Dr. Apelian received his BS degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Drexel University (1968) and his Doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT (1972). After graduating from MIT, he joined Bethlehem Steel’s Homer Research Laboratories where he co-developed the Ultra-Form series of high strength low alloy steels. He joined Drexel University in 1976 and held various positions at Drexel, including professor, Head of the Department of Materials Engineering, Associate Dean of the College of Engineering, and subsequently Vice-Provost of the University.
He joined WPI in July 1990 as the Institute’s Provost and led the mission of broadening WPI’s academic programs and research agenda. After a six-year tenure as Provost, he headed the Metal Processing Institute (MPI) at WPI, which is an industry-university alliance with Centers in Metal Casting, Heat Treating, and Resource Recovery and Recycling. MPI is supported by over 80 corporate partners, as well as funding from private foundations and the federal government. During the last decade, MPI has developed into one of the nation’s premiere research centers dedicated to metal processing. The Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling is the Nation’s first center dedicated to recycling of materials; it is an NSF sponsored I/UCRC Center.
Professor Diran Apelian is widely recognized for his innovative work in metal processing and for his leadership as a researcher and educator. His research has helped establish mechanisms and fundamentals in metal processing and helped lay the foundations for significant industrial developments. In particular, his work in the fields of molten metal is processing, plasma processing, spray casting, and shape casting of aluminum alloys can be described as pioneering work. More recently, his work in the development of technologies to recover and recycle materials is critically important for a sustainable future.
A characteristic of Professor Apelian’s work is that his scholarly output is valued and utilized by the industrial sector. Much of today’s industrial developments in shaped aluminum castings has been influenced by the work of Professor Apelian and his students. Apelian has a unique talent for building bridges between the industrial and academic communities, and for identifying fundamental scientific issues holding back the development of a given technology.
Apelian is the recipient of many distinguished honors and awards – national and international: Acta Materialia Holloman Award; Brimacombe Prize; ASM Gold Medal; The National Materials Advancement Award, etc.. Apelian is a Fellow of TMS, ASM, APMI. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), European Academy of Sciences, and the Armenian Academy of Sciences. he has ~ 700 publications to his credit; 15 books and 21 patents. He serves on several technical, corporate and editorial boards. During 2008/2009, he served as President of TMS. Apelian is Founding Editor of the Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy. He is serving Chair of the ASM Educational Foundation (2016-2018). The 2016 Bernard Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering Education was awarded to WPI – and the four recipients are: Diran Apelian, Kris Wobbe, Art Heinricher and Rick Vaz. He received the MPIF Distinguished Service to Powder Metallurgy Award in 2017 and became a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and the WPI Innovator of the Year in 2018.
Professional Highlights & Honors
Diran Apelian, founding director of WPI’s Metal Processing Institute, is recognized in a leading trade outlet for being named WPI’s Innovator of the Year.
WPI alumnus Aaron Birt, co-founder of Kinetic Batteries and Solvus Global, was profiled in an article highlighting companies that are develop processes to help make recycling everything from scrap to batteries more efficient and less environmentally harmful. Birt, a past “Forbes 30 Under 30” honoree, credits Diran Apelian, who received WPI's 2018 Innovator of the Year Award, saying, “Diran and I are both passionate about people, technology, education, and making an impact.