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Dr. Mark KoopmanDr. Mark Koopman, Research Assistant Professor

Mark’s academic research has spanned metallurgy, syntactic foams and composites, with an emphasis on materials characterization, particularly electron microspies, microanalysis and mechanical testing. He holds graduate degrees in materials science and environmental engineering from UAB and did postgraduate work at Harvard University. His work in the Fang group has centered on HSPT processing of Ti hydride powder, as well as continuing work on hard tool materials and nano-W research.

Interests: world cultures and cuisines, wilderness and travel

Office – WBB 506

Coorespondence: Dept. of Metallurgy, 135 South 1460 East, Rm 412, Salt Lake City, UT 84112 .

peiDr. Pei Sun, Research Assistant Professor

Dr. Pei Sun’s current research interests focus on titanium metallurgy, powder metallurgy, and additive manufacturing. He has particularly strong expertise on powder metallurgy and physical metallurgy of titanium. During his graduate studies, his doctoral dissertation research focused on understanding the fundaments (i.e., phase transformation and microstructural evolution) of a novel powder metallurgy process-hydrogen sintering and phase transformation (HSPT) for producing high-performance and low-cost titanium.  He experimentally investigated and determined the pseudo binary phase diagram of (Ti-6Al-4V)-H, based on which he elucidated in detail the phase transformations during the HSPT process using in-situ synchrotron X-ray. After graduation, he co-invented a low-cost method called Granulation-Sintering-Deoxygenation (GSD) for producing spherical Ti powder for additive manufacturing. He is currently focused on scaling up the GSD technology to commercialization. Additionally, he is working on developing a new powder-based additive manufacturing technology.  Dr. Pei Sun is also a co-inventor of the processes for deoxygenation of Ti powder and the process for making Ti metal powder from titanium dioxide, i.e. the hydrogen assisted matallothermic reduction of Ti (HARM) process. 

 Dr. Pei Sun received his Ph.D degree from the University of Utah in 2015, and his bachelor’s degree from Central South University (China) in 2008. He came to the University of Utah and joined Prof. Fang’s research group in 2009 after a brief graduate study at Institute of Metal Research Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMR CAS) for one year. He has authored or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed journal publications and a book chapter. He is one of the named inventors of three US patents.

 While Dr. Pei Sun spend most of his time on research, he also enjoys a variety of hobbies such as hiking, skiing, camping and traveling with his family.

Dr. Chai RenDr. Chai Ren, Research Associate

Chai Ren was born and raised in Beijing, China. He has been at the University of Utah since 2009 and received his Ph.D degree in Metallurgical Engineering in August, 2012. His doctoral dissertation research focused the development of Fe-based magnetostriction materials. Currently, he is working on nano-W materials for fusion reactor application. His research interests include powder metallurgy, hydrogen storage, magnetic materials, synchrotron and neutron based techniques, single crystal growth and characterization.

Dr. Yang XiaDr. Yang Xia, Research Associate

Yang Xia was born in Anqing, Anhui, China. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Central South University in China, and PhD degree in Materials Engineering from University of Queensland in Australia.

His research interests include powder processing and fabrication of various materials, especially titanium and titanium alloys, and characterization of microstructures and novel materials. He is currently working on a new low cost process for producing TiH2/Ti powder by the direct reduction of Ti slag/TiO2 with Mg/MgH2.

He likes playing basketball, hiking and skiing.

Dr. Lei XuDr. Lei Xu, Research Associate


Lei Xu is now a post doctoral fellow in Department of Metallurgical Engineering at University of Utah. He used to work in Dr. Kun Wu’s group from 2008 to 2011, in the area of fabrication of Mg matrix composite with micro and nano size whisker and particle. The relationship between the mechanical properties and the microstructure was bridged with different fabrication and deformation conditions. Based on the results, he received a B. S. and M. E. in Materials Science from Harbin Institute of Technology in China. In the following 4 years (2011-2015), he joined the LATEST2 program in Dr. Philip Prangnell’s group at University of Manchester, UK. He got a Ph. D degree with the thesis title ‘Controlling Interfacial Reaction in Aluminum to Steel Dissimilar Metal Welding’ there. The diffusion details including the kinetics between aluminum alloys and steel was investigated by microstructure observation and modelling. After that, he joined Dr. Fang’s group in University of Utah for the Ti powder project.

His current research interest focuses on Ti powder production, including GSD process for production of spherical Ti alloy powder for additive manufacturing (3D printing) of Ti, and the optimization of irregular Ti powder.

Outside of research Lei enjoying reading, playing badminton and spending time with his family.


Last Updated: 5/14/21