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Prof Natasha Sacks

Inaugural lecture:

November 4, 2021 @ 17:3018:30

Advancing Materials Science and Manufacturing

Each industrial revolution has transformed economies with the creation of innovative technologies, many of which were centred on advancing manufacturing and the development of materials. In this presentation I will share my journey of how materials and manufacturing became the essence of my academic career and hopefully show you why I remain excited about advancing research in this field. A review of our contributions specifically in the field of cemented tungsten carbides, or hardmetals, as they are more commonly known, is done, as this is the material which has featured predominantly throughout our research. The manufacturing technologies investigated from conventional to rapid prototyping, and the material property characterisations done to understand, create, recycle, re-design and improve materials, will be highlighted. The exploration of sustainable manufacturing by taking cognizance of the environmental and societal impact of existing manufacturing practices will be shared. With the increasing advancement of materials science and manufacturing technologies comes the awareness of the importance of education, skills development, industry readiness, opportunities, sustainability and the overall global trend of moving towards a circular economy.


Short biography

Natasha Sacks is a professor of advanced manufacturing at Stellenbosch University. Prior to this she was an Associate Professor in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering at Wits University. Her PhD in Materials Engineering is from Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen, Germany, while her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Materials Science and Engineering are from the University of Cape Town. Her research themes include powder metallurgy, materials design and development, coating technology, recycling, tribology, additive and subtractive manufacturing. Since 2008, Natasha has been the leader of the Carbides and Cermets Research Group within the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials and she is an editorial board member of the International Journal of Refractory Metals and Hard Materials. She has served thrice on the Technical and Scientific Program Committees and as Session Chairperson for the International Conference on Tungsten, Refractory and Hard Materials held in the USA every three years, and the International Conference on the Science of Hard Materials held every four years. Furthermore, she has served as an adjudicator for the annual UNESCO-L’Oréal for Women in Science Fellowships for Sub-Saharan Africa 2009-2016, published more than 80 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings and supervised 40+ postgraduate students. She is also a member of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers.

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November 4, 2021

Organizer (event)

Amira Brown


Reitz Hall, Engineering Faculty
156 Banghoek Road, Stellenbosch Central
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7605 South Africa
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