SaMI steel and metals academic publishes book

We spoke to Dr Zak Abdallah, technology transfer fellow (TTF) at SaMI about his honorary role as an academic editor-in-chief of a new book on casting and modelling of metallic alloy systems.


1. Zak you’ve recently edited a book, how did that come about?

The topic of becoming an editor-in-chief has come up whilst reviewing papers of other researchers from all over the globe for specialist journals. It is purely honorary and voluntary to provide academic support in my field of expertise. My name has been publicised due to my work over the years in materials science and engineering and most recently in steel and metals research. The book project ‘Casting Processes and Modelling of Metallic Materials’ is published by InTech Open publishing.


2. What area of steel and metals research is the book about?

The book explores the various casting and modelling activities related to metallic alloy systems. It provides novel techniques to support the steel and metals research community in various casting processes and models and discusses the issues and possible solutions.

Over the years various models have been proposed and utilised to predict the performance of castings. Some models proved to be accurate whereas others failed to predict the casting performance. The strength of any predictive tool depends on the employment of physically meaningful parameters that replicate the actual performance. This is illustrated in the book in the form of predictive models and finite element (FE) modelling to illustrate the behaviour of castings in real-life conditions.


3. Is this your first time as a book editor? What does it mean for you personally and professionally?

This was my first time to be invited to become an academic book editor. The role required proposing the book title, introduction, preface, key words and content. It involved reviewing the submitted research and providing constructive feedback to researchers prior to my final approval and acceptance. I purposely chose the title to be linked to the steel and metals research we perform at SaMI and to be relevant to materials development and casting. The role has enriched my knowledge in this area of research as well as my capability as an academic researcher.


4. What was the role of your co-editor, Dr Nada Aldoumani? Did you already know Dr Aldoumani?

Dr. Nada Aldoumani was a fellow research associate at Swansea University. She has a Structural Engineering background and is an expert in materials for structural applications alongside her extensive knowledge in finite element (FE) modelling, MATLAB coding, ANSYS simulations, Uncertainty Quantification and Adhesive Bonding and Optimisation. I have worked with Dr Aldoumani on several publications and we have also independently edited the book on casting. With this book, her role was mainly focusing on the modelling part of the project with regards to casting and simulation and the novelty of such models in this field.


5. Tell us a bit about the process of what goes into editing a book. How do you juggle it with your role as a steel and metals technology and transfer fellow (TTF) at SaMI?

The role of an academic editor-in-chief is exciting and challenging. I found the experience to be flexible, beneficial and manageable.

The academic editor role initially required reviewing the abstracts of the proposed papers as they are submitted. The academic editor will check the plagiarism reports and the novelty and originality of the work. The technical aspects of the submitted work are reviewed and fed back to authors. The review process might take a few hours or several days depending on the content of each submission. My ideal time to do this assessment exercise is in the evenings, weekends, or when I wish to have a break from my daily routine.

I do my best to fulfil the requirements of my TTF role within SaMI as well as my role as an academic. Time management is a crucial element to manage the multiple tasks. I firmly believe this is one of my strengths in life.


6. What did you most enjoy about editing the book? Were there things you learnt about yourself and your area of steel and metals research?

When I think back about the whole project from the early stages of proposing the title to the stage of publication, I feel very proud of my achievement. The book has been published worldwide and downloaded hundreds of times within a month or two of publication.

I strongly consider this an outstanding experience as it allowed me to utilise my expertise in the field as well as publicise my name in the research community.

Whilst reviewing the book submissions I met several academics including Professor John Campbell, a British engineer and one of the world’s leading experts in the casting industry. Professor Campbell sent me a copy of one of his books and has shown a real interest in the steel and metals research and innovation carried out at SaMI. I believe that without being an academic editor, meeting such scholars such as Professor Campbell might not have happened.

The book ‘Casting Processes and Modelling of Metallic Materials’ has enriched my experience in casting processes and materials development whilst expanding my network of steel and metals experts from all over the globe. As recognition of this achievement I have again been invited to start a new book project as an academic editor. The title I have chosen is ‘Advances in Fatigue and Fracture Testing and Modelling’ which is directly linked to my day-to-day activities at SaMI.


Interview with Dr Zak Abdullah, March 2021.

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