College of Engineering

Research Area(s)

  • Advanced nuclear materials and accident tolerant nuclear fuel ATF)
  • Generation and storage of hydrogen
  • Pipeline steels for oil and gas transport
  • Corrosion protection
  • Coatings zinc and polymer based
  • Advanced thermal barrier coatings
  • Failure of metals in environment of service
  • Ab-initio/MD simulation and prediction of structure and properties of metals and ceramic compounds
  • Synchrotron techniques in electronic structure analysis

Research Group(s)

Materials Science and Metallurgy


Education and Experience


2009-             Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of  Saskatchewan,                           Saskatoon, Canada            

1986-09          Professor, Department of Mining and Materials Engineering, McGill University,                              Montreal, Canada

2008-             Visting Professor, Department of Materials Science, Osaka University, Japan                                 (two months)                      

1999-              Visting Professor, School of Materials Science, Seoul National University, Seoul,                         Korea (one year).

1995               Visiting Professor, Department of Machine Intelligence and System Engineering, Tohoku University, Sondai, Japan (tree months)

1995               Visiting Researchers Ontario Hydro Technologies, Toronto (3 months)

1995               Visiting Professor, Department of Physics, Queen's University (3 months)

1986-99          Associate Professor, Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.  (Tenure from June 1, 1990).

1985-86           Research Associate, Department of Physics, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada.

1979-84           Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Nuclear Techniques, Academy of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, Cracow, Poland.

1982-84           Visiting Professor, Physics Department, Durham University, UK.

1981-82           Visiting Professor, Department of Materials Science, Sussex University, UK.

1980                 Adviser to the International Atomic Energy Agency in the Nuclear Research Centre, Bandung, Indonesia.

1977                 Visiting Research Fellow, National Laboratory, Riso, Denmark.

1975                 Visiting Research Fellow, National Laboratory, Riso, Denmark.

1970-72           Visiting Research Fellow, Reactor Laboratory, Finish Academy of Science, Helsinki, Finland.

1966-79           Research Assistant, Senior Teaching Assistant, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Nuclear Techniques, Academy of Mining and Metallurgy, Cracow, Poland.

1966-69           Graduate Student, Solid State Physics Group, Institut of Physics and Nuclear Techniques, Cracow, Poland.

1965                 Research Assistant, Institute of Nuclear Research, Warshaw, Poland


J.A. Szpunar joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan in August 2009, coming from McGill University where he was Professor of Materials Science and Birks Chair in Metallurgy. His research interests extend to various areas of materials related investigations. In  particular he has longstanding interests in deformation and recrystallization processes in metals; in structure and properties of thin films; in electronic interconnects; in high temperature oxidation and corrosion; in synergy of wear, erosion and corrosion; in the  applications of X-ray and neutron diffraction techniques to structure of grain boundaries and other interfaces; in hydrogen ingress into nuclear materials; in intergranular fractures; in fatigue and failure; and in superplasticity and other special properties of  nanocrystalline materials. 

More recently his research has focused on environmentally friendly energy generation, in particular the extraction and purification of hydrogen, and research on materials used in Candu reactors and Generation IV nuclear reactors. This CRC proposal would create a Canadian Center of innovative research in selected areas of materials development and testing, along with novel techniques to support clean energy programs. The proposed CRC program will also include research on more safe and secure methods and materials for oil and gas transportation.

Dr Szpunar has a remarkable record of research productivity. During his 22 years at McGill, 27 PhD students and 15 MEng students graduated under his supervision, and an additional 5 PhD projects are currently close to completion. He was a leader of 49 major research projects ? mostly materials related investigations. The results of his research are presented in 582 research papers (350 in refereed journals papers and 232 in refereed proceedings and as non-refereed publications). During his time at McGill he founded the ?Textures & Microstructure Laboratory?, now recognized as a leading world center of microstructural research. Dr. Szpunar?s record of research contributions demonstrates his ability and readiness to undertake those upcoming challenges successfully and with continued high productivity.


1. Novel experimental methods for investigation of texture:

At an early stage of his academic carrier Dr Szpunar proposed and developed a new neutron diffraction method for texture and stress investigation in metal sheets and other materials. He also proposed and implemented the application of neutron TOF method for texture investigation . These methods are now used in almost all nuclear research centers throughout the world. The methods were described in an extensive review (a) prepared for the International Atomic Energy Commission and distributed in all nuclear research centers associated with this agency.

The Nominee proposed also the  application of energy dispersive diffraction to  texture studies (b) and for the first time demonstrated this application.

