Site: Osaka University Dept. of Materials Science and Processing Yamadoaki 2-1 Suita-shi 565, Japan Tel: (06) 879-7473; Fax: (06) 879-7474 Date Visited: January 12, 1996 WTEC Attendees: M.C. Flemings (report author), P.H. Mikkola, C. Uyehara Hosts: Dr. Itsuo Ohnaka, Professor, Dept. of Materials Science & Processing Dr. Yasuda, Associate Professor (joined us for lunch only)
Prof. Ohnaka is a leading foundry professor in Japan from the standpoint of intellectual and organizational leadership. He is currently the chairman of the Kansai Chapter of the Japan Foundry Engineering Society (JFES) and is a leading player in a number of international organizations relating to foundry and more broadly to materials science and to university management and organization. He is currently playing a major role in the reorganization of Osaka University.
Prof. Ohnaka confirmed and elaborated on a number of items discussed by Prof. Umeda and reported in the University of Tokyo trip report. JFES comprises some 3,300 members with only four or five staff members. The research committees of JFES are, for the most part, informational gathering committees with funding for some small activities (on the order of $10,000/year each). In addition there are foundry research activities in universities, notably at Osaka University, the University of Tokyo, Tohoku University, and Nagoya University.
A limited amount of research is conducted in government laboratories. The major center is the National Industrial Research Institute of Nagoya with foundry engineering activities led by Dr. Kondo. Notable areas of research, being carried out under the title "supermetals," include work on amorphous metals and intermetallic compounds. Research is underway on reactive synthesis -- rapid melting through chemical reaction and subsequent pouring with vacuum assist.
Prof. Ohnaka commented that support for foundry research is generally not looked upon favorably by government agencies. This attitude, combined with a general decrease in laboratory teaching in universities is resulting in decreasing contact between students and foundry and foundry-related activities.