Surface coating technologies are critical in the design of engineering systems ranging from space shuttles and solar panels to artificial human joints. The market share of these technologies is currently worth in excess of $20 billion globally. Dr. Rehan Ahmed, a Professor in the College of Engineering gave an interactive seminar on the current and future applications of surface coatings on 12 May 2010 as part of the Research Colloquium series at Alfaisal University. Dr. Theo Goosen, the Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Alfaisal said that “we are very lucky to have someone of Dr. Ahmed’s caliber working at our university. Many modern engineering achievements have been made possible due to the advances in surface coating technologies particularly in the area of solar panels, orthopedic implants and coatings used in aerospace components.” In the seminar, Dr. Ahmed focused on issues related to the prevention of metal fatigue using surface coatings and how it can be applied to planned railway infrastructure and maintenance of aircraft components in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Metal fatigue is caused by repeated loading of engineering components e.g. in rotating machines components like bearings, gears, rail-wheel interaction and also in bending e.g. of aircraft wings, etc. This repeated loading leads to microstructural changes, both surface and subsurface in the material, leading to initiation and propagation of cracks and eventual failure. Dr. Ahmed gave an insight of how manufacturing of new engineering materials and coatings, surface finishing and condition monitoring have enabled engineers to tackle the problem of material fatigue for a range of engineering applications.

Dr. Rehan Ahmed completed his Masters and PhD from Brunel University West London before joining the University of Cambridge in 1999. He subsequently took faculty position at Heriot-Watt University Scotland before joining Alfaisal University in 2009. He was the Director of Graduate Program and also the Academic Liaison Officer for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers at Heriot-Watt University UK. He is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (UK). Over the last ten years he has secured, both as Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator, research funds in excess of £1.7 Million from Research Councils and Industry. He also recently filed a patent in the design of orthopedic implants. He has been a consultant for some of the major companies around the globe including British Broadcasting Corporation, Raytheon Systems and Weatherford UK. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Thermal Spray Technology and Advances in Mechanical Engineering.