(a) J. Szpunar, Texture and Neutron Diffraction, Atomic Energy Rev. 14, 2 (1976), pp. 199-261 (b) L. Gerward and J. Szpunar, Texture Measurements Using Energy Dispersive X-ray Diffraction Method, Acta Cryst. A34 (1978), pp. 309-311.

2. Modeling and simulation of texture and microstructure:

Dr. Szpunar pioneered the application of Pot?s methods of microstructure description for simulation of microstructural and textural evolution during annealing and electro-deposition processes.  In particular he proposed new models of texture transformation during nucleation, recrystallization and  normal or abnormal grain growth in industrial manufacturing processes. These models supported by experiments offered innovative approached towards fundamental understanding of microstructure and  texture  transformation of  steels  and  aluminium alloys during annealing processes.  The results obtained were presented in 10 Acta Materialia papers.  Some of the  concepts  developed  in this research were used  to propose improvement of the process of manufacturing magnetic  steels by Kawasaki Steel (Japan) and  Posco  (Korea).

(a) Ph. Tavernier and J.A. Szpunar, A Monte Carlo Simulation Applied to the Modelling of Nucleation of Texture, Acta Metall. 39 (1991), pp. 557-567.(b) Ph. Tavernier and J.A. Szpunar, Modelling of Recrystallization Textures, Acta Metall. 39 (1991), pp. 549-556.(c) D. Hinz and J.A. Szpunar, Modelling the Effect of Coincidence Site Lattice Boundaries on Grain Growth Texture, Phys Rev B, 52 (1995), pp. 9900-9909.(d) N. Rajmohan, Y. Hayakawa, J.A. Szpunar and J.H. Root, Neutron Diffraction Method for Stored Energy Measurement in Interstitial Free Steel, Acta Materialia, 45 (1997), pp. 2585-2494.(e)Y. Hayakawa and J.A. Szpunar, Comprehensive Model of Recrystallization for Interstitial Free Steel, Acta Materialia, 45:9 (1997), pp. 3721-3730.(f) Y. Hayakawa and J.A. Szpunar, A New Model of Goss Texture Development during Secondary Recrystallization of Electrical Steel, Acta Materialia, 45:11 (1997), pp. 4713-4720. (g) Y. Hayakawa and J.A. Szpunar, A Role of Grain Boundary Character Distribution in Secondary Recrystallization of Electrical Steel, Acta Materialia, 45 (1997), pp. 1285-1295. (h) N. Rajmohan, J.A. Szpunar and Y. Hayakawa, Importance of Fractions of Highly Mobile Boundaries in Abnormal Growth of Goss Grains, Materials Sci and Eng, A259 (1999), pp. 8-16. (i) Hayakawa, M. Muraki and J.A. Szpunar, The Changes of Grain Boundary Character Distribution during the Secondary Recrystallization of Electrical Steel, Acta Mater, 46:3 (1998), pp. 1063-1073. (j) Rajmohan and J.A. Szpunar, A New Model for Recrystallization of Heavily Cold Rolled Aluminum Using Orientation Dependent Stored Energy, Acta Materialia, 48 (2000), pp. 3327-3340.  

3. Magnetism and crystallographic texture:

Methods were developed that allowed explanation of texture influence on the magnetic properties of various hard and soft magnetic materials and perpendicular magnetic recording media. Also, a unique method was proposed to obtain from the neutron diffraction pole figure measurements the information about the distribution of magnetic moments in polycrystalline textured materials.  This was the first time that such a distribution was obtained.  This research was published in (e) Phys. Rev B. Development of the method for magnetic texture study might have important impact via better understanding of the magnetization processes in textured soft and hard magnetic materials. Various other innovative  methods were  developed by the applicant leading  to a  better understanding of correlation  between texture  and  magnetic properties., Some papers related to these problems are listed below :

