Azimi, Gisele


Gisele Azimi | BASc, MASc, PhD, PEng
Professor, Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry
Canada Research Chair in Urban Mining Innovations

Office: WB 113
T: 416.946.7568

Research Group: Laboratory for Strategic Materials

Research Areas

  • Technospheric mining; Urban mining; Waste valorization; Recycling
  • Extraction, processing, and recycling of strategic materials, including rare-earth elements, PGMs, Lithium, Iron and steel
  • Electrochemistry: high-temperature (molten salt) electrolysis
  • Hydrometallurgy: atmospheric and high-pressure leaching; Solvent extraction
  • Supercritical fluid extraction (SFE)
  • Advanced materials design and fabrication; Batteries; Sensors; Filters; Functional surfaces; Hydrophobicity
  • Process development, modeling and simulation, and optimization

Research Interests

A combined theoretical and experimental approach to address the world major challenges regarding growing demand for natural resources (energy & materials) and anthropogenic environmental impacts through enhancement of overall process performance and utilization of new materials in various industrial sectors (energy, water, and metals).

Extraction, processing, and recycling of strategic materials

One of the missions of our research program is “developing innovative hydrometallurgical and electrochemical processes for extraction, processing, and recycling of strategic materials, including REEs, PGMs, lithium, and iron”.

REEs have unique physicochemical properties that make them indispensable in many emerging critical and green innovations. The demand for REEs is increasing steeply, and some are classified under critical materials, that is, those that are essential in use and subject to supply risk. PGMs are rare, expensive metals with unique catalytic properties that are one of the main components of automotive catalytic convertors. Lithium is widely used in lithium-ion batteries: the next generation of automotive industry. The demand for Li is surpassing its supply, classifying it under strategic materials. Iron and steel are the number one construction material in the world and finding less carbon intensive processes for their extraction is highly of interest.

Development of Advanced Materials

The second mission of our group is “the design and fabrication of advanced materials with controlled properties including hydrophobicity, scale-resistant, and transparency”.

These materials can be used to design batteries, electrodes, sensors, membranes, self-cleaning surfaces, condensers and reactors walls to benefit various industries ranging from power plants to solar energy plants and batteries to desalination to hydrometallurgy by increasing their efficiency and lowering their maintenance costs.

Research Clusters

Link to Google Scholar

Select publications:

Zhang, J., Anawati, J., Yao, Y., Azimi, G., “Aerio-metallurgical extraction of rare earth elements from NdFeB magnets utilizing supercritical fluids,” ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 6, 16713–16725 (2018) Impact Factor: 6.140.

Anawati, J., Lambert, A., Walawalkar, M., Tam, J., Azimi, G., “Innovative application of microwave treatment for recovering of rare earth elements from phosphogypsum,” ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 6, 16471–16481 (2018) Impact Factor: 6.140, (Featured on the Cover of the Journal).

Kim, J., Anawati, J., Azimi, G., “Matrix complexity effect on platinum group metals analysis using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry,” Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 33, 1310–1321 (2018) (Featured on the Cover of the Journal).

Shahini, S., Judge, W.D., Tam, J., Azimi, G., “Design, fabrication, and characterization of porous yttria-stabilized zirconia ceramics for hot gas filtration applications,” Advanced Engineering Materials, 1700941, 1–10 (2018) (Featured on the Cover of the Journal).

Yao, Y., Farac, N.N., Azimi, G., “Supercritical fluid extraction of rare earth elements from nickel metal hydride battery,” ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 6, 1417–1426 (2018).

Tam, J., Palumbo, G., Erb, U., Azimi, G., “Robust hydrophobic rare earth oxide composite electrodeposits,” Advanced Materials Interfaces, 4, 1700850 (1–11) (2017).

Reid, S., Tam, J., Yang, M., Azimi, G., “Technospheric mining of rare earth elements from bauxite residue (red mud): process optimization, kinetic investigation, and microwave pretreatment,” Scientific Reports, 7, 15252, 1–9 (2017).

Judge, W.D., Allanore, A., Sadoway, D.R., Azimi, G., “E-logpO2 diagrams for ironmaking by molten oxide electrolysis,” Electrochemica Acta 247, 1088–1094 (2017).

Azimi, G., Yao, Y., Zhang, J., Anawati, J., “Method and system for supercritical fluid extraction of metal,” PCT International Application PCT/IB2018/059196 (filed on 22/10/2018).

Azimi, G., Ng, K. L., Malik, M., “Aluminum-ion battery using aluminum chloride/amide-based deep eutectic solvents,” USPTO Application 62/733,223 (filed on 09/19/2018).

Yao, Y., Fenton, I., Di Mondo, D., Azimi, G., “Method for purification of depolymerized polymers using supercritical fluid extraction,” USPTO Application 16/134,080 (filed on 09/18/2018).

Azimi, G., Paxson, A., Smith, D., Varanasi, K.K., “Liquid-impregnated rare-earth based ceramic surfaces,” Patent number: 9,309,162B2, Published: April 12, 2016.

Azimi, G., Cui, Y., Sabanska, A., Varanasi, K.K. “Scale-resistant surfaces: fundamental studies of the effect of surface energy on reducing scale formation,” Applied Surface Science, 313, 591–599 (2014).

Azimi, G., Dhiman, R., Kwon, H.M., Paxson, A.T., Varanasi, K.K. “Hydrophobicity of rare-earth oxide ceramics,” Nature Materials, 12, 315–320 (2013).

MSE217: Diffusion and Kinetics

2019  – Canada Research Chair in Urban Mining Innovations

2019  – 2020 TMS EPD Young Leaders Professional Development Award

2019 – Burgess Teaching Award from University of Toronto

2018 – Emerging Leaders of Chemical Engineering Award (CSChE – Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering)

2018 – Dean’s Spark Professorship

2017 – Early Researcher Award, Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science (MRIS)

2016 – Light Metals/Extraction & Processing Subject Award – Recycling from TMS (The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society)

2015 – Connaught New Researcher Award

2009 – Gordon Ritcey Outstanding Award from CIM

2008 – TATP Teaching Excellence Award

2008 – MetSoc Hydrometallurgy Award from CIM