Materials & Metallurgical Engineering Department

Welcome to Materials & Metallurgical Engineering at New Mexico Tech

Developing new materials, new processes to make them, new theories and computational models to understand them, and new means to measure their properties at the atomic scale, microscale, and macroscale are the emphases of NMT's Materials and Metallurgical Engineering Department.

Our department is distinguished by the broad range of hands-on experimental techniques in materials science, the strong integration between its undergraduate and graduate programs, and the ability to approach new frontiers in materials technology through close interaction across the primary materials sub-disciplines of polymers, ceramics, metals, semiconductors, and composites. The atmosphere for graduate research in materials is distinguished by having world-leading faculty working closely with graduates and post-graduates to create a personalized research and learning experience.

lab work

The NMT Materials and Metallurgical Engineering Department offers the only Master's and PhD programs in Materials Science, Materials Engineering, and Metallurgy in New Mexico.

Our Program has received national and international recognition for the quality of our project-based curriculum and for our interdisciplinary emphasis which produces graduates capable of addressing the needs and challenges of science and industry, and of effectively communicating solutions in the uppermost professional ranks. Our faculty and staff have created a culture intent on relating new developments and advances to the highest-level engineering practices.



THURSDAY 10/31  - 11:30am to 1:00pm
Jones hall entry

Main dish and drinks provided by the departments

Please bring your favorite side dish or dessert

Sign-up sheets on Raylene & Shannan’s doors


Materials Student Named Macey Scholar For 2013-2014

Kelsey Meyer: Macey Scholar, Physics & Materials

SOCORRO, N.M. May 9, 2013 – Junior Kelsey Meyer is not only an outstanding scholar, but is quite ambitious as well. She expects to graduate in four years with two degrees – bachelor’s in physics and in materials engineering.

“When I started at Tech, I couldn’t decide which to study, so I am doing both,” she said. “I’m interested in the overlap between the two fields.”


Kelsey Meyer, 2013-2014 Macey Scholar


A native of Albuquerque, Meyer was homeschooled and got a head start on her career at Tech. She completed enough college courses at Central New Mexico Community College as a high-schooler to earn an associate’s degree.

Also while still in high school, she started working as a lab intern in Electronic Ceramics at Sandia National Laboratories. She continues to work at the lab part time during the school year and full-time during summers. She has presented research at conferences and won awards in undergraduate research contests.

“The internship and the encouragement of my mentor helped to foster my interests in science and engineering,” she said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to learn so much about this fascinating field.”

Her supervisor at Sandia, Geoff Brennecka, recommended Meyer for the Macey Scholar award. He wrote that, “Kelsey is exceptional in the lab, with a meticulous nature, yet a keen filter.”

Brennecka said he feels fortunate that Sandia was able to keep Meyer on board during her senior year in high school. She had presented research at a local scientific conference and won an award for her poster at a national conference.

She was selected for a prestigious summer program in 2012. She completed a Research Experience for Undergraduate program (funded by the National Science Foundation) at North Carolina State University. There, she studied phase separation of copper silicides and how to fabricate materials in the lab. She also learned to use various lab instruments and techniques, such as scanning electron microscope, x-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscope and atomic force microscopy.

“Spending the summer in Raleigh was a great opportunity,” she said. “It gave me a chance to experience an entirely unfamiliar city, conduct research in different facilities and interact with professors and both undergraduate and graduate students.”

Meyer is also involved in several student, academic and extracurricular groups. She is active with the Newman Society in Socorro and in Albuquerque. She directs a college choir that performs at San Miguel Catholic Church every month. She also organizes an effort to helping the poor in Albuquerque through the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd.

In 2012, she served a one-year term as the programming chair of the President’s Council on Student Advisors, which is sponsored by the American Ceramic Society.

Brennecka, wrote that, “Taking on such a leadership role at the national level with a professional society not only gave Kelsey the opportunity build her leadership skills and make professional contacts, but also allowed her the opportunity to represent New Mexico Tech to the greater ceramics and materials community.”

She is the current president of the Material Club on campus and has organized outreach programs to local schools. Through the club, she has also judged both the Science Fair and Science Olympiad, two competitions for high school students around New Mexico.

