Sumin Zhu

Sumin Zhu, PhD CerE’08, knows about heat. As a senior research engineer and principal scientist in the enabling technologies department at Vesuvius in Pittsburgh, Pa., his team works on high-temperature ceramics that can operate under the most extreme conditions, including the continuous casting of steel.


Sumin Zhu. (Photo by Joe Korona/The Art of Photography)

“Vesuvius is a global leader in high-temp ceramics and refractories,” he says. “My department focuses on long-term research and strategies for new products and innovations.”

“My department focuses on long-term research and strategies for new products and innovations.”

Zhu says his department doesn’t work for a particular business unit; rather they look for the latest innovations that can be applied to any of the company’s various products. “Some of these innovations may not be realistic today,” he says. “But they could be applied to the next generation of products.”
What he finds most exciting about his job is when his discovery or idea is used in practical engineering applications. He cites as an example a product that is made of highly porous ceramics (70-80 percent porosity). He says this kind of material can survive temperatures of more than 1,500 degrees Celsius and has excellent thermal insulation properties, which means significant energy savings for the customer.
Zhu earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Chinese universities prior to coming to Rolla in 2005.
“I enjoyed Rolla. I liked that it was a small town with friendly people,” he says. “Pittsburgh reminds me a bit of Rolla with its rolling hills, but it’s not as hot in the summer.”
He enjoys running in his free time, and watching movies. He says they help him understand how other people live and think. “Obviously I can’t experience everything personally, and I might be limited by my mindset,” he says. “Movies help me explore new ways of thinking, different lifestyles. They open my eyes.”
Vesuvius has offices throughout the world and is growing its business in China. Zhu hopes his knowledge of the culture might provide additional opportunities in the future with the company.

Around the Puck

Generous partners complete ACML fundraising

Thanks to an investment from the University of Missouri System, major gifts from industry partners and alumni support, S&T will break ground on the Advanced Construction and Materials Laboratory (ACML) on Oct. 12, during Homecoming weekend.

[Read More...]

Alumni help with sesquicentennial planning

Seven alumni, including three Miner Alumni Association board members, have been named to Missouri S&T’s sesquicentennial advisory committee. The group is made up of graduates, students, faculty, staff and community members who are involved in planning the university’s upcoming 150th anniversary celebration.

[Read More...]

Using big data to reduce childbirth risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, complications during pregnancy or childbirth affect more than 50,000 women annually, and about 700 of them die every year. Steve Corns, associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering, is working with researchers from Phelps County Regional Medical Center through the Ozarks Biomedical Initiative to reduce […]

[Read More...]

Bogan solves Benton mural mystery

Missouri State Capitol muralist Thomas Hart Benton wrote in his memoir about being called into then-Gov. Guy Park’s office and told that a prominent St. Louis politician objected to Benton’s portrayal of black people, especially depictions of slavery.

[Read More...]

Breaking bias

According to Jessica Cundiff, assistant professor of psychological science at S&T, women who consider careers in the physical sciences, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are deterred by stereotypes that impose barriers on the recruitment, retention and advancement of women in STEM.

[Read More...]