On the occasion of its annual general assembly in Singapore on 16 July 2023, the International Institute of Welding presented Sergio Amancio, from the Institute of Materials Science, Joining and Forming at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), with this year’s Yoshiaki Arata Award in recognition of his scientific achievements. This award, consisting of a medal and a certificate, is considered one of the world’s most important awards for research in welding and additive manufacturing and usually goes to veteran researchers who are recognised for their life’s work. For the first time in its almost 30-year history, the award has been given to a still quite young researcher in the middle of his career – Sergio Amancio.
Making aircraft and cars lighter
The holder of the Professorship for Innovative Materials and Manufacturing Technology in Aviation endowed by the ministry of climate protection (BMK) deals, among other things, with new and energy-efficient solid-state joining processes of lightweight alloys as well as their hybrid structures with polymers or composite materials. In addition, he conducts research into the development of additive manufacturing processes for structural and shape-memory alloys as well as metal-polymer hybrid structures. The most important fields of application for Sergio Amancio’s work include the lightweight construction of future aircraft and cars where the use of rivets or fasteners and thus additional weight can be dispensed due to the welding and joining techniques he has developed. This should reduce fuel consumption and increase maintenance intervals of future airplanes and vehicles.
The difference between welding and joining is that welding involves mixing two identical materials, i.e. metal with metal or polymer with polymer. In contrast, joining involves combining different materials, for example metal with polymer, and there is no mixing because of the physical-chemical differences between the two families of materials.
An award for many companions
In terms of his developments, Sergio Amancio now holds 22 patents, with 15 more pending. For his research and development work in the field of materials science, he has already won the DGM Prize in 2022, one of the most important awards in this field, although he emphasises that the prizes are also an honour for his mentors, colleagues and family.
“The Arata Award, together with the DGM Prize, is the greatest honour for me in my manufacturing engineering career so far,” said Sergio Amancio. “But I didn’t achieve all this alone and there are so many people I want to thank. My parents, my brother and sister, my best friend and wife Gisele and also companions such as Volker Leiser, Stephen Liu, Jorge F. dos Santos, Christof Sommitsch, Franz Haas and all my current and former students, doctoral students and colleagues. I myself have always been very curious, especially when it came to the difficult problem of joining metal with polymer. In our collective hard work, we have tried out, experimented and tested a lot and also achieved a lot. So, this award doesn’t belong to me alone.”
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