Ph.D. student Saheem Absar, recipient of the 2020 Hitachi High-Tech Electron Microscopy Fellowship, poses for a photo with his faculty advisor Hongseok Choi, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

Ph.D. student Saheem Absar, recipient of the 2020 Hitachi High-Tech Electron Microscopy Fellowship, poses for a photo with his faculty advisor Hongseok Choi, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

Clemson University Ph.D. student Saheem Absar has received the Hitachi High-Tech Electron Microscopy Fellowship to further his study of lightweight advanced materials.

The $25,000 fellowship supports Absar’s use of highly advanced equipment at the Clemson University Electron Microscopy Facility to analyze the effect of nanoparticles on the behavior of gas bubbles during the solidification of molten metal. Nanoparticles could not only influence the shape and size of the bubbles, but also the way these bubbles interact with each other. He is also studying the use of nanofibers that can hold individual nanoparticles in place, so that the nanoparticles can be later released into the molten metal. This fellowship will also support his use of electron microscopy to analyze the structure of these nanoscale fibers.

Ph.D. student Saheem Absar and associate professor Hongseok Choi analyze materials at the Clemson University Electron Microscopy Facility.

Ph.D. student Saheem Absar and associate professor Hongseok Choi analyze materials at the Clemson University Electron Microscopy Facility.

Knowledge gained through Absar’s experiments could be useful for controlling the pore formation during the manufacture of metal foams. Metal foams are lightweight, energy absorbing materials that are desirable in automotive and aerospace applications. These foams could be used to reduce the weight of certain types of metal structures by 20% without sacrificing its performance when almost 90% of the structure is filled with pores.

“This will ultimately provide a pathway to manufacture metal foams that can mimic the structure of naturally strong and lightweight materials such as bones,” Absar said. “Researchers and manufacturers can adapt this knowledge to create customized metal foams for different cases where it is desirable to maintain a good balance between weight savings and high performance.”

Absar is pursuing his Ph.D. at the Clemson Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Processing Laboratory under the direction of Hongseok Choi, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

Absar began studying at Clemson in 2015 after receiving his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Southern University and his bachelor’s degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. At Clemson, he has co-authored and published four peer-reviewed journal articles and five conference-proceeding articles. He received the National Science Foundation student travel award for presenting his research at the annual North American Manufacturing Research Conference for three consecutive years. He also received the 2018 Eastman Chemical Award for Excellence after placing first in the annual Mechanical Engineering graduate poster competition.

“He has also been a great mentor for graduate students in my lab. Both in the classroom and out, he represents exactly the high character we seek in our students,” Choi said. “I expect great things from this young man in the future.”

Hitachi High-Tech America established the fellowship in 2014. Absar is the seventh recipient.

Representatives from Clemson University and Hitachi High-Tech America take a group photo during a virtual ceremony. Top row from left: Phil Bryson, vice president and general manager of the Nanotechnology Systems Division at Hitachi High-Tech; Hitachi Fellowship recipient Saheem Absar; Atul Kelkar, mechanical engineering department chair at Clemson; and Clemson Vice President for Research Tanju Karanfil. Bottom row from left: Hitachi High-Tech President and CEO Craig Kerkove of Hitachi; Daniel Noneaker, associate dean for research in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences; Hongseok Choi, associate professor of mechanical engineering; and Carl Hordines, Hitachi High-Tech Southeast district manager.

Representatives from Clemson University and Hitachi High-Tech America take a group photo during a virtual ceremony. Top row from left: Phil Bryson, vice president and general manager of the Nanotechnology Systems Division at Hitachi High-Tech; Hitachi Fellowship recipient Saheem Absar; Atul Kelkar, mechanical engineering department chair at Clemson; and Clemson Vice President for Research Tanju Karanfil. Bottom row from left: Hitachi High-Tech President and CEO Craig Kerkove of Hitachi; Daniel Noneaker, associate dean for research in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences; Hongseok Choi, associate professor of mechanical engineering; and Carl Hordines, Hitachi High-Tech Southeast district manager.

“Mr. Absar is clearly performing cutting-edge research, and it appears likely that the applications will be broad. We at Hitachi deeply value our relationship with Clemson and are very happy that the electron microscopes have played an integral role in enabling Saheem’s research, as well innovation by numerous other students, faculty members and local industries,” said Phil Bryson, vice president and general manager of the Nanotechnology Systems Division at Hitachi High-Tech.

Hitachi has been instrumental in both the development of the Electron Microscopy Facility in the mid-1990s, as well as its steady growth to become one of the nation’s premier academic electron microscopy facilities. The facility added several new Hitachi electron microscopes last year, for example, that are among the global company’s most advanced machines.

“Hitachi is a great example of the benefit industry and academic collaboration can have on higher education and the economy,” said Tanju Karanfil, vice president for research. “The facility is regularly used by the private sector, as well as our faculty, to fuel innovation and product development in South Carolina and throughout the Southeast, while our students train on world-class equipment unavailable elsewhere, making them highly desirable in the job market after graduating.”

Daniel Noneaker, associate dean for research in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, said Hitachi High-Tech’s high-powered, electron microscopes are crucial to research in the college.

“We have an excellent, long-standing collaboration with Hitachi High-Tech,” Noneaker said. “Their microscopes and outstanding service help us attract and retain top researchers who require electron microscopy to innovate in their areas of study. I thank the company for supporting the college’s students through the fellowship, and I congratulate Saheem on winning this year. It’s a well-deserved honor.”