The new lab follows announcement of 10 year, $10 million agreement with titanium industry leader IperionX

Following the 10 year, $10 million research agreement announced earlier this year between the John and Marcia Price College of Engineering’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Charlotte-based IperionX, the two partners, along with college and university leadership, celebrated the opening of a new state-of-the-art additive manufacturing research center on campus in the William Browning Building. The lab, which houses cutting-edge 3D titanium printing machines, will serve as a hub for the collaboration between Metallurgical Engineering Professor Zak Fang’s powder metallurgy research team and IperionX as they work to advance metallurgical technologies for producing primary metals, focused upon titanium.

The opening of the lab, named the Titanium Additive Manufacturing Research Center, opens new opportunities for University of Utah students to gain hands-on experience with cutting-edge materials science and engineering technologies. The partnership aims to inspire the next generation of metallurgical innovators, equipping them with the skills and experience needed to pioneer breakthroughs in sustainable metal production and processing.

Members of IperionX and the Materials Science and Engineering Department cut the ribbon in front of a new lab.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was led by Provost Mitzi Montoya and IperionX CEO Taso Arima.

“This new lab represents the tangible fruits of our partnership with IperionX and underscores our shared commitment to developing transformative solutions for the energy and transportation sectors,” said Fang, the lead researcher on the project. “By combining our academic expertise in materials science and engineering with IperionX’s industry know-how and resources, we are poised to make significant strides in areas like additive manufacturing of titanium alloys and recycling of critical minerals.”

IperionX’s role as a leader in sustainable titanium production is a key component of this collaborative research effort. The company has patented technologies aimed at recycling the valuable metal at a lower cost and with reduced environmental impact compared to traditional methods.

“IperionX is excited to continue its extensive collaboration with the University of Utah and Dr. Zak Fang,” said IperionX CEO Taso Arima. “It all started here at the University of Utah, with Dr. Fang’s innovation and his vision for manufacturing and re-shoring low-cost, high performance titanium metal in America. The Titanium Additive Manufacturing Research Center will allow us to continue to rapidly innovate, and we believe this center and continued work with Dr. Fang and his research team will assist to attract students to materials science and engineering–because this is what drives innovation for the critical technologies needed for the U.S. and society as a whole.”

“This academic-industry partnership of the Fang Lab and IperionX exemplifies the College of Science’s innovative bench-to-application research to meet the needs of our energy future,” said Peter Trapa, Dean of the College of Science. “By supporting cutting-edge research that addresses real-world challenges, we are cultivating the next generation of scientific leaders and driving economic growth in Utah.”

Joint efforts with industry partners have been part of the University of Utah’s remarkable research growth over the past decade. In fiscal year 2023, university research funding reached a landmark $768 million, nearly doubling its support in the last ten years. As the University of Utah continues to work towards a goal of $1 billion in research funding, its leadership views industry collaboration as a vehicle to accelerate discovery and translate research into real-world applications.

“Collaborations like this one are virtuous cycles,” said Richard Brown, H. E. Thomas Presidential Endowed Dean of the John and Marcia Price College of Engineering. “Cutting-edge research and industry supporting one another is the backbone of a growing innovation economy.”