• BS, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Science and Technology Beijing
  • MS, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Science and Technology Beijing. Project: HIP of Powder Metallurgy Rene 95 Ni-based Superalloy
  • PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Project: Influence of Particle Size Distribution on Diffusion Controlled Coarsening

Research Summary

Prof. Fang's research primarily focus on advanced metallurgical materials processing, with particular emphasis on metal powder processing and advance materials made from powder. His research expertise are mainly in the following three areas: 1) Powder metallurgy of Titanium 2). Hard materials including cemented tungsten carbide and polycrystalline diamond, and refractory metals (e.g tungsten), and metal hydrides for hydrogen as well thermal energy storage applications.



Zhigang Zak Fang, a Professor at the University of Utah, is a globally recognized scientist and innovator in the areas of titanium metallurgy, hardmetals (i.e., cemented tungsten carbide,) refractory metals, and metal hydrides for hydrogen storage. From 2002 to date, Prof Fang has developed externally funded research programs in multiple areas. Funding for these externally funded research programs is approximately US$32 million. Prof. Fang’s most significant accomplishment among all others to date is the invention of a series of titanium metallurgy technologies that promise to produce Ti from mineral to products at a fraction of the cost of the traditional Kroll and wrought processes. These technologies are actively being commercialized and are expected to have a tremendous impact on the Ti industry, but more importantly, on all industries that could take advantage of Ti’s extraordinary properties to be more energy efficient and reduce GHG emissions. 


Before joining the University of Utah in 2002, Fang had a successful industrial R&D career and held various technical and management positions in several industrial corporations, including Smith International Inc., which was a multi-billion dollar corporation and a division of Schlumberger Ltd.


Prof. Fang graduated from the University of Science and Technology Beijing with BS and MS degrees in 1984. He received his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering in 1990 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Prof. Fang has authored/co-authored over 370 publications, including among them 184 peer-reviewed articles. He is also the sole or co-inventor named in over 60 US patents.


Prof. Fang is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a Fellow of the American Society of Metals (ASM), and a Fellow of the American Powder Metallurgy Institute (APMI). He was the winner of an R&D100 Award in 2009 and 2023. He has given more than 30 invited lectures, including being the plenary and keynote speaker at multiple global technical congresses in the fields within which he is recognized. He is currently serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Refractory Metals and Hard Materials.