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BIO

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Muhammad Akmal

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     I am a materials scientist, having a Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from KAIST, South Korea, with an overall 10 years of experience related to conducting research, teaching and designing lab experiments for undergraduates, supervising final year undergraduate students, guiding junior graduate students, with the specific expertise in the field of alloys and composites. I have a skill set of using advanced characterizations like XRD, SEM, EBSD, TEM, and AFM. My hands-on experience regarding fabrication includes but is not limited to arc melting, additive manufacturing/3D printing, spark plasma sintering, and conventional sintering. I am looking for a role in the R&D sector where I can directly apply my experience and knowledge to products of commercial and national importance.

Education

2018-2022

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST),
South Korea

2013-2015

Ghulam Ishaq Khan (GIK) Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology,
Pakistan

2008-2012

Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU),
Multan, Pakistan

Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering

Thesis Title: High and Medium Entropy Alloys for biomedical implants

Supervisor: Prof. Ho Jin Ryu

MS in Nanotechnology and Materials Engineering

Thesis Title: Fabrication and Characterization of 316L/HA functionally graded materials for biomedical implants.

Supervisor: Prof. Fazal A. Khalid SI

B.Sc in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering

Thesis Title: Effect of Ni on Hypo-eutectoid Steels

Supervisor: Prof. Shabbar Atiq

Professional Career

(Sep 2022- Date)

Postdoctoral Researcher, KAIST, Daejeon, South Korea

(Sep 2018-Aug 2022)

Research Assistant (Ph.D. Candidate), KAIST, Daejeon, South Korea

(Feb 2018-Sep 2018)

Visiting Researcher, KAIST, Daejeon, South Korea

(Jan 2016 – Aug 2017)

Materials Engineer, GIK Institute, Topi, Pakistan

(Oct 2015 – Dec 2015)

Lab Instructor, LUMS, Lahore, Pakistan

(Jan 2013 – Jan 2015)

Graduate Assistant, GIK Institute, Topi, Pakistan

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Gradient

Research Summary

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Studying Structural-property relationship of alloys, ceramics, and composites

               I have affiliated myself with research and development (R&D) for ten years now with an intention to be an expert in the structural-property relationship of alloys, ceramics, and composites, specifically focusing on their mechanical properties and corrosion resistance. My greatest strength is designing material based on required mechanical properties, as this involves a sound academic background, analytical and technical skills, and the latest literature survey. A Ph.D. candidate who deals R&D, mentors final year undergraduate students or junior graduate students, or who have taught laboratory education or assisted in courses for years, can do such a job better than anyone who has just industrial experience. In the following sections, I have briefly summarized my academic journey in the R&D field and listed my publications and experimental skills.

  1. Designing Composites and Functionally Graded Materials (Jan 2013- Jun 2016)

        In my masters, I worked on metal matrix composites and functionally graded materials for biomedical implants. I observed the effect on micro and nano-sized hydroxyapatite (ceramics) reinforcement in 316L stainless steel as well as in NiTi alloy. I reported the reaction that happens at the metal/ceramic interface and how it affects the mechanical behavior and corrosion properties of the composite. I published my findings in reputed peer-review journals. Meanwhile, I also assisted my senior graduate students and professors in research and courses. I got excellent experience in operating Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), X-ray diffractometer (XRD), optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), sputtering, arc melting furnaces, sintering techniques, and mechanical testing of materials. As part of my teaching duties during my master’s study, I was responsible for preparing and designing lab experiments related to mechanical testing and materials characterization for undergraduates. Because of my long-term efforts, the faculty dean appointed me as the Resident Engineer of the AFM lab. I fully handled this delicate lab to perform imaging using various modes for senior and graduate students of multidisciplinary backgrounds. I trained fresh engineers and graduate students about the basic operations of AFM. My collaboration with professors from other departments who were working on solar cells and sensors, to understand surface studies of various organic or inorganic coatings, also made me publish as co-author. My academic summary, while I was a master's graduate student and a lab engineer, can be found from the following articles.

