The Vacuum Metallurgy/Advanced Surface Engineering Division

The first division within the Society was the Vacuum Metallurgy Division (VMD), which was formed in May 1961. The previous year, R.F. Bunshah approached the AVS Board with a suggestion that an existing group, which had organized annual Vacuum Metallurgy Conferences from 1957 through 1960, under the leadership of Bunshah, become a section within the AVS instead of forming a new Vacuum Metallurgy Society. This group had been founded in 1957 with the idea of serving as a common meeting ground for the small technical community devoted to the melting, casting, and processing of metals and alloys under sub-atmospheric conditions but it soon became apparent through the growth of the vacuum metallurgy field that production engineers, management, and research engineers were also interested in “vacuum effects and the behaviour of metals under vacuum at elevated temperatures.”

The AVS by-laws had to be changed to include a division; until this change was approved in 1961, the vacuum metallurgy section was considered a special committee of the Society. In May, 1962, only 12 of the 1121 AVS members were VMD members but this had increased to 48 by August; by 1971, there were 250 members.

As surface engineering became more and more important to the ICMCTF and as the interest in vacuum melting decreased, it was recognized that the name of the Division did not reflect its main activities. Surface engineering was its main thrust, and Bill Sproul led an effort to change the name of the division. In 2000, the VMD became the Advanced Surface Engineering Division (ASED).

1961 Rointan F Bunshah (1)
1962 Rointan F Bunshah (2)
1963 Rointan F Bunshah (3)
1964 A M Aksoy
1965 Michael A Cocca (1)
1966 Michael A Cocca (2)
1967 Ellis L Foster (1)
1968 Ellis L Foster (2)
1969 Ellis L Foster (3)
1970 Leonard M Bianchi
1971 D T Bourgette
1972 R W Buckman (1)
1973 R W Buckman (2)
1974 R W Buckman (3)
1975 Richard C Krutenat (1)
1976 Richard C Krutenat (2)
1977 C Frank Elliott
1978 John R Morley
1979 John S Huntington
1980 Gopal K Bhat
1981 J Roger Peterson
1982 H J Klein
1983 Clifford S Mosbacher
1984 Harry A Beale
1985 R W Buckman (4)
1986 David E Rigney
1987 Douglas L Chambers
1988 Robert C Tucker
1989 Gopal K Bhat
1990 William D Sproul (1)
1991 William D Sproul (2)
1992 Dennis T Quinto
1993 Eric Schlienger
1994 Dale C McIntyre
1995 Brian K Damkroger
1996 Anthony J Perry
1997 Paul S Dunn
1998 William D Sproul (3)
1999 William D Sproul (4)
2000 Bruce Sartwell
2001 Ivan Petrov (1)
2002 Aharon Inspektor
2003 Allan Matthews
2004 Yip-Wah Chung
2005 Suzanne Rohde
2006 Alan Stewart
2007 Joe Greene (1)
2008 Lars Hultman
2009 Daniel Gall
2010 Ali Erdemir
2011 Jörg Patscheider (1)
2012 Jochen Schneider
2013 Christian Mitterer
2014 Joe Greene (2)
2015 Andre Anders
2016 Bo Torp
2017 Andrey A Voevodin
2018 Jörg Patscheider (2)
2019 David Adams
2020 Paul Mayrhofer
2021 Satish Dixit
2022 Michael Stüber
2023 Steve Bull
2024 Ivan Petrov (2)
2025 Greg Greczynski

The Division continued the Vacuum Metallurgy Conference for many years covering both metallurgical coatings and metals processing, and organized programs at the AVS Annual Symposium primarily on vacuum coatings and processes due to the interests of the Symposium attendees. Over the years, only part of the Division membership remained interested in liquid metals processing, and they organized a biannual conference on that subject. However, over the years, metallurgical coatings became the main interest of those involved in the division and other areas of vacuum metallurgy, such as vacuum melting processes, were not well represented in VMD.

The 1968 Annual Vacuum Metallurgy Conference was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, California; there was one session on “Vacuum Deposition of Bulk Metal Coatings” but the rest of the conference dealt with vacuum melting and heat treatment.

An international conference was held at the Convention Center in Anaheim, California on 15-19 June 1970, jointly with the annual symposium of the Southwest Section. R. F. Bunshah was the General Chairman and sessions covered the growth, production, application and theory of thick metallic films, fundamental considerations and application of vacuum heat treating; electron beam melting and processing equipment; behavior of metals in vacuum environments; consumable electrode melting; vacuum induction melting and degassing; atomization, consolidation, testing of metal and alloy powders in vacuum or controlled environment; and general vacuum metallurgy. An abstract of 300 to 500 words had to be submitted to D. T. Bourgette, Program Chairman, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Box X, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830. Exhibits were organized by E. F. Oswandel, Balzers High Vacuum Corporation, Box 10816, Santa Ana, California 92711 and the Arrangement’s Chairman was L. M. Bianchi, TRW Inc., 23555 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44117.

