Category: News

Katie Amar-Fox ’19 on Career Fair at Michigan Tech

Jenna Lane (Career Services) was quoted by WLUC TV6 in a story about Michigan Tech’s fall 2023 Career Fair, held Tuesday (Sept. 19) with 376 employers in attendance. MTU undergraduate Nathaniel Vogler (marketing) and alumna Katie Amar-Fox ’19 (B.S. Materials Science and Engineering) were also quoted in the story.

Nucor Melt Shop Metallurgist Katie Amar-Fox said she was able to kickstart her future because of the career fair.

“I was able to speak with Nucor when I was a second year here at Tech,” Amar-Fox said. “Then, I did a few different internships with them down in Alabama and over in Illinois, then landed a full-time spot down in Arkansas. Since then, I’ve moved up to New York with them. I’ve been really enjoying it.”

Read more and watch the video at WLUC TV6, by Caden Meines.

Paul Sanders on Partnering with LIFT

LIFT, short for Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, is a nonprofit organization established through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, academia, and private industry. Its multifaceted mission includes training workers for high-tech manufacturing jobs, advancing defense-related technology, and preparing more companies to deal in the technology that would qualify them as defense contractors.

LIFT works with Michigan Tech by attracting partners to academia, bringing both funding and industry players into projects.

Paul Sanders, a professor of materials science and engineering at Michigan Tech, has listed several interactions with LIFT. One is connecting Michigan Tech with Southfield-based Grede Foundry on a cast-iron drive train component development project.

Currently, Sanders and his team are working on mechanical property characterizations on a project LIFT brought to them involving hypersonics and additive manufacturing.

Soon to follow will be testing on custom powders LIFT is working on.

“We like the location of LIFT, we like the finances that LIFT has, and we like their emphasis on talent and training.”

Paul Sanders

Michigan Tech also finds it appealing that LIFT is so close to the kinds of students the university wants to attract to its degree programs but doesn’t always have easy access to in the Upper Peninsula.

According to Cassy Tefft de Munoz, Michigan Tech’s executive director of enrollment initiatives, the university has brought thousands of students through LIFT’s facility — some in the sixth and seventh grades — to help get them interested in STEM.

Read more at DBusiness, by Dan Calabrese.

Advancing hypersonic aerospace systems with 3D printing

Just announced this Spring was a related LIFT initiative: sponsored research by undergraduate teams at Michigan Technological University to develop new materials and “road maps” for hypersonics applications. Considering the progress made by the LIFT ramjet project, it’s clear that students’ ideas can be worth paying attention to.

Read more at Design World, by Rachael Pasini.


The Fast Get Faster: Hypersonics and 3D Printing

MTU and LIFT Partner to Design Future Additive Manufacturing Materials, Manufacturing Processes

New Technology for Custom 3DP Alloys

DBusiness Daily Update: OU Credit Union Agrees to 10-year, $5M O’rena Naming Rights Deal, and More

Paul Sanders Leads New Research on Sustainable Landfill Mining for Critical Materials Such As Aluminum

Dr. Paul Sanders ’91 is the Patrick Horvath Endowed Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Michigan Technological University

Landfill mining can recover valuable recyclable materials, including aluminum. In fact, the concentration of aluminum in many landfills is higher than the concentration of aluminum in bauxite from which the metal is derived. Now, a multidisciplinary Michigan Tech research team will determine ways to select viable and sustainable landfill sites.

Paul Sanders is the principal investigator (PI) on a project that has received a $750K research and development grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Sanders is the Patrick Horvath Endowed Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Michigan Tech. He is also a Michigan Tech alumnus. He earned his bachelor’s in metallurgy and materials engineering at Tech in 1991 before going on to earn his PhD in MSE at Northwestern. After working at Ford Motor Company, he returned to the Michigan Tech as a faculty member.

The project is titled “Aluminum Critical Mineral Production via Landfill Mining: Environmental, Community, and Technical Feasibility for Integrated Multi-Material Resource Recovery.”

Jonathan Robins (Social Sciences/Institute of Materials Processing), Timothy Eisele and Robert Handler (Chemical Engineering/Institute of Materials Processing) are co-PIs on this project. Eisele is also a Michigan Tech alumnus.

Together they will utilize a multidisciplinary team of engineers (mineral processing, metallurgy, and environmental) and social scientists to investigate if site selection is key to assessing the technical and economic feasibility of landfill mining for materials. Social science analysis of the landfill history/contents and community will be key to selecting a landfill pilot with a high probability of being viable economically, environmentally, and within the community.

DOE Funding: $750K

Read more at the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management.

MTU and LIFT Partner to Design Future Additive Manufacturing Materials, Manufacturing Processes

LIFT, the Detroit-based manufacturing innovation institute sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, has partnered with Michigan Technological University on a number of recent projects. Last year, four teams of undergraduate students designed a powder metal atomization chamber to enable the creation of new alloy metal powders for use in additive manufacturing.

While atomization is a standard technique for producing powders for metallic additive processes, there is limited production capability for custom alloys. The students’ design, a modular 10-foot-tall chamber, has the ability to atomize about 88 pounds (40 kilograms) of metal, including ferrous metals, nickel-based alloys and aluminum-based alloys.

“This atomization capability is needed because current powders for metal additive development projects are expensive and have long lead times,” said Paul Sanders, Patrick Horvath Endowed Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and advisor to the undergraduate design teams. “This chamber, if built and deployed, will provide for improved powder additive alloy design faster and at less cost across industry.”

For more information, read the full press release on LIFT’s website.

By Materials Science and Engineering.