  1. 1 Journals Publications

  1. M. Akmal, A. Raza, M. Mudasser Khan, M. Imran Khan, M. A. Hussain, Effect of nano-hydroxyapatite reinforcement in mechanically alloyed NiTi composites for biomedical implant, Materials Science and Engineering C, 68 (2016) 30-36 

  2. M. Akmal, M. A. Hussain, H. Ikram, T. Sattar, S. Jameel, J. Y. Kim, F. A. Khalid, J. W. Kim, In-vitro electrochemical and bioactivity evaluation of SS316L reinforced hydroxyapatite functionally graded materials fabricated for biomedical implants, Ceramics International, 42 (2016) 3855–3863 

  3. M. Akmal, F. A. Khalid, M. A. Hussain, Interfacial diffusion reaction and mechanical characterization of 316L stainless steel-hydroxyapatite functionally graded materials for joint prostheses, Ceramics International, 41 (2015) 14458–14467 

  4. H. Ikram, F. A. Khalid, M. Akmal, Z. Abbas, Effect of Copper and Zirconium addition on Properties of Fe-Co-Si-B-Nb Bulk Metallic Glasses, Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance, 26 (2017) 3144–3150 

  5. Tahir Sattar, Tareq Manzoor, F. A. Khalid, M. Akmal, Ghazanfar Saeed, Improved in-vitro bioactivity and electrochemical behavior of hydroxyapatite-coated NiTi shape memory alloy, Journal of Materials Science, 54 (2019) 7300-7306

  6. Kh. S. Karimov, M. M. Ahmed, M. Saleem, S. Shafique, M. Akmal, Orange dye based field effect transistor as humidity sensor, Optoelectronics and Advanced Materials - Rapid Communications 14( 2020) 416-420

 

       2. Designing High Entropy Alloys (Feb 2017- Nov 2021)           

 

         I worked as visiting researcher in the Nuclear Fuel Materials lab, KAIST, before I started doing my Ph.D. here. Our lab focuses on utilizing the knowledge of materials science in empirical and theoretical relationships between the structures, processes, and properties of metal, ceramic, and composite material for application in various fields like nuclear fuel. However, I joined this lab with a proposal to use the same domain of knowledge for application in biomedical implants. I gained experience using Spark Plasma Sintering to synthesize High Entropy Alloys (HEAs).   My primary research objective is to overcome the strength and ductility trade-off in High and Medium Entropy Alloys (or Multi-principal Component Alloys) for their use in Biomedical Implants. Considering the structure-property relationship of these advanced alloys, I designed the composition and examined using in vivo and in vitro testing. The ultimate composition will be used via Additive Manufacturing to make biomedical implants, overcoming the drawback we face in conventional biomedical implants. Moreover, I collaborated with different departments and institutes to get an interdisciplinary perspective of my work, for instance in vivo implantation of my material in skeletal muscles of mice. I successfully presented my key findings in the following articles and conferences.

              

   

 

2.1 Journals Publications

  1. M. Akmal, Hyun Woo Seong, Ho Jin Ryu, Mo and Ta Addition in NbTiZr Medium Entropy Alloy to Overcome Tensile Yield Strength-Ductility Trade-off, Journal of Materials Science & Technology, 109(2022)176-185 

  2. M. Akmal, A. Hussain, M. Afzal, Young-Ik Lee, Ho Jin Ryu, Systematic Study of (MoTa)xNbTiZr Medium and High Entropy Alloys for Biomedical Implants- In Vivo Biocompatibility Examination, Journal of Materials Science & Technology, 78(2021)183-191 

  3. M. Akmal, Hyung-Ki Park, Ho Jin Ryu, Plasma, Spheroidized MoNbTaTiZr High Entropy Alloy Showing Improved Plasticity, Materials Chemistry and Physics, 24 July (2021) 125060 

