News from the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at Colorado School of Mines
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Department of Chemistry, Colorado School of Mines


Angus RockettGreetings and the best of wishes for a joyous holiday season to you and your family from your Colorado School of Mines and the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering family. I write to you as the new Department Head.  It has been an exciting year and I am very pleased and honored to be taking the helm of this outstanding Department. I would like to thank Ivar Reimanis, former Interim Department Head, who has been a tremendous help in my transition to MME and Mines. He has gone above and beyond any expectation, welcoming me and kindly guiding me into this new role, offering gentle advice on operation of the Department. Dr. Reimanis has returned to his key role of directing the ceramics center (CCAC), and continues to nurture young faculty while conducting world-leading research.

In addition to joining the Department myself, I am pleased to welcome both Amy and Kester Clarke, who come to us from Los Alamos National Laboratory.  They add youth and strength to the advanced steel research at Mines, and continue the tradition of excellence in metallurgy. Amy is an expert in x-ray characterization of metals. She is building advanced x-ray diffraction and imaging capabilities with high lateral resolution that allow her to produce maps of metal microstructures in three dimensions. She is applying techniques from x-ray, proton, and electron diffraction broadly to understanding the details of solidification of metal alloys. This has resulted in an invitation to speak at this year’s Materials Science & Technology meeting, among other recognitions, thus setting herself up as a leader in the community. Kester is building a major effort in forging and is very active in research on mechanical properties of metals. He has been awarded the FIERF Chair here at MME. The Clarkes work collaboratively on topics such as internal friction in metals during deformation and diffraction characterization of materials.   

Both Amy and Kester contribute to the continuing success of the steel center (ASPPRC). Members also include John Speer, Kip Findley, Emmanuel de Moor.  ASPPRC enjoys critical support from the steel industry and companies that depend on high-performance steels.  It is a jewel of the Department and critical to our long-term success.  The program has 28 active industrial members, all of whom sent representatives to campus in September for the annual meeting. Fifteen Mines faculty, including tenured, tenure track, adjunct, and research, are contributors to ASPPRC, with more than 30 graduate students in the center.  This represents one of the strongest and most rapidly growing industrially-sponsored research centers in the metals field.

Overall, the Department is remarkably strong, raising almost $9 million in research funds in 2016, and appears poised to increase this amount in the future.  The faculty are increasing their level of research activity through many new proposals.  At the same time, the Department and School are building research infrastructure through modernized materials characterization tools, stronger interactions with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and its staff, and through external collaborative research projects.

Through all of this we continue to enjoy life in Golden, where the skies are blue many days. The weather has been warmer than normal, but snow is on the mountains to the west and the winter season is on the way, with all of the benefits it brings.

I welcome any thoughts you may have on the Department, its research and teaching, and of course any contributions you might be willing to make to improve our ability to lead and grow in the fields of metallurgy, materials science and engineering.

Angus Rockett
Professor and Department Head
George S. Ansell Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering


Faculty and students in the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department attended MS&T16 in Salt Lake City in October.

Great showing for Mines at MS&T 16

David MatlockMaterials Science & Technology 2016 was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, October 23-27, with good attendance by Mines MME students, faculty and alumni.

This year’s achievements at MS&T included presentations and papers given by members of the Mines community, and participation in society activities. Perhaps most notable, University Professor Emeritus David Matlock received major awards from two of the societies.  Matlock delivered the AIST Adolph Martens Memorial Award Lecture, titled “Enhancing the Fatigue Performance of Steel (and Other Alloys): Have We Learned Anything from the Past?” This was one of three plenary MS&T conference lectures attended by a large audience, with more than 1,000 people. This award was established in 2010 to honor Adolf Martens (namesake of martensite), a pioneer in establishing structure-property relationships in steel and one of the first researchers to utilize optical microscopy to observe that hard steels have different features from soft steels at the microscale. The Adolf Martens Lecture recognizes the achievement of significant, broadly known technical accomplishments that have enabled important advances in processing and product application in the field of ferrous physical metallurgy and have either provided dramatic contributions to the field or made a lifetime of important contributions to the field.


Matlock also received the ASM International Albert Easton White Distinguished Teacher Award, honoring his outstanding instructional career at Mines, where he was loved (and sometimes feared) by students for his classes in mechanical metallurgy. This award was established by ASM International to recognize long (not less than 20 years) and devoted service in teaching materials science and engineering, the ability to inspire and impart enthusiasm to students and significant materials accomplishments. David could not be a more appropriate winner. These awards capped off a year where he also received the Distinguished Member and Fellow Award from AIST.

In honor of David’s awards, Department Head Angus Rockett organized an alumni reception in Salt Lake City at Caffé Molise, a delightful Italian restaurant close to the Convention Center. The reception was well attended by faculty, graduate students, a group of undergraduate students that traveled to MS&T this year and many alumni.
Ivar Reimanis holding piece of glass

Department wins contract to study glass strength

Usable Glass Strength Coalition awards Mines multiyear deal to study material at the atomic level.

Kester Clarke

New FIERF professor to keep focus on forging

Assistant Professor Kester Clarke to pursue innovative research, recruit students and encourage diversity.

Geoff Brennecka

Assistant professor wins NSF CAREER Award

Geoff Brennecka to study how ferroelectric materials respond to stimulus at fundamental level.

Blake Whitley

PhD student named to Heat Treating Society board

Blake Whitley to speak for fellow students during one-year term as nonvoting board member.



Marissa ReigelMarissa Reigel knew from a young age that she wanted to be an engineer. Early on she would help her dad with his business, involving telephone and computer wiring. She was always interested in learning how and why things behave the way they do. Eventually, she received both her B.S. and Ph.D. in metallurgical and materials engineering from Colorado School of Mines. During her time here she had internships at both NASA and a Chevron gas refinery. After that impressive start, she is now a principal engineer for Savannah River National Laboratory.

Nowadays, she works with processing, immobilization, and disposal of nuclear waste. Marissa’s current project? Creating and establishing erosion and corrosion resistant pieces for a nuclear waste processing facility in Washington state. On top of this, Marissa is both investigating new methods to retain problematic contaminants in immobilized nuclear waste and is using additive manufacturing to expedite tritium processing at the Savannah River Site.

Though this all seems too much to handle, Marissa is still quite pleased to be working in the field she has chosen. Every day she learns something new, with a diverse day that lets her expand outside of her comfort zone. There is no such thing as a “typical work day” for Marissa, and that’s just the way she likes it
Chuancheng Duan
Chuancheng Duan, a Materials Science PhD candidate, was awarded the 2015 National Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Chinese Students Studying Abroad. The award is set up to honor overseas Chinese students pursuing a PhD with outstanding academic accomplishment across all academic disciplines. Developed in 2003, the awards are based on academic merit and encourage international Chinese students to achieve first-class results during their studies. Student winners are selected through a rigorous process of evaluation of their academic and research work.


Copyright © 2016 College of Applied Science and Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, All rights reserved.

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