Obituary: Alan Lawley, distinguished PM industry professor


Alan Lawley, Emeritus Professor, Drexel University, died October 17 at the age of 84. A long-time friend and supporter of PM technology and the industry, Lawley made significant contributions to research and development in PM and particulate materials and guided the professional development of undergrad and graduate PM students, many of whom are working in the industry today.

Lawley received BSc, Physical Metallurgy and PhD, Metallurgy degrees from the University of Birmingham in the U.K. He had worked at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Metallurgical Engineering (Post-Doctoral Fellow) and at the Franklin Institute’s Solid State Research Laboratory. He joined Drexel University in 1968 where he initiated a PM program. Over the years, his PM teachings, research, and consulting activities affected the academic world, industry companies, and national laboratories as well as federal government and state agencies. While at Drexel, he was appointed Department Head/Materials Engineering and the A.W. Grosvenor Professor of Metallurgy. Hoeganaes Corporation, Cinnaminson, New Jersey, endowed a professorship in PM at Drexel where two dedicated PM laboratories were established. Lawley published more than 300 articles in archival journals, conference proceedings, and books — more than 200 of which embrace PM and particulate materials.

He was named editor-in-chief of APMI International’s International Journal of Powder Metallurgy in 1985 and served in this capacity until 2015. Lawley was co-chairman of the 1993 International Conference on Powder Metallurgy & Particulate Materials (Nashville), co-chaired the MPIF/APMI PM2008 World Congress (Washington, DC), and was a long-time member of the MPIF Technical Board. A recipient of numerous professional and societal awards, Lawley was among the first class of Fellows of APMI International (1998). Additionally, he served on APMI’s Panel of Fellows, Awards Committee and Publications Committee. He received the MPIF Distinguished Service Award in 1991.

Lawley’s distinguished career in the powder metallurgy industry was recognized in 2012 when he received MPIF’s Kempton H. Roll PM Lifetime Achievement Award.