Deidre A. Hirschfeld

Dr. Hirschfeld received her BS from Carnegie-Mellon University and her M. App. Sci.
from University of British Columbia. She worked in the steel industry in both R&D and
production for about 5 years before returning to graduate school and earning a Ph.D.
from Virginia Polytechnic Inst. & State University. She was a research associate then
a tenured faculty member at VPI&SU before joining NMT as an associate professor. She has served as Department Chair and is a full professor. Currently, she teaches undergraduate processing & microstructure lab, Capstone Senior Design, Design of Experiments and Statistical Analysis to both undergrads and graduate students, and phase equilibria. Dr. Hirschfeld's research is focused on the cost effective processing of materials using techniques such as thermal spray and solid free form fabrication. Her team routinely uses designed experiments in their research.

New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology
Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering
159 Jones Hall
801 Leroy Place
Socorro, NM 87801
Phone: (575)835-5129
FAX: (575)835-5626


Research Interests
Teaching Interests
Selected Publications

Thermal Spray

Dr. Hirschfeld and her group have put metal and erosion resistant coatings on polymers and polymer matrix composites. They have put copper coatings onto polyurethane with a zinc bond coat, zinc metal on kapton, and WC-Co on polyimide composites and used plasma spray to fabricate castware for reactive metals. Equipment for plasma (Plasmadyne 3600 with SG100 gun) and wire flame (Sulzer-Metco 12E) spraying are currently in use at New Mexico Tech. A new thermal spray lab is being installed in Old Jones Hall that will improve and expand capabilities for powder flame spray, twin wire arc, and plasma spraying. Dr. Hirschfeld and her students have worked with a variety of systems at the Thermal Spray Research Lab, Sandia National Labs, Albuquerque, NM. Recently, they have been able to produce thin, dense, textured coatings using Very Low Pressure Plasma Spraying that are similar to those created using vapor deposition processes.Her research has included: Sulzer-Metco 6P, St. Gobain-Norton Rokide, Sulzer-Metco Controlled Atmosphere Plasma Spraying which is also known as Very Low Pressure Plasma Spraying, cold spray, HVOF, calorimetry of flames, and spectroscopic analysis of flames.

FlameSprayFlame Spray Plume
A graduate student is shown Flame Spraying Copper and Zinc onto
Polyurethane Disks with Sulzer-Metco 12E using Oxy
Calorimeter used to measure heat flux of flame.

SultzerMetco6P   SultzerMetco 6P spraying Al
Sultzer Metco 6P Spraying Ceramics and Metals
YSZ Columnar Microstructure formed using Very
Low Pressure Plasma Spraying.

Solid Free Form Fabrication

Dr. Hirschfeld and her students have worked on a variety of solid free form fabrication techniques.                
Robocasting which was originally developed at Sandia National Labs and now is a commercial process

( She and her students have robocast a variety of ceramics, metals, and
functionally graded silicon nitride/tungsten. Her group has also conducted research on using plasma
spraying to make reusable castware for metals.

zirconia spiral                      Robocast Egg Crates  SiliconNitride
This Zirconia spiral was robocast and is being evaluated as a space saving geometry for Solid
Oxide Fuel Cells. The spiral is approximately 50 mm in diameter. Ceramic Metal Composites have also been produced.
Functionally Gradient

Functionally Gradient Silicon Nitride to Tungsten
Alternative Energy and Batteries

Dr. Hirschfeld and her students have worked with Sandia National Labs in developing a hydrogen reformer for micro scale fuel cells
and novel thermal sprayed ceramics for SOFCs.
They are currently researching methods to improve Li ion batteries.

Energetic Materials

In collaboration with EMRTC (NMT Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center) and Sandia National Labs, Dr. Hirschfeld has utilized
her knowledge of ceramic rheology and particle surface properties to stabilize and characterize energetic materials. Research with EMRTC
has involved modifications to propellants and gas generators, that will enable these materials to be safely transported then utilized on demand
without significant reduction in properties.

