Research Inquiries

For inquiries related to South Dakota Mines Research, contact:

Research Affairs

South Dakota Mines
501 E. St. Joseph Street
Suite 102, O'Harra Building
Rapid City, SD  57701

(605) 394-2493

Research@Mines - by Subject
Metallurgical Engineering

High Impact Hardrocker: Frank Aplan

Frank Aplan, one of the most influential leaders of the mineral processing industry and academia for the past 60 years. He was a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at The Pennsylvania State University.

An Appreciation by Douglas W. Fuerstenau and Raja V. Raman

Frank Fulton Aplan graduated from South Dakota Mines in 1948 with a degree in metallurgical engineering and went on to become one of the most influential leaders of the mineral processing industry and academia for the past 60 years. Aplan, was who was also a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at The Pennsylvania State University, passed away peacefully at Berwick, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. His association with the mineral engineering profession had many dimensions – an engineer, a scientist, a manager of research, and a teacher to name a few, and his performance in each of these roles, simply outstanding.  Most of all, Frank was an outstanding human being, brilliant, dedicated, gritty, hardworking and demanding. He expected excellence from himself, and from everyone else. All his friends have learned many lessons to accept and deal with adversity from Frank's four difficult but successful campaigns against cancer. He was a warm and friendly person who assuredly provided wise counsel and a helping hand.  Frank often said that “no man is an island. There is a half dozen or more people that probably helped you along career. I guess that my philosophy is that often you cannot pay back but you can pay forward…. that is why I've gone out of my way to recommend all kinds of people for awards and honors and so forth and I try to give generously to cha...

Last Edited 4/27/2021 02:54:27 PM [Comments (0)]

South Dakota Mines receives $1.3 Million Grant for New Scanning Electron Microscope to Benefit Research and Industry

South Dakota Mines is installing a new Scanning Electron Microscope in the university’s Engineering and Mining Experiment Station.

South Dakota Mines is installing a new Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) in the university’s Engineering and Mining Experiment Station (EMES) thanks to a $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The new microscope is just one of many state-of-the-art scientific instruments inside the recently expanded EMES which serves high-tech industry alongside university researchers across the state.

The powerful SEM microscope is a centerpiece of the EMES. It allows researchers to perform high resolution imaging, chemical analysis and sample manipulation for various materials at scales ranging down to 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. The new microscope is a critical resource for a wide variety of research across multiple disciplines.

“The SEM is the most heavily used research instrument on campus,” says Grant Crawford, Ph.D., the director of the Arbegast Materials Processing and Joining Laboratory at Mines and an associate professor in the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering.

The new SEM is equipped with a focused ion beam that dramatically expands its capability over the old system. The ion beam allows researchers to extract samples for separate analysis and cr...

Last Edited 1/19/2021 04:07:49 PM [Comments (0)]

South Dakota Mines EMES Facility Expands to Include Array of Instruments with Environmental Applications

Dr. Scott Beeler uses a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC-MS) in the Engineering and Mining Experiment Station (EMES) at South Dakota Mines. The GC-MS is used to identify and quantify organic compounds with applications in a wide range of fields such as environmental monitoring, medicine, and oil and gas.

The Engineering and Mining Experiment Station (EMES) at South Dakota Mines has begun overseeing the operation and maintenance of instrumentation within the Shimadzu Environmental Research Laboratory (SERL).

The EMES was founded on the Mines campus in 1903 with a mission to serve mining industry research. Today the mission has expanded to include a much broader range of academic and industry needs with a wide array of scientific equipment that is utilized by industry professionals and university researchers across the region. The EMES has seen equipment investments by the South Dakota Board of Regents and the National Science Foundation totaling more than $2.8 million since 2011. The EMES website lists the range of scientific equipment available for academic research and industry use including the Shimadzu instrumentation.

The SERL was established in 2015 in partnership with Shimadzu Scientific Instruments by Lisa Kunza. Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Chemistry Biology and Health Sciences at Mines. The SERL is a multidisciplinary research facility that contains a suite of state-of-the-art instrumentation with a focus on environmental applications. SERL instruments enable the chemi...

Last Edited 1/6/2021 03:48:20 PM [Comments (0)]

The Science of Swords - a History of Bladesmithing at Mines

Mike West, Ph.D., holds the international award winning thirty-four-inch, single-edged blade sword that is based on the Arhus Farm sword from 10th century Norway.

In the summer of 2006 a high school student, Kevin Gray (MetE 11), did something that could have landed him in trouble. He toured the Mines campus with an eight-inch knife in his backpack. Gray had no malicious intent, rather he was excited to show the Damascus steel blade that he had forged in his garage to a professor of metallurgy. Little did Gray know that his actions would spark a series of events that would change the face of the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering at Mines and earn the program international acclaim.

At the end of the tour for prospective students, Jon Kellar PhD, (MetE 84), who was department head at the time, asked Gray why he was interested in Mines. “He pulled this knife wrapped in cloth out of his backpack,” says Kellar. Damascus steel blades have been around for centuries. They’re easy to identify by the swirled steel patterns that result from a labor-intensive process of repeatedly heating, hammering, and folding the steel. Kellar became intrigued. “We were low on student enrollment at the time,” he says, “We were trying to find a solution, and this seemed like a good way to outreach.” Kellar and professors Dana Medlin, PhD, and Michael West, PhD, developed a plan to integrate more hands-on experiences into the curriculum. Students could make items out of metal, like Damascus steel blades, and study the scientific properties of the steel they were working along the way.

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Last Edited 10/5/2020 07:51:01 PM [Comments (0)]