The Kroll Institute for Extractive Metallurgy (KIEM) was established in 1974 in accordance with a bequest from William J. Kroll, world renowned extractive metallurgist best known for his inventions of processes for the production of titanium and zirconium. The financial resources of Dr. Kroll’s bequest were intended to provide for the establishment of a Center for Excellence in Extractive Metallurgy at the Colorado School of Mines. Since its inception, the Kroll Institute has provided financial support to both undergraduate and graduate students at CSM, many of whom, subsequently, have made important contributions, nationally and internationally, to the fields of mining, minerals, metals and advanced materials.
Today the mission of the KIEM is to support the minerals, metals and materials industries through the following activities:
Areas of Expertise
The academic environment creates a unique opportunity to build scientific directions that accumulate expertise and can produce results of importance to the industry. Research at KIEM in electronic scrap processing is a good example.
With one technological “foot” placed firmly in the mining-related area of metallurgy, KIEM stands astride the field of metallurgy, focusing on the process of Extractive Metallurgy regardless of application. Specific areas include:
Members of the Kroll Institute believe in active involvement with local and international industry and organizations. Through cooperative involvement, the Institute can assist in the development of engineering solutions for problems identified by industry while providing students with an education that is based on a sound theoretical foundation with demonstrated application to the Research and Development process. It is these future engineers that will both serve and lead those same industries and organizations in the future. KIEM is also active in local organizations—SME Colorado and Extractive Metallurgy Chapter of Denver (EMCD)—as well as SME and TMS. KIEM researchers are responsible for numerous presentations at SME and TMS as well as publications in JOM and Mining Engineering, facilitating technology transfer through respected conduits.
Spin-offs / Contributions:
Some of the more recent technological contributions made by members of KIEM are:
Recently, the Kroll Institute and the Colorado School of Mines partnered with Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Purdue University, K.U. Leuven, and industry to form this new center.
It is the goal of the Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling I/UCRC to be the premiere industry-university alliance dedicated to the sustainable stewardship of our Earth¹s resources. We will serve consortium members needs by establishing the needed knowledge base, and by educating future leaders of the industry. Technologies will be developed and transferred to industry with the goal of achieving materials sustainability from initial product design through manufacture to end-of-life disposition in a manner that yields both energy savings and profitability.
ISSUES EFFECTING EXTRACTIVE METALLURGY
Reduction in the size of mining and mineral industry research. The current primary areas of concern are the reduction in size of mining and mineral industry research and the lack of sufficient students in the queue to inherit stewardship of the industry. Research groups in the mining and minerals industry have been dramatically reduced in size. The overhead associated with an in-house research center tends to be prohibitive when economic conditions are not favorable. History has shown that the demand for research in extractive metallurgy and mineral processing tends to increase on short notice, due among other reasons to changing political, economic, and demographic circumstances. Immediate start-up or expansion of in-house research can be quite costly.
Industry/University Partnership. Maintaining expertise and availability of an engineering student body within the universities is vital to having the capability to quickly adjust to industry’s research requirements, be it in the form of new hires or consulting research. An active body of engineers is especially important in view of the imminent retirement of a large portion of the remaining baby-boom generation.
Industrial research today tends to be focused on short-term goals and tends to avoid risk. Research within KIEM includes high-risk, unconventional approaches that are not typically pursued in today's industrial environment. By sharing the cost of supporting such risky research with many other sponsors of KIEM, the financial risk to each sponsor is minimized. Irrespective of cost, support of academic research must be based on more than its applicability to industry’s immediate problems, and should be aimed at requirements over a longer period.
Graduate education. Quality education of the future work force for industry and government is the primary mission of academia. Evidence of this is the placement rate of Colorado School of Mines graduates—within six months of graduation, placement is 100%. A general comment from companies is: CSM graduates “hit the ground running.”
Breadth of collaborative contacts with academia, government institutes & industry. The research environment in KIEM is rich in the contacts that the members have with other parts of the industrial and scientific communities. Academia, mining companies, vendors, and government will all be represented. The faculty members maintain active and broad contacts with other groups such as mining engineering, business and economics, and environmental engineering. KIEM thus functions as a communication channel involving scientists in other fields.
Free-ranging directions of research. At the same time, academia in general and consortia in CSM in particular use their “academic freedom” to pursue lines of investigation that may appear non-practical on a short time scale, but often will yield results of importance in a few year’s time.
Dr. Patrick R. Taylor, Director
W. J. Kroll Institute for Extractive Metallurgy
The George S. Ansell Department of
Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
Colorado School of Mines
1500 Illinois St.
Golden, CO 80401 USA
Tel: +1 (303) 384-2130
Fax: +1 (303) 273-3795
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This Page Last Modified:March 30, 2011