Other Projects
Dr. Hirschfeld is always interested in challenging projects. She has worked on materials selection for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), Carlsbad, NM, and a variety of
projects for a variety of businesses that include the development of slip resistant tiles, synthetic minerals, and porous ceramics. She also
runs the Materials Engineering Department thermal analysis laboratory (DTA, TGA, and dilatometry to 1500

Lustre Glazed Tiles developed for irridescent appearance and slip resistance.

Research Interests

Thermal Spray
Cost Effect Processing of ceramics, metals, and advanced composites
Structure and Properties of engineering ceramics and advanced composites 
Solid Free Form Fabrication of ceramic, metal, and composite components
Ceramic coatings for oxidation and corrosion resistance
Porous ceramics 
Low expansion ceramics 
Packaging of micro-electromechanical systems 
Fuel cell materials
Combustion Synthesis
Characterization and Development of Energetic Materials and Armors

Funding sources include

Department of Energy

Department of Education
Sandia National Labs
Los Alamos National Labs
Private Industry


Teaching Interests

Capstone Senior Design Course
Interfacing with Industry to allow students to experience the “Real World” before they are truly part of it. If you have a project/problem that you would like our students to investigate, please contact me for details.  We have completed projects for a variety of companies including Motorola, TPL, Inc., Wall Colmonoy,  Nambe, NAVAIR-China Lake, and others.

Design of Experiments and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists
A multidisciplinary engineering approach to practical statistics and experimental design for all engineers and scientists. All engineers and scientists need to know how to evaluate data and how to minimize the cost of experimentation while obtaining the most information. This course covers all the basic analyses used in Six Sigma and is offered as a Distance Education Class. This course began as a mini-course developed by Dr. Alan Gutjahr, NMT Mathematics Professor, and Dr. Hirschfeld with funds from the New Mexico Council for Excellence in Education.

Processing and Microstructure Laboratory
This is a lab course that is part of the new curriculum implemented in 2008 that describes through experimentation the processing and microstructural characterization of metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites. Topics covered in this intensive laboratory course include casting and solidification of metals, cold working and heat treatment of metals, welding of metals, synthesis of ceramics by solid state reaction, sol gel, and combustion methods, casting of ceramics, injection molding and extrusion of polymers, crystallization of polymers, and production of metal, ceramic, and polymer matrix composites.

Welding Metallurgy
Utilizing the resources provided by a Dept. of Education Grant, welding is being added to the curriculum. It was added this year (Fall 2009) as part of the Processing and Microstructure Lab and is being developed into a full semester course for Spring 2011 covering a variety of welding techniques both gas and arc.

Outreach K-12, Community College, and beyond
Dr. Hirschfeld and her students are available to discuss Materials Science and Engineering to students of all ages. The presentations include demos and hands on activities illustrating the processing and properties of all types of materials: metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites  - “the stuff” from which everything is made. The practical application of basic chemistry and physics principles are demonstrated and discussed, such as why atomic bonding is important.

In addition, Dr. Hirschfeld can discuss the college experience (under-grad and grad) from a professors’ point of view, helpful hints for your first job as an engineer, equity issues in the workplace, and the transition from Community College to 4-year universities.

Selected Publications

1. N. Spinhirne, D. Hirschfeld, A Hall, J. McClosky, “The Development and Characterization of Novel Yttria-Stabilized Zirconia Coatings
Deposited by Very Low Pressure Plasma Spray”, International Thermal Spray Conference Proceedings, 2009, Las Vegas, NV

2. White, RB; Dean, SW; Pantoya, ML; Hirschfeld, DA; Gill, W; Erikson, WW, “Effect of Aluminum on Heat Flux from a Simulated Rocket
Propellant Flame,”
J. Of Propulsion and Power; NOV-DEC 2007; v.23, no.6, p.1255-1262
3. A.C. Hall, D.J.Cook, R.A. Neiser, T.J.Roemer, and D.A. Hirschfeld, “The Effect of a Simple Annealing Heat Treatment on the Mechanical
Properties of Cold Sprayed Aluminum,”
Journal of Thermal Spray Technology, 15(2), June 2006, p. 233-238.
Figure from this article was chosen for the cover of the journal!

