Azimi, Gisele


Gisele Azimi | BASc, MASc (Sharif University of Technology), PhD (Toronto), PEng
Assistant Professor

Joint-appointed with the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry

Office: WB 113
T: 416.946.7568

Research Group: Laboratory for Strategic Materials

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Honours & Awards

  • TMS Light Metals/Extraction & Processing Subject Award – Recycling (2017)
  • Gordon Ritcey Outstanding Award, CIM (2009)
  • TATP Teaching Excellence Award, University of Toronto (2008)
  • CIM MetSoc Hydrometallurgy Award, University of Toronto (2008)

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.

Select Patents & Publications

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.

Walawalkar, M., Nichol, C., Azimi, G., “An Innovative Process for the Recovery of Consumed Acid in Rare-Earth Elements Leaching from Phosphogypsum,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 55, 12309−12316 (2016).

Walawalkar, M., Nichol, C., Azimi, G., “Process investigation of the acid leaching of rare earth elements from phosphogypsum using HCl, HNO3, and H2SO4”, Hydrometallurgy, 166, 195-204 (2016).

Cai, Y., Coyle, T. W., Azimi, G., Mostaghimi, J, “Superhydrophobic Ceramic Coatings by Solution Precursor Plasma Spray”, Nature Scientific Reports, 6, 24670 (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).

Ates, A., Azimi, G., Choi, K.H., Green, W.H., Timko, M.T. “The role of catalyst in supercritical water desulfurization,” Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 147, 144–155 (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).