AU Press Releases

American Ceramic Society Spriggs Award goes to alumnus

Thomas Lam, who received his Ph.D. in ceramic engineering from the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University in May 2011, is one of seven co-authors of a paper that has been selected to receive the American Ceramic Society’s (ACerS) Spriggs Phase Equilibria Award at the ACerS annual meeting in Pittsburgh in October.

While completing his doctoral degree work, Lam said he "had the privilege of working for the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) at the Albany, OR facility through their Minority Mentoring Program."

At NETL, he learned transmission electron microscopy, which provided him the skills to successfully conduct his research for his thesis, "Glass Formation Boundary Approach to the Sintering of Alumina," advised by William Carty, professor of ceramic engineering in the Inamori School of Engineering.

In addition to working on the research for his thesis, Lam provided support research in electron microscopy for the refractories team with the Materials Performance Division at NETL.
One of the projects he worked on with the Materials Performance Division included the award-winning work cited by the American Ceramic Society in presenting the Spriggs Award. Lam’s contributions to the project included characterization of materials, completed in 2010, in support of ongoing research at NETL in the control of carbon feedstock and the impact on gasifer.

Co-authors with Lam on the award-winning paper, "Phase Equilibria in Synthetic Coal - Petcoke Slags Under Simulated Gasification Conditions," include James Bennett, Jinichir Nakano, Kyei-Sing Kwong, Laura Fernandez, Piyamanee Komolwit and Seetheraman Sridhar. The paper was published in Energy & Fuels, vol. 25 [7], pp 3298-33-6 (2011).

The awards committee "unanimously approved" the selection, said George Wicks, president of the American Ceramic Society, in the letter informing Lam of the award.

Lam is now a Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (Gaithersburg, MD) postdoctoral researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a federal agency, where he is doing research on carbon nanotube composites.

He earned a B.S. in ceramic engineering from Alfred University in 2004.

The Spriggs Phase Equilibria Award was created in memory of Richard Spriggs, who was the founding director of the New York State Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology at Alfred University, and a professor of ceramic engineering in what is now the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University.