The 1972 Vacuum Metallurgy Conference, in Pittsburgh, emphasized “new technology in vacuum melting and refining, vacuum casting, vacuum deposition of thick films, and behaviour of materials in vacuum environments”.

However, vacuum metallurgy was still represented in the ICMC meetings; e.g. ICMC-6 was actually billed as the “6th International Vacuum Metallurgy Conference on Special Melting and Metallurgical Coatings” and was co-sponsored by the Thin Film Division and the Pittsburg Golden Triangle Chapter, of the ASM. The 1984 “Vacuum Metallurgy Conference on Specialty Metals, Melting and Processes” was held in Pittsburg. In 1989, the “Vacuum Metallurgy Conference on the Melting and Processing of Specialty Materials” was also held in Pittsburgh.

In 1974, the VMD held the “Conference on Structure/Property Relationships in Thick Films and Bulk Coating”, which was repeated in 1975. In 1975, the name was changed to the International Conference on Metallurgical Coatings (ICMC). At the 1974 conference, Ron Bunshah, chair of the Vacuum Metallurgy Division and chair of the conference, remarked that the conference was “conceived and proposed as an experiment to see if one can put on a somewhat common footing the large amount of information that has been developed on this topic using several different technologies to produce the coatings.” Bunshah recalled that the title of the 1974 conference was proposed by John Thornton to avoid any conflict with the Thin Film Division. Later, these first two conferences were retroactively counted as ICMC-1 and ICMC-2, based upon the numbering of the later conferences. The ICMC flourished, and the conference grew in size from just 31 papers at the first conference to 6600 papers at ICMC-30.

In 1990, the ICMC was held in conjunction with the International Conference on Thin Films (ICTF), and the combination worked so well that in 1991, under the chairmanship of Bruce Sartwell, the name of the ICMC was changed into International Conference on Metallurgical Coatings and Thin Films (ICMCTF), as proposed by Joe Greene. The General Chair alternated between the TFD and the VMD and the surplus was divided between the two divisions. After ICMCTF-1, a check for $12,000 was officially presented to the TFD Chair, Terry Bright, by Bruce Sartwell at the National Symposium in Seattle. The conference was co-organized with TFD from 1991 till 1999. ICMCTF continues to do very well, and it is the second largest annual meeting within the AVS, with only the annual AVS meeting being larger. More details on the number of papers and the exhibits are given in Conferences and Downloads.

At the 10th ICMC in San Diego, in 1983, Ron Bunshah was presented with a plaque as the “Founder and First Chairman of ICMC”. He served as the Program Chair and as the General Chair for many of the conferences up to that point.

The VMD also sponsored or co-sponsored other related conferences. For example, it supported the TFD’s first “Topical Conference on Sputtering” which was held in San Diego on the Sunday before the 11th ICMC in 1984. In 1985, it co-sponsored with TFD a workshop-style “Symposium on Physics and Chemistry of Protective Coatings”, at the Sheraton Universal in Los Angeles.

Through the 1970s and 1980s, the Vacuum Metallurgy Division had two main components – the melters and the coaters. The melters held their International Conference on Vacuum Metallurgy at 3-year intervals, and the coaters held their annual ICMC meeting. As the division entered the 1990s, it became apparent that changes were taking place. Vacuum metallurgy was a mature technology, and the interest in the subject was dwindling. On the coating side, the concept of surface engineering was taking hold. The melters changed their format for their meeting to emphasize computer modeling of the melting process, and they now hold a biannual meeting on this subject.

The ASED now sponsors the ICMC annually and a small melter’s modeling conference every other year. Although the VMD/ASED has held its own meetings, the division has contributed to the annual AVS meeting encouraging the synergism that is a key part of these meetings. The division has been part of the annual Symposium continuously since 1992. The General Chair and Program Chair for the ICMC (ICMCTF) are listed below for the years 1974-2012.