  4. M. Afzal, J. Park, Jessie Jeon, M. Akmal, Tae-Sung Yoon, Hyung Jin Sung, Acoustofluidic Separation of Proteins using Aptamer-Functionalized Microparticles,  Analytical Chemistry 93 (2021) 8309-8317 

     2.2 International Conferences

 

   

 

 2.3 Domestic Conferences (South Korea)

  • M. Akmal, M. Afzal, A. Hussain, Y. I. Lee, Ho Jin Ryu, In-vivo and In-vitro biocompatibility examination of high and medium entropy alloys for orthopedic prosthesis, Proc. of the 33rd Conference on Advanced Structural Materials, (p. 113) Busan, Korea, September 26-27, 2019, The Korean Institute of Metals and Materials.

  • M. Akmal, Ho Jin Ryu, Mechanical Characterization of TiZrNbTaxMox (x = 0 to 1) High Entropy Alloys, Fall Conference of Korean Powder Metallurgy Institute, November 12-14, 2018, Haeundae, Busan, South Korea

  • M. Akmal, Ho Jin Ryu, High Strength-High Ductility MoxNbTaxTiZr Medium and High Entropy Alloys for Load Bearing Biomedical Implants, 2019 Spring Conference of the Korean Institute of metals and materials, April 24-26, 2019, Changwon, South Korea

  • M. Akmal, Ho Jin Ryu, TiZrNb-(MoTa)x High and Medium Entropy Alloys for Biomedical Implants, 2020 Fall Conference of the Korean Institute of metals and materials, October 28-30, 2020, Daejeon, South Korea

  • M. Akmal, Hyung-Ki Park, Ho Jin Ryu, Dual-Phase High Entropy Alloys Prepared by Spark Plasma Sintering Show Enhanced Plasticity, Spring Conference of Korean Powder Metallurgy Institute, April 1-2, 2021, Yeosu, South Korea

 

      3. Cold Sintering of Ceramics and Composites (Feb 2017- Aug 2021)

               In addition to handling the metallurgy domain, I used my materials science knowledge in parallel to understand the Cold Sintering mechanisms of Ceramics and Nanocomposites for Waste Immobilization and Biomedical Applications. The objective of this research work is to substitute high-temperature conventional sintering with cold sintering which requires a temperature lower than 300 oC. We found that an absorbed water content around the periphery of parent powder before sintering serves similar to the transient layer and gives a possibility of consolidation, even at very low temperatures. Achieving such milestones can give us economically and functionally superior materials. Moreover, it gave the possibility to sinter high-temperature ceramics like Zirconia (ZrO2) or Alumina (Al2O3) using a simple cold sintering setup. Some of the key findings are reported in the following articles.

 

   

 

 

 

 

3.1 Journals Publications

  1. M. Akmal,  Muhmood-ul Hassan, M. Afzal, Ho Jin Ryu, Novel Approach to Sintering Hydroxyapatite-Alumina Nanocomposites at 300 °C,  Materials Chemistry and Physics,  260 (2021) 124187 

  2. M. Hassan, M. Akmal, Ho Jin Ryu, Cold sintering of as-dried nanostructured calcium hydroxyapatite without using additives, Journal of Materials Research and Technology, 11 (2021) 811-822  

  3. Qusai M. Mistaraihi, M. Akmal, Ho Jin Ryu, Improved Densification of ZrO2-based Ceramics Using Simple Cold Sintering Technique,  In process of submission

 

   3.2 International Conferences

    3.3 Domestic Conferences (South Korea)

  • M. Akmal, Muhmood ul Hassan, Muhammad Afzal, Ho Jin Ryu, TiZrNbMoxTax (x = 0-1) Low temperature sintering of nanoalumina reinforced hydroxyapatite composites for biomedical applications, 2019 Spring Conference of the Korean Society for Composite Materials, April 03-06, 2019, Yeosu, South Korea

