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.

Zhu__Sumin.jpg

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

“Forged in Gold: Missouri S&T’s First 150 Years”

In the 1870s, Rolla seemed an unlikely location for a new college. There were only about 1,400 residents in a community with more saloons than houses of worship. There were no paved streets, sewers or water mains. To visitors, there seemed to be as many dogs, hogs, horses, ducks and geese as humans walking the dusty streets.

[Read More...]

By the numbers: Fall/Winter 2019

[Read More...]

Bringing clean water to South America

Assessing water quality, surveying mountaintop locations and building systems to catch rainwater — that’s how members of S&T’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders spent their summer break.

[Read More...]

Geothermal goals exceeded

After five years of operation, Missouri S&T’s geothermal energy system continues to outperform expectations. S&T facilities operations staff originally predicted the geothermal system would reduce campus water usage by over 10% — roughly 10 million gallons per year. The system, which went online in May 2014, cut actual water usage by 18 million to 20 […]

[Read More...]

What happens in Vegas…may appear in print

In his latest volume of Las Vegas lore, historian Larry Gragg says it was deliberate publicity strategies that changed the perception of Sin City from a regional tourist destination where one could legally gamble and access legalized prostitution just outside the city limits, to a family vacation spot filled with entertainment options and surrounded by […]

[Read More...]