The European Ceramic Society
Obituary Professor Tomaž Kosmač
Our dear friend and colleague Professor Tomaž Kosmač has passed away in October 2022.
Tomaž graduated in metallurgy and gained PhD in chemistry from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He was a visiting research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Metal Research, PML, Stuttgart, Germany, under the guidance of Prof Nils Claussen (1979-1980). At the same period Michael Swain was there and both were working on different aspects of zirconia toughened alumina ceramics. Tomaž established an X-ray method to assess the transformation zone depth in ceramics containing tetragonal zirconia. The method allowed him to evaluate the contributions of transformation and micro-crack toughening in various zirconia containing ceramics, including PZT which, at that time, was a novelty. In 80`s he devoted almost a decade to industrial projects encompassing the entire development process and implementation. Several small-scale production plants were built to produce structural ceramic components that were developed in this way. Examples include alumina-based cutting tools and other wear parts, sintered fused silica protective tubes for continuous steel casting, calcium aluminate bonded wollastonite nozzles for continuous aluminium casting, high-alumina/steatite wear resistant parts for paper and textile industries. In 1990-1991 Tomaž was a visiting Professor at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA. After returning to Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia (JSI) in 1992, he founded the engineering ceramics group as part of the Ceramics department, headed by professor Drago Kolar. The group specialized in aqueous and non-aqueous powder processing as integral part of wet and plastic shaping resulting in several innovative ceramic forming techniques, such the Hydrolysis Assisted Solidification process. His group became known for their work on the mechanisms and kinetics of AlN powder hydrolysis including a practically used protection method of the AlN powder against hydrolysis, for their contribution to the development of C/C-SiC composites with a dual-matrix, and particularly for their R&D work on dental ceramics. In the dental community Tomaž gained reputation as one of the world leading experts in the field of zirconia for application in restorative dentistry.
Tomaž was long-time head of the JSI`s Engineering Ceramics Department and Professor at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, University of Ljubljana. Tomaž has received many awards for his outstanding work, including the Boris Kidrič award for valuable contributions to a better understanding of the mechanical properties of oxide ceramics (1983), Slovenian national awards for the development and implementation of fused silica ceramics for continuous steel casting (1986), and ceramic cutting tools (1988), the Žiga Zois award for valuable technological achievements (2003) and the Puch award for the implementation of zirconia dental posts (2007). He authored more than 160 major publications, 38 invited lectures, and 7 patents. Prof. Kosmač’s involvement with ECerS includes being a co-organizer of the Engineering Ceramics and Bio-ceramics Symposia as a part of the IX ECERS meeting (June, 2005) in Portorož, Slovenia, and guest co-editor of a special issue of the JECS. He was also a co-organizer of a thematic symposium on Advanced Ceramics for Dentistry as part of the XII ECerS meeting (June 2011) in Stockholm, Sweden, and has co-edited book on Advanced Ceramics for Dentistry (Elsevier, 2013).
When not engaged in academic activities, Tomaž was a devoted to hiking, biking and camping with his family. Tomaž’s friends and colleagues will remember him by his honest and modest personality, being full of proverbs, anecdotes and the readiness to engage in long-lasting discussions about science, history and politics.
May he rest in peace.
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