2024 CMSC Awards Recipients

D.K.C. MacDonald Memorial Lecturer

The D.K.C. MacDonald Memorial Lecturer is an important focus of the conference and the Lecturer is chosen by the Chair of the conference.

2024 Recipient

Ke Lu

Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, China

Introduction to Schwarz crystal a novel metastable structure in extremely-finegrained metals


Most metals exist in form of polycrystalline states consisting of crystalline grains and grain boundaries. Although with some novel properties such as much elevated hardness and strength, polycrystalline metals with nano-sized grains become unstable. Upon heating or straining, nano-sized grains tend to coarsen through grain boundary migration, or transform into metastable glassy phases when the grains are extremely small, eliminating grain boundaries in both processes. Recently, we found a different metastable structure in polycrystalline face-centered-cubic pure metals and alloys as their grains are refined to extremely-fine sizes (a few nanometers), namely ‘‘Schwarz crystal’’ (1,2). In this structure, the grain boundary networks evolved into the 3D periodical minimal surface (TPMS) configuration constrained with high density twin-boundaries. It is thermally so stable that grain coarsening is inhibited at temperatures even up to the melting point, and its strength is close to the theoretical value. Diffusional processes in alloys like precipitation of intermetallic phase, spinodal decomposition, as well as melting are inhibited with the Schwarz crystal structure (3,4). In this presentation, I will introduce the formation process, structure characteristics, and some properties of the Schwarz crystal structures in a number of pure metals and alloys. Perspectives and future studies on the structure will be discussed. 

Prof. K. Lu received BS in MSE from Nanjing University of Science & Technology in 1985 and PhD in MSE from Institute of Metal Research (CAS) in 1990. He served as the director of Institute of Metal Research of CAS during 2001-2012, and the founding director of Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science (SYNL) during 2000-2023. Currently, he is the President of Liaoning Academy of Materials, and a research professor of Institute of metal research of CAS.

His research interests are nanostructured metals and alloys. His identity accomplishments include: (i) Discovery of nano-twinned structures and nano-twin strengthening in metals and alloys that exhibit superior combinational mechanical properties and novel physical properties, and (ii) Development of surface nanocrystallization technology for generating gradient nanostructured metals and alloys, advancing properties and performance such as fatigue behavior, wear and corrosion resistance, and surface alloying kinetics for engineering materials. (iii) Discovery of a new metastable polycrystalline structure at the extremely fine scale: Schwarz crystal structure, in which grain boundaries form 3D periodical minimal surface structure.

Prof. Lu authored and co-authored more than 430 international peer-reviewed journal publications and held 40 patents. He received many international honors and awards, including an elected member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2003), the World Academy of Sciences for Developing Countries (2004), the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (2005), and the U.S National Academy of Engineering (2018). He is a recipient of TMS Robert Franklin Mehl Award (2022), Acta Materialia Gold Medal (2019), TMS Fellow Award (2017), AAAS Fellow (2014), MRS Fellow (2010), AvH Research Award (Germany, 2010), Kelly Lecturer (University of Cambridge, 2010), THERMEC 2006 Distinguished Award, the Third World Academy of Science TWNSO Technology Prize (2000), Ho-Leung-Ho-Lee Technology Science Prize (1999), etc.

Metal Chemistry Award

History: The Metal Chemistry Award was conceived by Professor H. Hancock of the Technical University of Nova Scotia in 1988 to recognize outstanding contributions to metallurgical chemistry as epitomized by the inaugural winner, Professor L.M. Pidgeon of the University of Toronto. Since the time of its inception, the award has included recipients from universities, industry and government laboratories engaged in research activities ranging from hydrometallurgy, molten salt chemistry, corrosion and fundamental physical chemistry bearing upon smelting and refining processes.

2024 Recipient

Edouard Asselin

Department of Materials Engineering,
The University of British Columbia

Hydrometallurgy: The Future of Copper Processing?  