New Technology for Custom 3DP Alloys

DBusiness Daily Update: OU Credit Union Agrees to 10-year, $5M O’rena Naming Rights Deal, and More

New Funding for Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope

An array of 6 micrographs for two materials in different time frames.
Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of fresh plastic waste (A and D) and excavated plastic (B, C, E, F) under 500× magnification. Image available on Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

Bruce Lee (BioMed/IMP) is the principal investigator (PI) on a project that has received an $804,990 research and development grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The project is titled “Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope for Research in Additive Manufacturing, Materials Development, and Plastic Waste Recycling.”

Stephen Techtmann (BioSci/IMP), Paul Sanders (MSE/IMP) and Trisha Sain (ME-EM/IMP) are co-PIs on this potential one-year project.


New Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope Proposal

NSF Funding for Yongmei Jin on Silicide Nanostructure Project

Yongmei Jin
Yongmei Jin

Yongmei Jin (MSE/IMP) is the principal investigator (PI) on a project that has received a $592,502 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation.

The project is titled “NSF-BSF: Computation-Guided Advanced Fabrication of Silicide Nanostructures with Novel Magnetic Properties.”

Ranjit Pati (Physics/IMP) is a co-PI on this potential three-year project.


Silicon technology compatible nanomagnets are needed for spintronics, which enable low-power, high-density data storage and processing critical for next-generation nano- and micro-electronic devices. This impacts a wide variety of technological applications in commercial and defense industries. A bottom-up approach based on controlled self-assembly of nanoislands on a silicon substrate is used to fabricate transition metal silicide nanostructures.

The project seamlessly integrates computation with experiment. Computation research involves first-principles density functional theory calculations and micromagnetic simulations bridged by atomistic spin model simulations. Experimental research involves controlled material synthesis, growth of self-assembled epitaxial silicide nanoislands on a silicon substrate, in-situ/ex-situ structural and compositional characterization and magnetic property measurement.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.

Abadi and Kasraie on 3D Nano-ink

Masoud Kasraie
Masoud Kasraie ’22 materials science and engineering

Parisa Pour Shahid Saeed Abadi (ME-EM/BioMed/MSE) and Masoud Kasraie ’22 (PhD, materials science and engineering) were quoted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in a story about the 3D nano-ink they developed in 2021 that could reduce the weight of many 3D-printed parts by 80%, keep cracks too tiny to see from growing in aeronautical equipment and medical devices, and double as electrical wiring.

The research was highlighted by Michigan Tech News in September 2021.

Abadi is an assistant professor in mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics, an affiliated assistant professor in biomedical engineering, and an affiliated assistant professor in materials science and engineering.

Read “A 3D Nano-ink for Stronger, Lighter Builds” by Jean Thilmany in ASME news.

Erik Herbert Receives Funding for Mechanically Stable Interface Project

Erik G. Herbert
Erik G. Herbert

Erik Herbert (MSE/IMP) is the principal investigator (PI) on a project that has received a $535,317 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation.

The project is titled “GOALI: Engineering Mechanically Stable Interfaces Through Short-Range Molecular Rearrangement Driven by Inhomogeneous li Ion Transfer Kinetics.”

Stephen Hackney (MSE/IMP) is a co-PI on this potential three-year project.


This fundamental research project aims to fill critical knowledge gaps required to enable the engineering of next generation high energy density solid state batteries. Specifically, the project will address how the chemistry, composition and physical arrangement of atoms, ions, molecules, and defects in both the atomic structure and interface morphologies collectively control the development of localized pressure known to causes catastrophic failure such as cracking or short circuiting in a battery.

This new knowledge will directly inform robust strategies to engineer the safest and highest performance batteries for consumer electronics and electric vehicles.

Statistical analysis of experimentally observed transitions in stress relaxation mechanisms will enable the construction of novel small-scale deformation mechanism maps expressed as a function of key operational variables, electrochemical cycling, and temperature. These unique maps will provide much needed insight into the physical dimensions of interface defects capable of producing catastrophic device failure by fracture of the solid-state electrolyte.

In this way, the maps will directly inform strategies and guidelines for engineering stable interfaces capable of supporting stress-free, planar deposition of a pure, metallic lithium anode.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.

Walter Milligan is the New Chair of Materials Science and Engineering

Walt Milligan
Walt Milligan

The College of Engineering announces that Walter Milligan has accepted the position of Chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, beginning July 1, 2021.

“I am very happy that Walt has agreed to be the Chair of Materials Science and Engineering,” stated Dean Janet Callahan. “His 31 years of experience at Michigan Tech, both on the faculty and in administration, will be a great asset for the Department and the College.”

Milligan began his academic career at Michigan Tech in 1989, and for 17 years he taught MSE and conducted interdisciplinary research on high-performance structural materials. In 2006, he took on a new challenge, and was appointed as Michigan Tech’s first Chief Information Officer, and was tasked with building a robust, campus-wide information technology organization. He held that position until 2015 when he returned to the faculty, and in 2019-2020 he served as the Interim Department Chair in the new Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology.

Milligan earned a BS in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati, as well as MS and PhD Degrees in Materials Engineering from Georgia Tech. He has worked for GE Aircraft Engines, Carpenter Technology Corporation, NASA – Glenn Research Center, the Nuclear Research Center in Grenoble, France, and the University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. He is a Fellow of ASM International and a Distinguished Life Member of Alpha Sigma Mu, and has served on the Boards of Directors of TMS and ABET.

“It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here for 31 years,” Milligan said. “This Department is my home, and one of the founding disciplines of the University, with a rich tradition and history. I am honored to lead the Department to its next phase.”

By the College of Engineering.