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Professor Z. Zak Fang


Zhigang Zak Fang, Professor, University of Utah, is a scientist and innovator in the areas of metallurgical and materials engineering. Prior to joining the faculty of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Utah in 2002, Fang had a successful industrial R&D career and held various technical and management positions in a number of industrial corporations, including Smith International Inc., which was a multi-billion dollar corporation and is now a part of Schlumberger Ltd. With practical and rewarding industrial experiences, he developed expertise in a wide range of materials and manufacturing technologies including: hardmetals, polycrystalline diamond, fracture-mechanical behavior of brittle materials, wear resistant materials and coatings, steel, synthetic rubber, and other advanced materials processing technologies. From 2002 to date, Prof Fang has developed externally funded research programs in the areas of nano powder synthesis, nano sintering, functionally graded hardmetals, low cost energy efficient processes for production of titanium, sintering, microstructure and mechanical properties of powder metallurgy titanium, ultrafine grain tungsten with improved ductility, intermetallic coatings, and metal hydrides for hydrogen as well as thermal energy storage. Funding for these externally funded research programs totals approximately $20 million to date.

Prof. Fang graduated from the University of Science and Technology Beijing with BS and MS degrees in 1984 and received his Ph.D degree in materials science and engineering in 1990 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Prof. Fang has authored/co-authored over 320 publications. He is also the named sole or co-inventor in over 50 issued US patents. 

Prof. Fang was elected to the rank of Fellow of National Academy of Inventors (NAI) in 2017, Fellow of the American Society of Metals (ASM) in 2015, and Fellow of the American Powder Metallurgy Institute (APMI) in 2014. He was the winner of an R&D100 Award in 2009, and was also a winner of the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award of Metallurgical Engineering in 2005. He has given more than 30 invited lectures, including being the plenary and keynote speaker in multiple global technical congresses in the fields within which he is recognized. He is currently serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Refractory Metals and Hard Materials, an Elsevier journal, which is the flagship international journal for such materials.

Last Updated: 11/1/22