The UK’s Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) has named Dr Leo Prakash the recipient of its 2019 Ivor Jenkins Medal, posthumously. The annual award is presented to individuals in recognition of a significant contribution that has enhanced the scientific, industrial or technological understanding of materials processing or component production using Powder Metallurgy and particulate materials.
Dr Prakash, who passed away aged sixty-nine in February 2019, was a renowned authority in the field of cemented carbides and other hard materials. His pioneering work in the late 1970s and early 1980s on iron-based binders for hardmetals led to the commercialisation of several alternatives to pure cobalt and laid the foundation for the wave of recent research into and development of low cobalt and cobalt-free hardmetals, an important topic considering the status of cobalt as a critical raw material as well as the current strict classification issues.
From the mid-late 1980s and into the 1990s, his fundamental studies into the mechanisms of grain growth inhibition and sintering of the very finest grained tungsten carbide hardmetals at the time were also of great significance for the industry, as were his studies of material properties and performance in both laboratory tests and practical applications.
For the last ten years, Dr Prakash was Co-chairman of EuroHM, the European hard materials group within the European Powder Metallurgy Association (EPMA). He authored or co-authored over forty publications in international journals, conferences and textbooks.