchers from multiple departments for advanced research in core analysis; mineral exposure/liberation; fluid transport analysis of heap leaching systems; colloid transport and deposition in porous media; tooth enamel mineralization; metrological analysis of micro-electro-mechanical systems; LB multiphase flow simulation in porous media (particle beds and exploration drill core); and characterization of cellular polycrystalline diamond, structured composites and advanced alloys, of porous brittle solid structures, of energy resources, and of structural analogs of geological material observed by the Martian Rover.
Because X-ray CT imaging nondestructively measures the material characteristics of a sample at each volume element in three-dimensional space, multiphase systems can be quantified while structure and dimensions are being measured. In addition, for porous structures the internal surface (interface) and pore network connectivity can be determined.
At present, multiscale (scale-up) analysis, from nanometers to meters, is a major issue in the science and engineering community. Although electron tomography using STEM can provide true nanometer resolution, sample preparation, penetration depth of dense material, and limited view tomography have limited its application to biological studies.
The resolution for x-ray projection-type computed tomography is commonly thought to be determined by the x-ray source spot size. Only recently have x-ray sources with spot sizes of 1 mm or less become available. These micro-focus x-ray generators combined with advances in image detector technology have given us nano-tomography systems with submicron resolution.
Jan Miller and Dr. C. L. Lin plan to expand the existing laboratory to provide 3D multiscale imaging of multiphase systems, both at the small, nano-scale end (hundreds of nanometers in resolution) and at the larger milli-scale end (millimeter level of resolution). The cost for the expanded laboratory is estimated at $1,000,000.
For scale-up purposes, a milli-CT scanner will be installed suitable for imaging of larger multiphase systems at the millimeter level of resolution. Key differences between the milli-CT scanner and CT scanners commonly available in medical facilities include the use of high-energy x-ray sources and systems with higher resolution and the ability to handle dense materials and large objects and to operate the system under in-situ conditions such as flow in packed particle beds or porous media.
In addition to the current research programs, the proposed expanded CT laboratory (nano-micro-milli) will be of particular interest for analysis of exploration/produc tion cores without tedious sample preparation. The cores can be directly examined in the field using a mobile system.
The Powder Metallurgy group under Prof. Zak Fang’s direction is working on synthesis of nanocrystalline materials including nanoparticles and consolidation of nanoparticles into bulk nano crystalline materials, functionally designed composite hard materials containing cemented tungsten carbide and polycrystalline diamond, and hydrogen storage materials.
The Utah State Center of Excellence on Functionally Designed Cemented Tungsten Carbide and Diamond Composite was established.
An ultrahigh-pressure rapid hot consolidation press is finally installed and tested. It consolidates nanosized powders for fabrication of bulk nanocrystalline materials. Materials that have been consolidated on this press include nano tungsten carbide, nano tungsten, nano boron carbide, and nano tantalum carbide.
Hydrogen-storage materials research made significant progress. We published several papers and applied for patents on two breakthrough materials and reactions that are potentially usable for hydrogen storage. As the result, we are now the lead organization for research on amide-related materials for hydrogen storage within the Metal Hydride Center of Excellence led by Sandia National Lab, funded by DOE.
To prepare future engineers and scientists for the challenge of the everchanging technological development in the real world, Zak now offers a class entitled “Selected Topics on Nanoparticles for Engineers.” The class was taught the first time in Fall 2006, and it attracted students from both in and outside the department.
Xu Wang and Haibo Zhang were the respective winners of second and third prizes for metallography during the annual conference of the American Powder Metallurgy Institute.
Two more undergraduates, Eric Riddle and Megan Hotchkiss, joined James Paramore to work in the group as undergraduate research assistants.
David Harding has pseudo-graduated and gone to work for Diamicron in Orem, Utah. David started in the department as a freshman over eight years ago. He has passed his doctoral qualification exams.
Oladapo Eso defended his doctoral dissertation and has started his career with Alldyne Advanced Materials, a division of Alleghany Corporation. Vineet Kumar finished his Masters program and will be returning for a Ph.D degree.
A unique project on water treatment is being carried out with Newmont under Jan Miller’s supervision, with focus on waste water treatment for Yanacocha Gold Mine, Peru. One of the world’s largest membrane units was installed at Yanacocha by Harrison Western for removal of contaminants in the cyanide solution, such as arsenic, lead, mercury, zinc, selenium, copper, thallium, cyanate, and thiocyanate. The unit has performed effectively since installation, but concerns regarding accumulation of contaminants in the process water have stimulated research.
The project involves testing membrane equipment at Harrison Western laboratories to evaluate the utility of membrane tech nol ogy in conjunction with solution chemistry to recover and/or remove cyanide from process waters such as those encountered at Yanacocha. Rajesh Raitani, a PhD student in the Environmental Engineering option, will carry out speciation of various oxyanions and cyanoanions in permeate and the concentrate streams in order to develop a process strategy for treating the concentrate stream prior to recycle to the plant operations.