The ICMC(TF) conferences:
Year Conference Name General Chair Program Chair
1974 1st ICMC (a) R. F Bunshah (1)
1975 2nd ICMC (a) (S.F.) R. F Bunshah (2)
1976 3rd ICMC (S.F.) R. F Bunshah (3)
1977 4th ICMC (S.F.) R. F Bunshah (4)
1978 5th ICMC (L.A.) R. F Bunshah (5)
1979 6th ICMC (*) R. F Bunshah (6)
1980 7th ICMC R. F Bunshah (7)
1981 8th ICMC R. F Bunshah (8) D. H. Boone
1982 9th ICMC R. F Bunshah (9) H. A. Beale
1983 10th ICMC R. F Bunshah (10) H. A. Beale
1984 11th ICMC H. A. Beale (1) W. Class
1985 12th ICMC H. A. Beale (2) H. A. Beale
1986 13th ICMC H. A. Beale (3) B. D. Sartwell
1987 14th ICMC W. D. Sproul (1) W. D. Sproul
1988 15th ICMC W. D. Sproul (2) D. Quinto
1989 16th ICMC B. D. Sartwell (1) G. McGuire
1990 17th ICMC (**) W. D. Sproul (3) S. Rossnagel
1991 18th ICMCTF B. D. Sartwell (2) B. D. Sartwell
1992 19th ICMCTF S. V. Krishnaswamy G. Exarhos
1993 20th ICMCTF G. J. Exarhos D. McIntyre
1994 21st ICMCTF D. C. McIntyre (1) R. Tucker
1995 22nd ICMCTF R. Tucker R. Hoffman
1996 23rd ICMCTF R. Hoffman R. Hillery
1997 24th ICMCTF R. Hillery F. Urban
1998 25th ICMCTF D. McIntyre (2) I. Petrov
1999 26th ICMCTF I. Petrov J. Zabinski
2000 27th ICMCTF J. Zabinski A. Matthews
2001 28th ICMCTF A. Matthews G. Exarhos
2002 29th ICMCTF G. Exarhos A. Stewart
2003 30th ICMCTF A. Stewart L. Hultman
2004 31st ICMCTF L. Hultman B. Holloway
2005 32nd ICMCTF B. Holloway C. Mitterer (1)
2006 33rd ICMCTF C. Mitterer (1) A. Voevodin
2007 34th ICMCTF A. Voevodin J. Schneider
2008 35th ICMCTF J. Schneider J. Patscheider
2009 36th ICMCTF J. Patscheider K. Wahl
2010 37th ICMCTF K. Wahl S. Bull
2011 38th ICMCTF S. Bull A. Erdemir
2012 39th ICMCTF A. Erdemir P. H. Mayrhofer
2013 40th ICMCTF P. H. Mayrhofer Y.-W. Chung (1)
2014 41st ICMCTF Y.-W. Chung (1) C. Rebholz
2015 42nd ICMCTF C. Rebholz S. Kodambaka
2016 43rd ICMCTF S. Kodambaka C. Mitterer (2)
2017 44th ICMCTF C. Mitterer (2) Y.-W. Chung (2)
2018 45th ICMCTF Y.-W. Chung (2) M. Stüber
2019 46th ICMCTF M. Stüber C. Muratore
2020 47th ICMCTF
cancelled (COVID)
C. Muratore G. Greczynski
2021 47th ICMCTF (virtual) C. Muratore G. Greczynski
S. Aouadi (vice-Chair)
2022 48th ICMCTF G. Greczynski S. Aouadi
2023 49th ICMCTF S. Aouadi J.-W. Lee
2024 50th ICMCTF J.-W. Lee J. Rosen
2025 51st ICMCTF J. Rosen P. Kelly
a Conference on Structure/Property Relationships in Thick Films and Bulk Coating
S.F. Conference in San Francisco
L.A. Conference in Los Angeles
* Held in conjunction with International Conference on Special Melting and Casting
** Held in conjunction with the 8th International Conference on Thin Films (ICTF-8)

From 1983 to 2006, the Division presented the R F Bunshah award for the best paper presented and published at a conference. The first award, which consisted of a commemorative coin in a suitable display holder and a $500 cash award, was given for the best paper at the 1983 ICMC; it was presented during the 1984 ICMC.

In 2007 the new R. F. Bunshah Award and ICMCTF Lecture was established, named after the founder of the ICMCTF, which recognizes outstanding research or technological innovation in the areas of interest to the Advanced Surface Engineering Division (ASED) of the AVS, with emphasis on the fields of surface engineering, thin films, and related topics.

In 2007 also the first ICMCTF Graduate Student Awards were given to outstanding graduate students in fields of interest to the Advanced Surface Engineering Division (ASED) of the AVS.

In 2020 the Bill Sproul Award and Honorary ICMCTF Lecture was established, recognizing achievements of mid-career researchers who made outstanding scientific and/or technological contributions in areas of interest to the Advanced Surface Engineering Division (ASED) of the AVS.

In 2020 also the first ASED Young Investigator Award was given to outstanding participation and research based on presentations in ASED program sessions at the AVS International Symposium.