 

       4. Heterostructure and Additive Manufacturing (Aug 2021- Date)

               The final goal of my academic journey is to enter an industry where I can analyze dynamic problems and issues of commercial importance. In the metallurgy world, however, one problem is evergreen: strength and ductility trade-off (if you increase strength, the ductility reduces). There are numerous ways reported to evade this dilemma, however, making the described approaches commercially feasible requires a life-long effort. I am working on Ti-Zr-Nb alloys, which although have low elastic modulus but also an inadequate strength. I have described a couple of ways how we can increase the strength of the alloys without scarifying their ductility. The key concept used in this approach is introducing heterogeneity in the system. This heterogeneity can of due to different chemical or mechanical properties of the phase. I utilized the addition of HEAs in Ti-Zr-Nb alloys to get the former heterogeneity (chemical) and milling effect to introduce the latter type of heterogeneity (mechanical). Such heterogeneities are a by-product of additive manufactured products, hence can be carefully tuned to get high strength and high ductility. My work is still going on and partially in process of internal revisions for publishing in Journals. Nonetheless, I have presented and submitted my recent work in the following conferences.

 

     4.1 International Conferences

  • M. Akmal,  Ho Jin Ryu, Gradient Interface in High Entropy Alloy Reinforced Ti-Nb-Zr Heterostructure Alloys for Improved Strength and Wear Resistance without Scarifying Ductility, 2022 MRS Spring Meeting (Symposium SF06), May 08-13, 2022, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

 

     4.2 Domestic Conferences (South Korea)

  • M. Akmal, Aamir Malik, Wonjong Jeong, Ho Jin Ryu, Simultaneous Increase in Strength and Ductility in Ti-Nb-Zr Alloy by Heterostructure Hardening for Biomedical Implants, Fall Conference of Korean Powder Metallurgy Institute, October 20-22, 2021, Jeju/online, Korea.

  • M. Akmal, Wonjong Jeong, Ho Jin Ryu, Effect of Mo addition in Ti-Zr-Nb Alloy Prepared by Laser Directed Energy Deposition for Biomedical Implants, Spring Conference of Korean Powder Metallurgy Institute, March 31-April 01, 2022, Gyeongju, South Korea

  • M. Akmal, Ho Jin Ryu, Ti-Nb-Zr Low Elastic Modulus Alloy Showing Improved Mechanical Properties-Study of Gradient Interface between High Entropy Alloy Reinforcement and Ti-Nb-Zr Matrix, Spring Conference of the Korean Institute of Metals and Materials, April 27-29, 2022, Changwon, South Korea

​​    Key Technical Equipment Proficiency

 

  • Scanning Electron Microscopy (Certified* at KARA user of Environmental SEM (Quattro S, FEI), FESEM (SU5000, Hitachi), FESEM (Magellan 400, FIE)

  • X-Ray Diffraction (Certified user at KARA, XRD (BrukerX))

  • Transmission Electron Microscopy (Certified user at KARA of Field Emission TEM (300kV)

  • Atomic Force Microscopy (Official operator (at GIKI) of FelxAFM (Nanosurf) for 1.5 years. Acquired basic training using Multimode 8 (Bruker)) for imaging and quantum nano-mechanical mapping at the University of Toronto

  • DC Sputtering (Expert user)

  • Metallography and Optical Microscopy (Expert user)

  • Conventional sintering (Expert user; Expertise acquired during MS and Ph.D. work)

  • Electric arc melting furnaces (Fair user; Occasional operator)

  • Mechanical Testing (Expert user, DIC Tensile Test)

  • Spark Plasma Sintering (Expert user; 4 years)

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Memberships

  • Pakistan Engineering Council  (Registration number: METAL/04018)

  • Korean Society of Composite Materials, South Korea

  • Korean Institute of Metals and Materials, South Korea

  • Korean Powder Metallurgy Institute, South Korea

+82-10-7545-1991