Do You Need a Metallurgist?

Sponsored by: Aspen Research

Focused on:

  • Metallurgy

Date: 14 September

Days to go: 94

Time: 2PM London / 3PM CET

Or, What Can a Metallurgist do for You!!

The realm of metallurgy has been a part of our existence since humans started extracting metal from the Earth. Through trial and error, the practical and artistic side of metallurgy developed as humankind created various methods for casting, alloying, heat treating, joining, and forming metals. How to work the metal happened long before understanding why these methods worked. Examples of products fabricated encompass tools, weapons, consumer products for daily use, and ornamental creations for cultural rituals and trade. During the past two centuries, the realm of science infiltrated the artisan’s lair and people started to understand the why of basic metallurgical operations and how to apply the fundamentals to more complex fabrication methods.

The science of metallurgy draws upon the disciplines of physics, chemistry, and mechanics, which in turn is the foundation for metal production, fabrication of products, and service life. The science has many specialties and within each one the activities can range from pure research to practical engineering. The science also transcends across different industries, yet it is so tightly interrelated by technology, that cross-fertilization of ideas provides a constant source of challenge and inspiration.

A metallurgist’s expertise leverages a variety of tools to address questions and challenges people experience with their manufacturing operations and products, for example:

- failure and root cause analyses - fabricated products, process operations, and field service;
- quality control and material inspections – monitor product quality based on material specifications;
- vendor qualifications – current versus proposed alternate materials and processes;
- product process developments – achieving best industrial practices;
- material selections – suitable to intended application and environment.
The scope of work ranges from macroscopic to microscopic evaluations that employ visual examinations, non-destructive testing, mechanical testing, chemical testing and analysis, optical and electron microscopy, metallographic cross-sections, and image analysis.

This presentation will be a series of case studies that illustrate the science and engineering of metallurgy as they apply to real life scenarios.

Presented by

Joel F. Flumerfelt,


Joel’s career at Aspen Research Corporation started in May 2000 as a metallurgist in the analytical laboratory. During the past 20+ years, he expanded his knowledge base to encompass the analysis of polymeric, elastomeric, and ceramic materials. As an analyst, he actively participates in a variety of short-term projects that address client inquiries pertaining to material and process challenges in relation to field service failures, product design, manufacturing operations, quality assurance, and material selection. As a project manager, he interacts with a diverse array of industrial clients at all business levels from the assembly floor to executive management. He also oversees the operation and maintenance of the metallurgical and microscopy laboratories.

Joel holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan Technological University, and a Doctorate degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Iowa State University.

One of Joel’s hobbies is playing alto sax with a 17-member swing band ensemble, “Red Rock Swing Band”, which performs private and public gigs at different locales around Minnesota.

Key Learning Objectives

  • To gain a fundamental understanding of the foundation and building blocks that support metallurgical knowledge
  • To understand how the metallurgical knowledge addresses questions and challenges with the development and fabrication of metal products
  • To know what tools are available and why a metallurgist selects them
  • To realize the knowledge potential a metallurgist brings to an engineering team working on part design, alloy selection, product fabrication, quality control testing, and failures during manufacturing and field service.


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