(a) M. Birsan and J.A. Szpunar, Anisotropy of Power losses in Textured Soft Magnetic Materials, Journal of Applied Physics, 80 (1996), pp. 6915-6919. (b) M. Birsan and J.A. Szpunar, Barkhausen noise power ‑ power losses correlation in grain oriented 3% Si‑Fe, Journal of Applied Physics, 79 (1996), pp. 1‑5. (c) M. Birsan and J.A. Szpunar, The Influence of Texture on Domain Wall Spacing in Grain Oriented Materials, Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, 164 (1996) pp. 300-304. (d) M. Birsan, J.A. Szpunar, T.W. Krause and D.L. Atherton, Magnetic Barkhausen Noise Study of Domain Wall Dynamics in Grain Oriented 3% Si-Fe, EEEA Trans. on Magnetics, 32 (1996), pp. 527‑535.(e) M. Birsan, J.A. Szpunar, Z. Tun and J. Root, Magnetic Texture Determination Using Non‑Polarized Neutron Diffraction, Physical Review B, 53 (1996), pp. 53‑58. (f) Cheng-Zhang Li, J.C. Lodder and J.A. Szpunar, Magnetic Properties in Co-Cr Thin Films, Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, 131 (1994), pp. 427-439.(g) Cheng-Zhang Li, J.C. Lodder and J.A. Szpunar, The Development of Texture in Co-Cr Films, IEEE Trans. on Magnetics, 30 (1994), pp. 1373-1379.(h) M. Birsan and J.A. Szpunar, Reversible Magnetization Rotation in Grain Oriented 3% Si-Fe, Journal of Applied Physics, 78 (1995), pp.3293-3298.(i) P. Blandford and J.A. Szpunar, The Effect of Textural Through-Thickness Inhomogeneity on the Prediction of the Anisotropy of Magnetocrystalline Energy in Fe-Si Steels, IEEE Trans. on Magnetics, 17 (1991), pp. 742-749. (j) J.A. Szpunar, Anisotropy of Magnetic Properties in Textured Metals, Textures and Microstructures 11 (1989), pp. 93-105.(k) P. Blandford and J.A. Szpunar, On-line Measurements for the Prediction of the Anisotropy

4. Development of methods for improvement of high temperature oxidation resistance:

A new method based on a control of surface texture and application of reactive element coatings was applied to nickel and some nickel alloys. It was shown that the proposed method can improve the oxidation resistance by two orders of magnitude. The model of oxidation control was verified experimentally.  Research on this subject was described in 22 research papers, including:

(a) F. Czerwinski, A. Zielinska-Lipiec and J.A. Szpunar, Thermal Instability of Ni Electrodeposits Applied in Replication of Optical Recording Devices, Acta Materialia, 47, (1999), pp. 2553-2566. (b) F. Czerwinski and J.A. Szpunar, Controlling the Surface Texture of Nickel for High Temperature Oxidation Inhibition, Corrosion Science  41 (1999) pp.729-740. (c) F. Czerwinski and J.A. Szpunar, The Influence of Crystallographic Orientation of Nickel Surface on Oxidation Inhibition by Ceria Coatings, Acta Mater, 46 (1998), pp. 1403-1417. (d) F. Czerwinski, G. Palumbo and J.A. Szpunar, Textures of Oxide Films Grown on Nickel Electrodeposits, Scripta Mater, 39 (1998), pp. 1359-1364. (e) F. Czerwinski, A. Brodtka, J.Y. Cho, A. Zielinska-Lipiec, J.H. Sunwoo and J.A. Szpunar, A Role of Delta Ferrite in Edge-Crack Formation during Hot-Rolling of Austenitic Stainless Steels, Scripta Materialia, 37 (1997), No. 8, pp. 1231-1235. (f) F. Czerwinski and J.A. Szpunar, The Nanocrystalline Ceria Sol-Gel Coatings for High Temperature Applications, Journal bof Sol-Gel Science and Technology, 9 (1997), pp. 103-114.(g) F. Czerwinski and J.A. Szpunar, Correlation between the Surface Roughness and Growth Mechanism in Thin NiO Films Modified by CeO2, Corrosion Science, 39 (1997), pp. 147-158. (h) F. Czerwinski, H. Li, A.P. Zhilyaev, and J.A. Szpunar, Computer Modelling the Diffusion of Ni in NiO at High Temperatures, Corrosion Science, 39 (1997), pp. 1211-1219.(i) F. Czerwinski, J.A. Szpunar and W.W. Smeltzer, The Growth and Structure of Thin Oxide Films on Cerium Ion Implanted Nickel, Metallurgical & Materials Transactions A, 27 (1996), pp. 3649-3661.(j) F. Czerwinski and J.A. Szpunar, The Effect of Reactive Element Effect on Texture and Grain Boundary Character Distribution in Nickel Oxide, Corrosion Science, 39, (1997), pp. 1967-1972. (k) F. Czerwinski and J.A. Szpunar, Optimizing Properties of CeO2 Coatings for Protection of Metallic Substrates Against High Temperature Oxidation, Thin Solid Films, 289, no. 1-2 (1996), pp. 213-219. (l) F. Czerwinski, J.A. Szpunar and W.W. Smeltzer, Steady-Stage Growth of NiO Scales on Ceria Coated Polycrystalline Nickel, Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 143 (1996), pp. 3000-3007. (m) F. Czerwinski, J.A. Szpunar and W.W. Smeltzer, The Growth and Structure of Thin Oxide Films on Cerium Ion Implanted Nickel, Metallurgical & Materials Transactions A, 27 (1996), pp. 3649-3661.