Chalcopyrite (CuFeS2) is the world’s most abundant copper mineral, accounting for at least 60% of global primary copper production.   Copper is a necessary metal for the clean energy transition, and it is expected that this transition will require that we make more copper over the next 25 years than has been produced in the last 5,000 years.  Mineral concentrates of chalcopyrite are processed almost exclusively by pyrometallurgical smelting and converting methods. However, these methods suffer from several key shortcomings.  New methods to extract copper from chalcopyrite have been investigated across the globe for more than 50 years, but past processing breakthroughs have been rare and commercially unsuccessful.  Recent scientific insights about the mineral/solution interface have resulted in promising new hydrometallurgical (aqueous chemistry-based) process development. 

The challenges and opportunities for the hydrometallurgical processing of chalcopyrite concentrates will be discussed in this presentation.  An overview of ongoing work at UBC will be presented. 

Edouard Asselin is a Professor at The University of British Columbia (UBC) in the Department of Materials Engineering.  Since 2007, he has worked with the UBC Industrial Research Chair in HydrometallurgyHe is also co-director of UBC’s Pipeline Integrity Institute.  Dr. Asselin is an applied electrochemist: he teaches and conducts research in aqueous metal extraction, electro-metallurgy, corrosion and protective coatings.  He was President of the Metallurgical Society of Canada in 2019 and he was a member of its Board of Directors from 2009 to 2021.  Dr. Asselin has published over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and over 40 conference publications.  He is a co-inventor of two licensed and commercial technologies: the Jetti copper leaching process and a high temperature sensing platform for pressure leaching autoclaves. 

Metal Physics Award

History: The Metal Physics Award was conceived by Professor T.S. Hutchison of the Royal Military College of Canada to recognize achievements in fundamental physics of importance to the understanding of metals as materials. At the time of its first award to Z.S. Basinski in 1977, the advancement of dislocation theory was the very essence of the kind of achievement the award was intended to recognize. Although the Award since that time has been awarded for excellence in a much broader range of research achievement including advancement in non-metallic materials.

2024 Recipient

Dongyang Li

Dept of Chemical and Materials Engineering,
University of Alberta

Towards Electronic Metallurgy – An Electron Work Function Based Framework for Material and Surface/Interface Design


With rapid technological advance and increase in industrial demand for high-performance materials, material design and surface/interface control have been required to rely on more fundamental principles. Various surface/interface and bulk properties of materials are largely governed by their electron behavior, which determines the atomic bond strength and system’s stability. Significant effort has long been made to correlate the properties to the electron state based on quantum mechanics. However, quantum theories are complicated and unfeasible for material design, especially for structural materials which consist of various phases and imperfections. It is thus highly wished to have simple but fundamental parameters, which reflect the electron behavior of materials, for material analysis and design. In this talk, electron work function (EWF), which is the minimum energy to move electrons at Fermi level inside a metal to its surface, is demonstrated to be a promising indicator carrying “genetic-like” information for analyzing materials and providing clues for guiding material design and surface/interface modification. Correlations between EWF and properties of materials and surfaces/ interfaces will be analyzed, and the development of a EWF-based material design methodology or framework towards “electronic metallurgy” will be discussed.

Dr. D.Y. Li is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at University of Alberta. He received a B.Sc. in Solid Mechanics from University of Science and Technology China (1982), a M.Sc. in CondensedMatter Physics from Sun Yat-sen University (1985), a PhD in Materials Physics from University of Science and Technology Beijing (1990), and a PhD in Metallurgical Engineering from McGill University (1995). Dr. Li was a postdoctoral fellow at the Pennsylvania State University before joining University of Alberta in 1998. He is an Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at U. of Alberta, and also holds adjunct professorship at several foreign universities. Dr. Li is on the editorial board for eighteen international journals. He has in excess of 480 scientific publications, including more than 430 journal publications. Dr. Li is an invited contributor for authoritative handbooks on wear and tribology (Elsevier, Springer, and ASM International). He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (FCAE), Member of European Academy of Sciences and Arts (MEASA), Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining ((FMMM), and Fellow of the Institute of Physics (FInstP, UK). Dr. Li is the recipient of MatSoc Distinguished Materials Scientist award (2020) and other honorary titles. His interests of research include materials design, surfaces and interfaces, wear and corrosion-wear synergy, and computational materials science. 

  • Stay tuned for the announcement of our award winner!

View the past recipients of the CMSC awards