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Recipients of the NIMS Award at NIMS Conferences

National Institute for Materials Science

The NIMS Conference for FY2008 will be held at the Epochal Tsukuba International Convention Center July 14-16.


The National Institute for Materials Science (hereinafter, NIMS; President: Teruo Kishi) was established in 2001 as Japan’s largest research institute for materials research by a merger of two large national laboratories with histories of more than 30 years in research on metal materials and inorganic materials, respectively. In 2006, NIMS completed its first 5 year Mid-Term Program and launched its 2nd Mid-Term Program. On that occasion, the Institute expanded and improved the content of the NIMS Conference, in which many discussions related materials science and technology have been continued over the previous 4 years. The NIMS Conference for FY2008 will be held at the Epochal Tsukuba International Convention Center July 14-16.

As an important feature of the NIMS Conferences, since last year, the NIMS Award has been given to individuals or groups that have achieved dramatic progress in materials-related science and technology during the previous several years based on a strict selection process. This year, the NIMS Award will be given for research achievements in the energy and environment field under the title “NIMS Award for Recent Breakthroughs in Materials Science for Energy and the Environment.” Recipients of the NIMS Award have been selected by a neutral committee of experts from among candidates recommended by top scientists in the field in countries around the world.

In order to develop the NIMS Award presented at NIMS Conferences into an authoritative international award which is coveted by all researchers in materials research, the “Supporters of the NIMS Conference” (an unincorporated association) are providing a goodwill award of one million yen as a supplementary award, in addition to a medal made from NIMS-developed materials given to Award recipients. The names and achievements of the NIMS Award recipients for 2008 is followings:

Award Title:

Enhancement of the Fuel Efficiency of Advanced Aero and Power Turbines through Material Innovation


  • Prof. Anthony G. Evans
  • Prof. David R. Clarke
  • Prof. Carlos G. Levi
University of California, Santa Barbara


The fuel efficiency of turbine engines used for aero-propulsion and power-generation is largely dictated by the combustion temperature. The components having the greatest influence on this temperature are the rotating airfoils. Dramatic efficiency enhancements have been attained through schemes for internal cooling of the airfoil, coupled with the invention and implementation of novel, multilayer material concepts. The multilayers provide thermal insulation and robustness, while also protecting the underlying Ni-superalloy from environmental degradation. The multilayer is referred to as a thermal barrier system. The same system has provided sufficient operational flexibility to reduce undesirable emissions. During the last decade, Professors Evans, Clarke and Levi led an international team that generated predictive performance rules and guidelines for the development of new materials. Prior to the involvement of the UCSB-led group, implementation was empirical and progress slow. The new rules have been implemented by designers into simulation codes that enable systematic enhancements in turbine efficiency. The researchers involved in the team have been from several European countries, as well as Japan and the US. To realize rapid progress, this team has been truly multidisciplinary, with participants from materials, solid mechanics, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, thermal sciences and numerical methods. The fundamental insights gained through the efforts of this team have led to the invention of new compositions of matter that combine thermal insulation with robustness within the extremely aggressive combustion environment in the turbine. These new materials promise further advances in efficiency over the next several years.


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Hiroko INOUE
International Affairs Office
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