Newswise — Mike Kirka, a researcher and group leader in Deposition Science and Technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been recognized by The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, or TMS, with the Young Innovator in the Materials Science of Additive Manufacturing Award.

TMS is a professional organization for materials scientists and engineers that encompasses minerals processing and primary metals production as well as basic research and the advanced applications of materials. The Young Innovator Award recognizes an outstanding, early career individual who is performing innovative research in these areas.

At ORNL, Kirka’s research focuses on developing and understanding the limitations in processing science for high-temperature materials such as nickel-base superalloys and refractory metals for additive manufacturing. Kirka explores alloys at the microstructural level to gain a deeper knowledge of their performance capabilities for space, energy and defense applications.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by TMS with an early career research award,” Kirka said. “The support of organizations like TMS help further my goal of rapidly developing new materials capable of withstanding extreme heat.”

“Mike’s research in materials has led to recent significant achievements at ORNL, including the demonstration of superalloys in a gas-fired land turbine engine,” Tom Kurfess, ORNL’s chief manufacturing officer, said. “His knowledge of materials will continue to be critical to furthering innovations in additive manufacturing.”

Kirka joined ORNL in 2014 as a post-doctoral fellow. He earned his doctorate in mechanical engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology.

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