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ESE Seminar - Leora E. Dresselhaus-Marais: A Multi-Scale View of Scalability Challenges in H2-Based Ironmaking

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This meeting is in Room 104 and can also be viewed in Room 014

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Modern metals manufacturing relies on centuries-old techniques that we must now revisit in light of global challenges in environmental and resource sustainability. While steel is ubiquitous, its refinement currently contributes 8% of the global CO2 footprint, 64% of which originates from ironmaking. Updating ironmaking processes requires careful studies of the fundamental science that complicates scalability and direct integration of those approaches with scale models. I will present my group’s work using in-situ X-ray and electron probes (diffraction and imaging) to directly resolve the kinetics and multiscale structural dynamics for H2-based direct iron reduction. By mapping these dynamics from the atomic through μm-scales, we demonstrate we demonstrate the intricate and complex links between mechanics, chemistry, and mass transport give rise to complex chemistry. Our finding shed light on the complex reaction dynamics of this system, paving the way for important insights into the energy-landscape of carbon-free steelmaking that offer an important starting point for process models.


Leora is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering, with a courtesy appointment in Mechanical Engineering, and a term appointment in Photon Science at the SLAC National Accelerator Lab. Leora studies how modern methods can enable new opportunities to update “old-school” materials processing and manufacturing for sustainability. This includes designing new microscopes with computer-vision methods to quantify them, and using these new tools to get a deeper view into the extraction, forming, and functional properties of metallic materials. Leora's group works on thrusts in sustainable steelmaking (specifically ironmaking), metal 3D printing, and studies of the fundamental mechanisms underlying properties in materials. For her work, Leora has been recognized as a Precourt Center Fellow, a Gabilan Fellow, and was selected for a Young Investigator Research Program Award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in 2022. Before joining Stanford, Leora was a Lawrence Fellow in the Physics Division of Lawrence Livermore National Labs, studying shock waves and high-temperature metallurgy. Leora did her PhD in Physical Chemistry with Prof. Keith Nelson at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and got her Bachelor of Arts and Master’s of Science both in Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania.