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Ekeberg Prize 2019 - Winner

  Nicolas Soro, winner of the 2019 Anders Gustaf Ekeberg Tantalum Prize (Photo: N.Soro)

The Anders Gustaf Ekeberg Tantalum Prize (‘Ekeberg Prize’), awarded annually for outstanding contribution to the advancement of the knowledge and understanding of the metallic element tantalum (Ta), has been awarded to Nicolas Soro and his co-authors for the paper ‘Evaluation of the mechanical compatibility of additively manufactured porous Ti–25Ta alloy for load-bearing implant applications’.

Announcing the 2019 Ekeberg Prize winner, the independent judging panel stated that in choosing this paper, the panelists took into consideration that the ‘advancement of knowledge and understanding of tantalum’ should not be restricted to the scientific and research community but also benefit the general public. The application of tantalum containing load-bearing implants, that can significantly improve the quality of life of recipients, was considered to have the greatest potential of all the submissions to enhance the reputation and recognition of the tantalum industry to the public.

Nicolas Soro is studying for his PhD in 'Additive Manufacturing of Porous Metals for Biomedical Applications' within the group of Professor Matthew Dargusch at the Centre for Advanced Materials Processing and Manufacturing of The University of Queensland, Australia (http://ampam.mechmining.uq.edu.au/).

On learning of his award, Mr Soro said that he and his colleagues were honoured to receive this prize and pleased to contribute to the field. He explained that the unique set of properties found in tantalum has made it a very attractive biomaterial which has offered new opportunities for biomedical devices and it is an exciting time to be part of this fast-growing environment. “Using 3D-printing technologies, we can tailor the mechanical properties of the biomaterial to those of bones with lattice architectures. The excellent biocompatibility and corrosion resistance of tantalum make it an ideal candidate for the biomedical industry”, Mr Soro said. 

The winning paper analysed the properties of solid and lattice structures made of Ti–25Ta alloy (Photo: N.Soro)  

The panel wishes to congratulate all entrants whose papers are challenging the boundaries of current knowledge of tantalum, and which may well lead to significant breakthroughs into exciting new applications of the element.

The complete list of authors of the winning paper is Nicolas Soro, Hooyar Attar, Martin Veidt and Matthew Dargusch from the Centre for Advanced Materials Processing and Manufacturing (AMPAM) at The University of Queensland, Australia, and Erin Brodie and Andrey Molotnikov from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Monash University, Australia. The full paper is available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1751616119303686?via%3Dihub

The award is administered by the Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center (T.I.C.), the global trade body representing the tantalum and niobium industry.

The prize and award ceremony

The medal for the 2019 Ekeberg Prize was manufactured from pure tantalum metal by the Kazakhstan Mint and was awarded at the T.I.C.’s annual conference, the 60th General Assembly, held in Hong Kong, on October 13th to 16th 2019. The T.I.C.’s conference is the largest annual gathering of tantalum and niobium industry leaders, with delegates from every sector of the global industry.  

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