The George S. Ansell Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (MME) department at Colorado School of Mines (CSM) has a long commitment to undergraduate and graduate education and research in physical metallurgy.
The undergraduate curriculum at MME includes a number of required and elective courses. Like many other offerings, the Forging & Forming class includes significant hands-on experiences for undergraduate seniors and graduate students, with lab sessions in blacksmith forging, friction measurement in forging, upset forging, rolling, finite element modeling of forging, wire drawing, extrusion and sheet metal forming. There are also field trips to manufacturing facilities (see figure) that allow students to frame the topics learned in class with real-world experiences.
We continue to support a strong physical metallurgy program by persistently recruiting professors with strong physical metallurgy backgrounds. The Forging Industry Educational and Research Foundation (FIERF) has directly backed this effort by supporting the FIERF Professorship at CSM, which recently transitioned from Chester Van Tyne to Kester Clarke. The program has facilitated active research in forging-relevant topics at MME for nearly three decades.
There are currently two research centers at MME focusing on the physical metallurgy of structural alloys: the Advanced Steel Processing and Product Research Center (ASPPRC) and the Center for Advanced Non-Ferrous Structural Alloys (CANFSA).
The ASPPRC has been dedicated to attaining excellence in the study of steel since 1984. Thanks to corporate supporters from all over the world, the ASPPRC is now self-sufficient. Cooperation and frequent communication between industrial sponsors and the faculty, staff and students involved in the center form the basis of the ASPPRC’s success. The center develops students that often go on to have successful careers in the steel industry.
CANFSA is an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) that was founded in 2011. It emphasizes state-of-the-art nonferrous structural alloy research. With sites at CSM and Iowa State University, and an affiliated site at the University of North Texas, this center is focused on combining computational modeling (various length and time scales) and experimental approaches (alloying, processing and microstructure/property characterization) to advance industrially relevant projects in an efficient and effective manner. The emphasis is on structural Al, Mg, Ti and Ni-based and specialty alloys to support industries that develop, manufacture and use these alloys.
In both research centers, undergraduate students are routinely engaged in industry-supported or Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU, supported by NSF) programs to gain relevant research experience, and graduate students conduct research to work toward their degrees. In addition to on-site research in the laboratories on campus, students work very closely with corporate sponsors, often incorporating site visits or internships into their research programs.
The main product of the MME department at CSM is the students that come through the programs. We endeavor to furnish them with a solid understanding in physical metallurgy and build upon that with hands-on lab activities and real-world experiences, and we plan to keep doing so long into the future!