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Prof. Chan is named Fellow of American Ceramic Society

Helen M. Chan, professor of materials science and engineering, has been named a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) for achievements in education and research in the field of ceramics.

Chan, an expert in the mechanical behavior and the reactive processing of ceramics, will be honored at the 107th Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Society in Baltimore in April.

Appointed in 1986 to the Lehigh faculty, Chan has received the Roland B. Snow Award five times from ACerS. The award is given to winners of the Society's annual Ceramographic Competition, which promotes the use of micrographs and microanalysis in ceramic research.

In 1992, Chan received the Bradley Stoughton Award from ASM International, the world's premiere organization for materials scientists and engineers. The award is given annually to an outstanding young professor in the field.

Chan's current research interests include the processing of metallic foams from ceramic foam precursors. Metal foams are valued because they are lightweight, and can exhibit high values of specific strength. They could also find applications where energy absorption is important. This work, which is a collaboration with professors in materials science and engineering (Martin Harmer), chemical engineering (Hugo Caram) and mechanical engineering and mechanics (Joachim Grenestedt), has already demonstrated the reduction processing of ceramic foams based on iron.

Chan is hoping to use reduction processing to make titanium foams. Titanium alloys are particularly promising for implant applications because they are biocompatible. Titanium has been used in replacement joints, but not yet in the form of a foam, largely because its reactivity makes it difficult to fabricate. The foam morphology would be advantageous due to weight savings, and improved tissue in-growth.

In another project, Chan and Richard Vinci, associate professor of materials science and engineering, are studying ways to modify the surface morphology of sapphire (single crystal aluminum oxide). This is achieved by converting a surface layer of aluminum, which may be patterned lithographically. The hardness and transparency of sapphire in the infra-red region make it an attractive window and lens material. Conventional methods for surface finishing, however, are relatively time-consuming and expensive.

Chan, the author of more than 140 published journal articles, received the Alfred Noble Robinson Award from Lehigh in 1990 for outstanding performance and unusual promise of professional achievement. She received the university's Service Teaching Excellence Award in 1991 and 1992; the Class of 1961 Professorship distinction in teaching, research and service in 1993; and the New Jersey Zinc Professorship in 1999.

Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005

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