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Protecting steel: Arif Humayun ‘80

When Arif Humayun first came to Lehigh to complete his graduate studies in Chemical Engineering in 1980, he had a fairly straightforward goal in his research: the development of corrosion-resistant technology. Becoming a part of the Emulsion Polymers Institute (EPI) and working at Bethlehem Steel’s Homer Research Laboratories (which would eventually become what is now Lehigh’s Mountaintop Campus), Mr. Humayun immersed himself in studying emulsifying techniques with Professors Vanderhoff and El-Aasser.

One of Mr. Humayun’s main projects began as the United States automotive industry began working towards more fuel-efficient cars, research in potential new steel products with lighter gauges, higher strengths and most importantly, corrosion-resistant metal coatings. Humayun primarily worked with a specific type of galvanized coating called GALVALUME, which after a premature failure in use had been taken off the market.

After running numerous experiments and extensive tests, Humayun was able to develop a process which once again made GALVALUME usable and ready for commercialization by the Bethlehem International Engineering Corporation (BIEC) in 1983. BIEC expanded, and Mr. Humayun continued his research in Australia for three years before returning to Bethlehem. Today, BIEC operates out of Vancouver, WA, and currently holds 65 licensees worldwide. GALVALUME steel is now used in roofing and other everyday technologies as a way of preventing corrosion.

During his time in Australia, Mr. Humayun was able to explore a discipline completely separate from mechanical engineering. Partnering with one of his colleagues, Humayun engaged in structured research of the Muslim faith, investigating scriptures and literatures, and in 1992, publishing his first novel titled The Summit of Religious Evolution. After 9/11, Humayun continued his efforts and involvement in the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), taking it upon himself to educate young Muslims about Islam by founding a non-profit group called Circle of Peace.

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