D. L. Vasquez, T. Ndalama, D.A. Hirschfeld, and J. K. Sutter, “Effect of Surface Modification on Adhesion of a Metal Bond Coat to
PMR Composites”, Journal of High Performance Polymers, 17,
.  J.N. Stuecker, J Cesarano, and D.A.Hirschfeld, “Control of the Viscous Behaviour of Highly Concentrated Mullite Suspensions for
Robocasting,” Journal of Materials Processing Technology, v. 142 (2), 2003, p. 318-325
. M.V. Collins, L.E.S. Rohwer, A.D. Oliver, M.G. Hankins, and D.A. Hirschfeld, “Optimization of Anodic Bonding to MEMS with
Self-Assembled Monolayer (SAM) Coatings, Micromachining and Microfabrication,” Proceedings of the SPIE - The International Society
for Optical Engineering, 2001, V. 4558, p.234-41
.  G. He, D. Hirschfeld, J. Cesarano, J. Stuecker, “Robocasting and Cofiring if Functionally Graded SI3N4 -W Materials,” Ceramic
Engineering & Science Proceedings, V. 22, No. 4, 2001, 119-126.
. M.V. Collins, D.A. Hirschfeld, and L.E. Shea, Effects of Processing Parameters on Properties of Alumina Formed by Combustion
Synthesis Innovative Processing and Synthesis of Ceramics, and Glasses, and Composites IV Edited by Narottam P. Bansal and
J.P. Singh, Ceramic Transactions Vol. 115, 2000, 83-92
. J. N. Stuecker, D. G. Martin, and D. A. Hirschfeld, “CMZP and Mg-doped Al2TiO5 Coatings as Possible Oxidation Protection for
Carbon-Carbon Composites,” Journal of Materials Science, 34 (1999), 5443-5447.
. T. K. Li, D. A. Hirschfeld, and J. J. Brown, “Alkali Corrosion Resistant Coatings for Si3N4 Ceramics”, Journal of Materials Science,
32(8), 1997, pp 4455-4461.
. K. H. Lee, D. A. Hirschfeld, and J. J. Brown, “In Situ Whisker-Reinforced AlPO4-Modified b-Eucryptite Glass-Ceramic:I, Morphology
and Crystallization Kinetics” Journal of the American Ceramics Society, 79(3), 1996, 597-602.
 T. K. Li, D.A.Hirschfeld, and J.J.Brown, “Thin film coatings of (Ca0.6,Mg0.4)Zr4(PO4)6 (CMZP) Ceramics” Journal of the Materials
Research Society,9,2004-18(1994).
. T. K. Li, D. A. Hirschfeld, S. VanAken, Y. P. Yang, and J.J.Brown, “The Synthesis, Sintering, and Thermal Properties of
(Ca0.6,Mg0.4)Zr4(PO4)6 (CMZP) Ceramics,” Journal of the Materials Research Society,8,2954-67(1993).


1. Patent Application Filed November, 2008: D.A. Hirschfeld, C. Hockensmith, C. Rhodes, “Method for Treating Iron in a Silver Recovery Process” 
D. A. Hirschfeld, W. K. Schubert, and C. S. Watson, “A Novel Low Temperature Method for the Anodic Bonding of Glass to Silicon”, US Patent 6,660,614 Granted, December 9, 2003.
. J.J. Brown, D.A.Hirschfeld, D. M. Liu, Y. Yang, T. Li, R. Swanson, S. VanAken, and J. M. Kim, “Ceramic Materials with Low Thermal Conductivity and Low Coefficients of Thermal Expansion”, U.S. Patent No. 5,102,836 Granted April, 1992.
. K.H.Lee, D.A.Hirschfeld, and J.J.Brown, “An In-Situ Whisker Reinforced Glass-Ceramic”, U.S. Patent No. 5,186,729 Granted February, 1993.
. T.K. Li, D.A.Hirschfeld, and J.J.Brown, “Alkali Corrosion Resistant Coatings and Ceramic Foams Having Superfine Open Cell Structure and Method of Processing”, U.S. Patent No. 5,268,199 Granted December, 1993.