5. Oxidation and hydrogen ingress in Zr-Nb alloys.

Pressure tubes in CANDU reactors are made of a zirconium alloy containing 2.5% niobium. One of the factors limiting the life of these components is hydrogen ingress and consequent hydride formation, leading to embrittlement and fracture. We have developed novel microstructural model of  oxidation and oxide  texture  development (e,h) microscopic model of  hydrogen ingress, identified novel  structural  transformation in zirconium oxide (a,b,l) and discover important correlations between texture of oxide and the rate of hydrogen ingress.  The correlation proposed may be a unique tool for assessment the tube quality prior to installation for service, and for evaluation of potential risk of failure.  Importance of  this research is  illustrated  at best by the  support obtained  from AECL for three Strategic NSERC grants of the  applicant. The results obtained can be extended to other  Zr alloys  that  are major  structural components of almost all nuclear reactors.  Examples of  papers published in this area are:

(a) W. Qin, C. Nam, H. Li, J.A. Szpunar, ?Effects of local stress on the stability of tetragonal phase in ZrO2 film?, Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 437 (2007) 280?284. (b) W. Qin, C. Nam, H. Li, J.A. Szpunar, ?Tetragonal phase stability in ZrO2 film formed on zirconium alloys and its effects on corrosion resistance?, Acta Materialia, 55 (2007) 1695?1701.(c) H. Li, Q. Wen and J. Szpunar, ?The Effect of Oxide Cracks on Hydrogen Ingress in ZrO2?, Defect and Diffusion Forum, Vol. 263 (2007) pp. 117-122.(d) C. Nam, J. Lin, H. Li, J.A. Szpunar and R. Holt, ?Effects of Tube Fabrication Variables on the Oxidation of Experimental Zr?2.5Nb Tubes?, Journal of Nuclear Materials, 353 (2006) 135-145.(e) H. Li, M. G. Glavicic, J. A. Szpunar, ?A Model of Texture Formation in ZrO2 Films?, Material Science and Engineering, A366 (2004) 164-174.(f) J. Lin, H. Li, C. Nam, J. A. Szpunar, ?Analysis on Volume Fraction and Crystal Orientation Relationship of Monoclinic and Tetragonal Oxide Grown on Zr?2.5Nb Alloy?, Journal of Nuclear Materials, 334 (2004) 200-206.  (g) J. Lin, H. Li, J. A. Szpunar, R. Bordoni, A. M. Olmedo, M. Villegas, A. J. G. Maroto, ?Analysis of Zirconium Oxide Formed during Oxidation at 623 K on Zr?2.5Nb and Zircaloy-4?,  Materials Science and Engineering A, Volume 381, Issues 1-2, (2004) 104-112. (h) H. Li, M. Glavicic and J.A. Szpunar, ?Simulation of Texture Formation in ZrO2 Film Grown on Zr-2.5%Nb?, Textures and Microstructures 34 (2000), pp. 75-90. (i) M.G. Glavicic and J.A. Szpunar, ?Phase Analysis and Grazing Incidence Stress Measurement in ZrO2 Films?, Proceedings of the Twelfth International Conference in Textures of Materials (ICOTOM-12), (1999), Montreal, Canada, NRC Research Press, Edited by J.A. Szpunar, Volume 1, pp. 110-115. (j) M.G. Glavicic, J.A. Szpunar and Y.P. Lin, ?A method for the quantitative phase analysis of ZrO2 films grown on Zr-2.5% Nb pressure tubes?, J of Nuc Mat, 245 (1997), pp. 147-151.(k) A.P. Zhilyaev, J.A. Szpunar and V.Y. Gertsman, Statistical Characterization of Grain Boundaries in Nanocrystalline Zirconia, Nanostructured Materials, 9:1-8 (1997), pp. 343-346. (l) V.Y. Gertsman, A.P. Zhilyaev and J.A. Szpunar, Near Coincidence Site Lattice Misorientations in Monoclinic Zirconia,