Professor drives magnesium research into the future

30 Nov 2020

Materials engineering expert from The University of Queensland, Professor Andrej Atrens has been recognised for his work over several decades with a prestigious research award.

Professor Atrens was awarded the International Magnesium Science & Technology Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 7th International Conference on Magnesium in November 2020.

Professor Atrens said he felt honoured and humbled by the recognition.

“I am deeply honoured by this assessment by my peers, and that I am considered of comparable standing to the other three recipients, each of which I consider have made outstanding contributions to magnesium science, engineering and technology,” said Professor Atrens.

Professor Atrens has focussed on researching the performance of engineering materials and alloy development over many years, particularly seeking to understand magnesium corrosion.

First driven by industry’s need to understand the application of magnesium in cars, the light-weight material was sought to reduce the weight of vehicles with the goal to cut down carbon emissions.

Since then, Professor Atrens’ research on magnesium has extended to inform the material’s application in biodegradable medical implants, its use in defence aerospace platforms and the development of new, cost-effective alloys.

Professor Atrens’ continued curiosity about magnesium’s intrinsic corrosion rate, and the search for a method to produce magnesium alloys with substantially lower corrosion rates were noted as driving forces for his success and impact, by his peers.

This curiosity enabled him to provide an explanation for the strange electrochemical behaviour of the negative difference effect and anodic hydrogen production, which underlies the corrosion behaviour of magnesium and its alloys.

Having the opportunity to make a significant contribution to helping people and the environment is what Professor Atrens considers the most rewarding thing about his work.

“Our lasting impact on the field is a much deeper understanding of the corrosion of magnesium and Mg alloys,” said Professor Atrens.

“This impact was only possible through the dedication of outstanding PhD students and postdoctoral researchers who I have had the pleasure of working with.

“I must also acknowledge the contribution of colleagues worldwide who have contributed to this endeavour.”

The award was founded by the Journal of Magnesium and Alloys, ISO sub-technical committee (ISO/TC 79/SC 5) ‘Magnesium and alloys of cast or wrought magnesium’ and the International Magnesium Society.

Professor Atrens is the Discipline Head of Materials Engineering at the UQ School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering. Find out more about his research publications, current projects and his available thesis projects on UQ Researchers.