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Wencai Zhang appointed assistant professor in the department mining and minerals engineering

Wencai Zhang
Wencai Zhang

Wencai Zhang has been appointed assistant professor in the Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.

Zhang joins the department after having served as a post-doctoral research associate and assistant research professor at the University of Kentucky. Zhang brings research expertise in rare metal extraction and purification, flotation, surface chemistry, mineral processing, coal preparation, and hydrometallurgy.

“For the last five years I have been working on rare earth elements recovery from coal,” said Zhang. “My proposed work in rare earths can lay a solid foundation for the future of clean energy industries while providing a safer and more reliable supply of rare earths for the United States.”

At Virginia Tech, Zhang will continue to work on research projects in rare earth element recovery and flotation chemistry. In addition, Zhang will be working with colleagues on topics in critical material recovery from waste materials and advanced material preparation. Zhang also teaches two classes, Mineral Processing and Materials Handling and Power Systems.

Zhang earned a bachelor’s degree in mineral processing engineering from the Shandong University of Science and Technology, a master’s degree in mineral processing engineering from Central South University, and a doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky.