US Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory senior metallurgist Iver Anderson has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). 

The NAI Fellows selection committee said that Anderson demonstrated a ‘highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society’. 

‘I am honored to have been recognized as an NAI Fellow,’ said Anderson. ‘This award is an outstanding endorsement of contributions academic inventors like me make to research and, in particular, research that can make a lasting impact on society.’ 

Anderson is best known for his co-invention of lead-free solder, an alloy of tin, silver and copper, used globally as a replacement for lead-based solders that can pollute soil and groundwater.  The lead-free solder patent is the top-earning patent for Ames Laboratory, Iowa State University (Ames Laboratory’s contractor), and Sandia National Laboratory.  It has generated approximately US$60 million in royalty income throughout the life of the patent, which expired in 2013.   At its peak, more than 50 companies in 13 countries licensed the invention.

Titanium powder

In addition to lead-free solder, Anderson has used gas-atomization technology he and his colleagues developed to produce fine, spherical titanium powder for additive manufacturing and metal injection molding of aerospace, medical, and industrial parts.  A spinoff company, Iowa Powder Atomization Technologies, was created in 2012 to exclusively license Ames Laboratory’s titanium atomization patents. 

Anderson will join the NAI Fellows named in 2015 for an induction ceremony on April 15, 2016, at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 

This story uses material from Ames Laboratory, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.