PUC engineering professor to deliver keynote at international Iron & Steel conference

In recognition of her achievements in process metallurgy and dedication to the steel industry, a Purdue University Calumet professor will deliver the keynote address Monday (5/3) at the international Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST) Conference and Exposition in Pittsburgh.

Chenn Zhou,

professor of mechanical engineering, head of Purdue Calumet’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and director of the university’s Center

for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation, will present the conference’s J. Keith Brimacombe Memorial Lecture. Her topic is: “Visualizing the Future in Steel Manufacturing.”


Her lecture will be the kickoff of a four-day event expected to attract more than 1,000 attendees, representing one of the largest gatherings of steel industry personnel in the world. She will receive her Brimacombe Memorial Lecture Award at the AIST President’s Award Breakfast Tuesday (5/4).

“I am deeply honored and privileged to receive this recognition,” Zhou, a Munster resident and 15-year Purdue Calumet professor, said. “This award is attributed to all of my students, research associates and collaborators. I am grateful to the university, industry and all the organizations and individuals who made this possible.”

During her lecture, she will discuss the growing importance of advanced computer simulation and visualization technologies in steel production and troubleshooting. Creating immersive, virtual environments for ‘going inside,’ she says, increases understanding of complex physical processes, enabling innovation and the ability to make significant improvements in a time and cost efficient manner.

“As industry forges its way into the future,” she said, “advanced computer simulation and visualization technologies will play an ever-increasing role in addressing issues of productivity, energy, environment and quality, as well as workforce training to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”

Zhou applies that logic at Purdue Calumet as director of the Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation, which utilizes 3-dimensional visualization and virtual reality technologies to assist steel and other local manufacturing industries in addressing production and efficiency challenges.

“This recognition not only brings prestige and honor to Professor Zhou,” Purdue Calumet Chancellor Howard Cohen said, “but it also enhances Purdue Calumet as a school internationally noted for its research in iron and steel making.”

Professor Zhou offers 27+ years of expertise in computational fluid dynamics, multiphase reacting flows, combustion and air pollution control. She has conducted various funded research projects in collaboration with industries, national laboratories and academia. She has developed state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamics models and virtual reality visualizations for industrial applications.

Of late, she has led a research consortium intent on helping the North America steel industry improve blast furnace campaign life and energy efficiency.

She also has published nearly 190 technical papers, five copyrighted computational fluid dynamics codes and two patents. A past recipient of Purdue Calumet’s Outstanding Teaching, Outstanding Scholar and Outstanding Sponsored Research Awards, she also has been recognized as Outstanding Northwest Indiana Researcher (2003), Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (2003) and American Iron and Steel Institute Medal Award (2005), among numerous other honors.

Additionally, she has chaired various national and international technical conferences and sessions, as well as the Combustion, Fire, and Reacting Flows Committee in the Heat Transfer Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

She holds baccalaureate and master’s degrees from Najing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in China and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

The four-day Association for Iron and Steel Technology event is intended to showcase advancements in iron making, steelmaking, rolling and finishing processes, as well as anticipated technologies necessary in 21st century steel production. Other information about the conference can be obtained at www.aistech.org.