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Materials science lab to advance metallurgical technologies

Titanium Additive Manufacturing Research Center established in collaboration between U's Zak Fang and IperionX to advance technologies for producing critical metals.

The original post from the College of Science can be viewed here.

Following the 10-year, $10 million research agreement announced earlier this year between the University of Utah’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Charlotte-based IperionX, the two partners, along with college and university leadership, celebrated the opening of a new state-of-the-art additive manufacturing research center on campus in the William Browning Building.

The lab, which houses cutting-edge 3-D titanium printing machines, will serve as a hub for the collaboration between Metallurgical Engineering Professor Zak Fang’s powder metallurgy research team and IperionX as they work to advance metallurgical technologies for producing primary metals, focusing on titanium.

The Titanium Additive Manufacturing Research Center opens new opportunities for U students to gain hands-on experience with cutting-edge materials science and engineering technologies. The partnership aims to inspire the next generation of metallurgical innovators, equipping them with the skills and experience needed to pioneer breakthroughs in sustainable metal production and processing.

Ribbon cutting, led by U Provost Mitzi Montoya and IperionX CEO Taso Arima. Banner photo: Arima, College of Science Dean Peter Trapa and Zak Fang.

“This new lab represents the tangible fruits of our partnership with IperionX and underscores our shared commitment to developing transformative solutions for the energy and transportation sectors,” said Fang, the lead researcher on the project. “By combining our academic expertise in materials science and engineering with IperionX’s industry know-how and resources, we are poised to make significant strides in areas like additive manufacturing of titanium alloys and recycling of critical minerals.”

IperionX’s role as a leader in sustainable titanium production is a key component of this collaborative research effort. The company has patented technologies to recycle valuable metals at a lower cost and with reduced environmental impact compared to traditional methods. 

“It all started here at the University of Utah, with Dr. Fang’s innovation and his vision for manufacturing and re-shoring low-cost, high-performance titanium metal in America,” said IperionX CEO Taso Arima. “The Titanium Additive Manufacturing Research Center will allow us to continue to rapidly innovate, and we believe this center and continued work with Dr. Fang and his research team will assist in attracting students to materials science and engineering–because this is what drives innovation for the critical technologies needed for the U.S. and society as a whole.”

Joint efforts with industry partners have been part of the University of Utah’s remarkable research growth over the past decade. In fiscal year 2023, university research funding reached a landmark $768 million, nearly doubling its support in the last 10 years. As the University of Utah continues to work towards a goal of $1 billion in research funding, its leadership views industry collaboration as a vehicle to accelerate discovery and translate research into real-world applications.

“This academic-industry partnership of the Fang Lab and IperionX exemplifies the College of Science’s innovative bench-to-application research to meet the needs of our energy future,” said Peter Trapa, dean of the College of Science. “By supporting cutting-edge research that addresses real-world challenges, we are cultivating the next generation of scientific leaders and driving economic growth in Utah.”

The U’s Department of Materials Science is jointly overseen by the colleges of Science and of Engineering.

“Collaborations like this one are virtuous cycles,” said Richard Brown, H. E. Thomas Presidential Endowed Dean of the John and Marcia Price College of Engineering. “Cutting-edge research and industry supporting one another is the backbone of a growing innovation economy.”



  • Bianca Lyon associate director of marketing and communications, College of Science
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