Dr. Jerry Downey, Ph.D., P.E.
Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering
Montana Tech Research Thrust: Natural Resource Extraction, Waste Management
Dr. Downey is the Goldcorp Professor of Extractive Metallurgy at Montana Tech, where he also serves as the campus Director of the Montana University System Materials Science Ph.D. program. Dr. Downey earned his Ph.D. in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at Colorado School of Mines and his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Metallurgical Engineering at Montana Tech.
Dr. Downey is a registered professional engineer with active licenses in Colorado and Montana. His 40+ years of professional experience includes industrial operations, applied process research and development, and corporate management. His technical expertise includes chemical and metallurgical thermodynamics, thermal processing, materials synthesis and processing, and hazardous materials treatment.
Ph.D., Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
|M.S., Metallurgical Engineering, Montana Tech
Thesis: Elemental Distribution of Lime-Roasted Flue Dusts in a Copper Matte-Slag System
B.S., Metallurgical Engineering, Montana Tech
Registered Professional Engineer (Chemical Engineering), Colorado Lic. 28329 and Montana Lic. 5381.
- EMET 194 Freshman Seminar S 2007-08
- EGEN 213 Intro to Metallurgical and Materials Engineering S 2006, F 2006-10
- EMET 307 Thermodynamics S 2006-16, 18
- EMET 402 Elevated Temperature Process Systems F 2006-13, 16
- EMET 405* Aqueous & Elevated Temp Process Systems Lab F 2011-14
- M&ME 423/523 Multicomponent Phase Diagrams S 2008, 10
- EMAT 441 Metallurgical & Materials Flow Sheet Design S 2009
- EMAT 451 Process Instrumentation and Control S 2006-13
- EMAT 471 Materials Analysis and Characterization S 2007
- EMET 489 Senior Design I F 2006, 08, 11-17
- EMET 499W Senior Design II S 2007, 09, 12-18
- EMET 494W Senior Seminar F 2007, 16-17
- EMET 420/520 Physical Chemistry of Iron and Steelmaking F 2008-10, 13; S 2012 Summer 2013
- EMAT 523 Advanced Thermodynamics F 2011, 13-17
- EMET 595 Special Topics/Recycling of Metals and Materials F 2006, 08
- EMET 595 Special Topics/Process Development F 2007
- EMET 595 Special Topics/Advanced Thermodynamics S 2009
- EMET 595 Special Topics/Advanced Pyroprocessing F 2009-10, 12, 17
- EMAT 597/530* Energy Issues and Analysis S 2010-14, 16
- MTSI 500 Survey of Materials Science & Engineering (Seminar) F&S 2014-2018
- MTSI 502* Adv. Materials Science II – Function & Application S 2018
- MTSI 511 Thermodynamics of Materials F 2014-17 *co-instructor
2015-Present Professor (tenured), Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Montana Tech
2013-Present Campus Director, Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Program
2009-2015 Associate Professor, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Montana Tech
2006-2009 Assistant Professor, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Montana Tech
High temperature process research is the cornerstone of my research program. Current and recent projects involve synthesis of carbide ceramics, vapor transport of rare earth element halogens, and the enhancement of copper and silver extraction from flotation concentrate. Other recent research focused on the study of fundamental properties of ionic melts such as slags and molten salts.
Energy and related environmental considerations provide impetus for much of my research. My approach has been to develop ways to recover recyclable commodities and/or energy in addition to destroying or stabilizing hazardous waste components. Examples include thermal processes that recover gas or liquid fuels from municipal solid waste, automobile shredder residue, tires, and various polymer wastes. I also investigate methods for recovering metal from electronic scrap, spent catalyst, geothermal brine, organometallic, and other forms of industrial waste.
I also have an active research interest in aqueous processing applications, including hydrometallurgy, corrosion, and wastewater treatment. One of my current projects relates to the development of a novel continuous flow ion exchange system for capturing metal ions from very dilute wastewater sources such as acid rock drainage.
My primary expertise lies in high temperature process research. Current and recent projects within my research group involve the synthesis of carbide ceramics, vapor transport of rare earth element halogens, and the enhancement of copper and silver extraction from flotation concentrate. Additionally, we conduct research on the fundamental properties of ionic melts such as slags, glasses, and molten salts.
Energy and environmental considerations serve as the motivation for much of our research. We focus on finding ways to recover recyclable commodities and/or energy while also addressing the disposal of hazardous waste components. For example, the development of thermal methods to extract gas or liquid fuels from municipal solid waste, automobile shredder residue, tires, and various polymer wastes, and methods for recovering metals from electronic scrap, spent catalysts, geothermal brine, and other forms of industrial waste.
Aqueous processing applications, including hydrometallurgy, corrosion, and wastewater treatment, are also areas of active research interest. An ongoing project in my research group involves the development of a novel continuous flow material recovery system that uses natural or synthetic nanomaterials to capture metal ions from dilute waste water sources, such as acid rock drainage, contaminated stream and river waters, pit lakes, or industrial effluent.
- Development of an Experimentally Derived Model for Molybdenum Carbide (Mo2C) Synthesis in a Fluidized-Bed Reactor. Advances in Powder and Ceramic Materials Science. Springer, Cham, pp 17–25.
- Water Treatment Method for Removal of Select Heavy Metals and Nutrient Ions through Adsorption by Magnetite, ACS ES&T Water, 2022, https://doi.org/10.1021/acsestwater.2c00242.
- On the Sintering Behavior of Nb2O5 and Ta2O5 Mixed Oxide Powders, Materials 2022, 15, 5036. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15145036
- Thermal Analysis of Potential High Entropy Alloy Binder Alternatives for Tungsten Carbide, The 12th International Symposium on High Temperature Metallurgical Processing, The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society, TMS Springer 2022, 175-183.
- Evaluation of Processing Parameters for the Production of Tungsten Carbide in a Fluidized Bed Reactor, The 12th International Symposium on High Temperature Metallurgical Processing, The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society, TMS Springer 2022, 393-401.
- High Purity Silicon-Containing Products and Method of Manufacture, U.S. Patent 8,470,279 (2013)
- A Method for Reducing Lead Leaching in Fixtures, U.S. Patent 5,904,783 (1999)
- Pyrometallurgical Process for Forming Tungsten Carbide, U.S. Patent 5,882,620 (1999)
- Process for Stabilization of Arsenic, U.S. Patent 5,762,891 (1998)
- Apparatus and Method for Inhibiting the Leaching of Lead in Water, U.S. Patents 5,544,859,
5,632,825, and 6,013,382 (1996, 1997, and 2000, respectively)
- Process for Reducing Lead Leachate in Brass Plumbing Fixtures, U.S. Patent 5,454,876 (1995)
- Sequential Flotation of Sulfide Ores, U.S. Patent 4,460,459 (1982)
Montana Tech Distinguished Researcher Award (2016)
Montana Tech Faculty Merit Award (2013, 2016)
Executive Editor, International Journal of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering (2015 – present)
Goldcorp Professorship (2009 – present)
Hazen Research Professor of Extractive Metallurgy (2014)
Academic Fellow, Center for Advanced Mineral Processing, (2006)
Montana Tech Alumni Recognition Award (1996)
Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP) Advisory Board, 2008-2013, 2018-present
Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME), 1977-present
American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), 1992–present
Montana Tech Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department Industrial Advisory Board, 2001-05
Industrial Advisory Board for the Center for Micro-engineered Materials, University of New Mexico and Rutgers University, 1999–2002
Montana Tech Alumni Association 1977-present; served on Board of Directors, 1981-82
- Caring for rescue animals
- Tormenting graduate students