Makhlouf M. Makhlouf is professor of Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). He was Director of the Advanced Casting Research Center (ACRC) between 1992 and 2015. ACRC is a collaboration between the academic and industrial sectors focusing on issues that benefit the global foundry industry. It brings fundamental understanding to existing processes, develops new methods, and addresses management-technology interface matters. Under Makhlouf’s leadership, the ACRC evolved to be the leading foundry-related industry-university research consortium in the world and the model that many consortia strive to emulate.
Since age 5, Makhlouf attended the prestigious Victoria College in Cairo, Egypt; then he received the BS degree - with high honors - from the American University in Cairo, and the MS degree from New Mexico State University where he worked at the New Mexico Energy Institute on several alternative energy projects including developing a combined solar-photovoltaic collector for use in rural areas; and developing phase change materials for thermal energy storage. In 1990, Makhlouf received the first Ph.D. degree awarded by WPI’s Materials Science and Engineering group. His research at the time resulted in what became known as the ‘Makhlouf Model’ for mathematically representing diffusion of gases in metallic alloys. Soon thereafter, Makhlouf joined the WPI faculty.
For the six years prior to becoming a WPI faculty member, Makhlouf was senior research engineer at Bay State Abrasives, a division of Dresser Industries. There, he developed several products and trade secrets (e.g., US Patent No. 4,652,277), and acquired much valued industrial experience that strongly influences his research and provides real-life flavor to his lectures.
Makhlouf is widely recognized as a gifted educator to whom teaching seems to come quite naturally. He is known to employ teaching and mentoring methods that emphasize the basic and fundamental concepts while fostering in his students creativity, imagination, and innovative, independent thinking.
Today, Makhlouf’s teaching and research efforts focus on physical metallurgy, specifically on developing new alloys for improved performance. His most recent contribution to this field are aluminum alloys for use in high temperature applications (European Patent No. EP2924137A and US Patent No. US20130199680A1). Makhlouf is also active in the field of materials processing, particularly solidification of metals. His most recent contribution to this area is the invention of Controlled Diffusion Solidification, which allows the casting of previously un-castable high strength wrought aluminum alloys (US Patent No. 7,201,210). Another focus of Makhlouf’s research and teaching is the application of thermodynamics, kinetics, and the concepts of heat and mass transfer to modeling processes in materials science and engineering. An integral part of Makhlouf’s effort in this area is developing sensors for in-situ monitoring of the heat-treating process (US Patent No. 7,068,054B2). Makhlouf is also very active in the area of metal-matrix nanocomposites where he is credited with inventing the Rotating Impeller Gas-Liquid In-situ (RIGLI) method for making aluminum matrix nanocomposite materials. RIGLI is a cost-effective technology with the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing of metal matrix nanocomposite materials.
During his 30 years academic career, Makhlouf has directed numerous research projects funded by both federal and non-federal organizations, and has mentored 8 post-doctoral fellows, and graduated 10 Ph.D. students and 20 MS students. He holds 5 US and European patents, published over 150 scientific papers, authored several technical reports, books and book chapters, delivered numerous keynote and invited lectures worldwide, and continues to consult widely in the US and Europe.