Michael Tonks Chosen as 2022 TMS Brimacombe Medalist Award Winner 

Michael Tonks, Ph.D.

Michael Tonks, Ph.D., professor, was recently recognized as a 2022 Brimacombe Medalist by The Mineral, Metals & Materials Society (TMS). 

The Brimacombe Medalist Award recognizes outstanding mid-career scientists who have demonstrated sustained excellence and achievement in business, technology, education, public policy, or science related to materials science and engineering. TMS recognized Dr. Tonks for his significant contributions in computational materials science approaches as applied to materials under extreme environments. 

“TMS is a great society and my membership in it has enriched my career,” said Dr. Tonks. “I am honored and humbled to be recognized by them with this award.” 

 Dr. Tonks’ research program focuses on the coevolution of microstructure and properties of materials in harsh environments.  As an example, he has pioneered the development of a new approach to macroscale materials modeling for nuclear reactors. 

Historically, materials models were empirical or semi-empirical. Dr. Tonks’ method utilizes microstructural variables to represent the current state of the microstructure. He is now applying this approach to model the behavior of other materials in harsh environments, including the ablation of thermal protection systems for atmospheric reentry of space and aircraft, the corrosion of gasoline engine valves and alloys in contact with molten salt in nuclear reactors. 

Dr. Tonks also develops open-source tools for computational materials science at the mesoscale to enable researchers worldwide to model material behavior at length scales ranging from 100 nanometers to 100 microns and time scales ranging from microseconds to days. 

“Dr. Tonks is an invaluable asset to both the materials science and the nuclear engineering segments of our department,” said Michele Manuel, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Materials Science & Engineering. “His impact and contributions in the field of mesoscale modeling are unmatched and have rightly become the industry standard. Dr. Tonks’ selection as a TMS Brimacombe Medalist and its accompanying recognition is well-deserved.” 

The formal presentation of the award will be at the TMS-AIME Annual Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, March 3, during the TMS 2022 Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California.