Thomas Invested as C. J. Gauthier Professor


By Kathryn L. Heine


Brian G. Thomas

MechSE Professor Brian G. Thomas was invested as the C. J. Gauthier Professor in Mechanical Science and Engineering. His research in the continuous casting of steel has advanced the state of knowledge about the way product defects form, how processing can minimize such defects, how quality can be monitored and diagnosed, and how the continuous steel casting process can be controlled. He effectively combined computational modeling research on continuous casting validated by comparing the results with plant measurements. His models have since gained widespread acceptance in the steel industry.


Thomas received his D.E.C. degree in Pure and Applied Science from John Abbot College in 1976, his B. Eng. from McGill University in 1979, and his Ph.D. in metallurgical process engineering from the University of British Columbia in 1985. After joining the former Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering as an assistant professor in 1985, he rose through the ranks to full professor in 1998. During his 24 years as a faculty member at Illinois, his work has earned 13 best paper awards from some of the top professional societies in the materials area, including three Robert W. Hunt Silver Medals from the Iron and Steel Society. In 1988, he established an industrial consortium, the Continuous Casting Consortium, which immediately attracted support from giants of the industry, including ARMCO Steel, Inland Steel, BHP Steel of Australia, Kowasaki Steel of Japan, CSM of Italy and many others. Since 1998, he has been a co-instructor and has become the technical leader of the Brimacombe Continuous Casting Short Course, the only week-long course on continuous casting worldwide. The course is annually attended by approximately 150 industry practitioners from around the world.

The author of more than 200 articles and holder of two patents, he was named the Lillian B. Wilkins Professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering in 2003. He is a Baosteel Honorary Professor, an adjunct professor for the Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology at Pohang University of Science and Technology in Korea, Vice President of the J.K. Brimacombe Society, and an editorial board member for several influential journals in his field. He received the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society's MPMD Distinguished Engineer Award in 2008, and a Xerox Award for Faculty Research in 1991. He will give the Howe Memorial Lecture at the Association for Iron and Steel Technology in 2009.