“I have grown intellectually and personally here by immersing myself both in my studies and student life,” she said. “I am a proud representative of New Mexico Tech at conferences and also at work.”

Gary Chandler of the Materials Engineering Department wrote that, “Kelsey shows maturity beyond what is expected from her peers. … She is giving, kind and enjoyable to work with. Kelsey is an outstanding representative of NMT students.”


SOCORRO, N.M. October 31, 2012 – Materials Engineering student Max Holliday earned second place for his research poster dealing with the testing of solder at the 24th Rio Grande Symposium on Advanced Materials in Albuquerque in October.


Max Holliday, a junior in the Materials Engineering Department, with his winning poster at a recent conference in Albuquerque.

The junior from Albuquerque presented his work titled “The Effect of Gold Alloy Dissolutions on the Solderability of Lead-Free Solders.” Along with co-authors Paul Vianco and Jerry Rejent from Sandia National Laboratories, Holliday is developing an understanding of how the gold protective finishes that are used on electronics can interfere with how solders bond to component surfaces. His measurements and analyses of the solder-substrate interfaces have established a framework from which the performance of these solders can be optimized. He is working with tin solders that contain copper and silver.

“The opportunity to speak in front of many people was good practice for my technical career,” Holliday said. “It would be great for New Mexico Tech to have a bigger presence at the symposium next year. It was kind of intimidating, since the conference was full of industry leaders. But as long as you’re confident in your research and you know what you’ve done and how to do it, you can defend your research effectively.”

In addition to the award and peer recognition, Holliday won $100 for his efforts. He has been working at Sandia for 2½ years – ever since graduating from Sandia High School. Holliday said co-author Vianco is an idol of his and a recognized expert in the research and engineering of soldering materials. Regent is Holliday’s mentor and advisor on his research project.


Max Holliday in the materials engineering lab at New Mexico Tech.

Photos courtesy of Terry Lowe/New Mexico Tech

The lead-free solder that Holliday is testing is expected to be a replacement material for the traditional lead-based solders that have been used for decades. Holliday has been testing the new solder’s ability to adhere to gold-plated components commonly found on computer circuit boards. He submerged gold-plated components in a bath of solder, then test the samples using a wetting balance and a meniscometer – a method pioneered by Vianco. He could then quantify the interfacial tension, the contact angle and other qualities and forces.

Holliday and the Sandia scientists have proved that the bond between lead-free solder and gold is weaker than with traditional solder. How do materials engineers approach that problem?

“That’s future research,” Holliday said. “Now we can tweak our solder alloys so they better interact with gold surfaces.”

He said he intends to continue his research and he hopes to find more opportunities to present his work at future conferences.

New Tech faculty member Dr. Terry Lowe said he is impressed with Holliday’s presentation at the conference.

“With the momentum we are building by adding new research in our department, we are sure to make a strong showing at next year’s symposium and in other similar venues,” he said.

The symposium is hosted by the New Mexico chapters of the American Ceramic Society, Materials Research Society, ASM International, American Vacuum Society, and the American Chemical Society. The event brought together New Mexico materials scientists and engineers to exchange their most recent technical achievements at the Hotel Albuquerque in the historic Old Town district of Albuquerque.



E-Week Nanofuel Demonstration brings a little James Bond action to the department


Karl Staudhammer Award Presented to Kevin Ring

Michael McLeod, 2011 Recipient presenting the award to Kevin Ring, 2012 Recipient

Kevin Ring, a Senior in the NMT Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, has been honored with the second annual Karl Staudhammer Outstanding Student Award for 2012, presented by the American Society of Materials at their Spring 2013 Banquet in Albuquerque. This award is given to the NMT MATE student who best exemplifies ASM International’s mission of service to the materials science and engineering community worldwide. The award was presented by Dr. Terry Lowe and Mr. Michael McCleod, the first recipient.
Mr. Ring is a New Hampshire native whose study emphasis is ceramics. When asked about his “spare time”, Kevin gave a short, derisive laugh. He does find time to occasionally indulge in swing dance as mental and physical recreation.


More on Materials

Web of Science
New Mexico Materials Societies
NMT Materials Club

     Polymers      Metals


      Assorted      Ceramic

Last Updated: 1/06/2013