RAPID CITY, S.D. (July 9, 2014) – Jan Puszynski, Ph.D., was recently appointed as vice president for research at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.
Puszynski, who earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague, joined the School of Mines in 1991 as a faculty member. In addition to serving as a full professor of chemical engineering, he has also served as a college dean. Previously he worked as a research professor at State University of New York at Buffalo.
Puszynski has been one of the strongest advocates and role models for research growth and technology transfer at Mines. The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has strong research relationships with the Army and Navy, and Puszynski has been a leader in this effort.
“Jan is well respected by his peers and has shown the ability to steadily grow research from key sponsors,” said Heather Wilson, president of the South Dakota School of Mines. “He also has a great reputation for mentoring junior faculty and building interdisciplinary teams essential to successful research.”
Puszynski’s expertise is in reaction engineering, energetic materials, materials science and mathematical modeling of reactive systems. He served as principle investigator on several research projects funded by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technical Division, Indian Head, Md., and other Department of Defense organizations.
Spending two sabbatical terms at Indian Head, he assisted in designing, building and testing a new way to produce aluminum nanopowders using a low pressure evaporation/condensation process. He was later involved in development of a new environmentally benign propellant replacing ammonium perchlorate. Puszynski was also responsible for troubleshooting key technological aspects of production of propellants for CAD/PAD devices and recently was honored with the Life Achievement Award from the Navy and Air Force Cartridge and Propellant Actuated Device (CAD/PAD) Joint Program.
In 2001, Puszynski and a team of researchers from three other U.S. universities received the Defense University Research Initiative on Nanotechnology grant from the Army Research Office, and his research group joined the Department of Defense Center on Nanoenergetic Research.
In 1999, Puszynski established Innovative Materials and Processes, LLC, a company that has grown with numerous direct contracts and projects funded by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army. Puszynski and his team developed an automated process of water-based mixing and precise metering of nanothermite slurry into application hardware. Recently, this integrated process has been considered by the U.S. Army as an alternative technology for future large-scale production of small- and medium-caliber primers.
He has published over 175 scientific papers and presented more than 200 papers and seminars at national and international conferences. Puszynski is also co-author of several patents and recipient of several national and international awards. He has served as a chair of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Energetic Materials Group, which promotes research and education in the area of energetics, and was elected as an AIChE Fellow in 2010.
Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The average starting salary for graduates is $62,020 with a 98 percent placement rate. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sdsmt and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sdsmt.