Curriculum Vitae for Will P Gates


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SmecTech Research Consulting



Senior Research Fellow (part time)

Department of Civil Engineering

Monash University, Clayton




PhD University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1994)

MSc New Mexico State University, Las Cruces (1987)

BSc Montana State University, Bozeman (1985)



Relevant Experience and Motivation

Extensive practical knowledge of poorly crystalline clay minerals (bentonites, nickel laterites, coals, shales), mineral processing (floatation, cyanidation) coal wash tailings, return and pregnant water handling, drilling and mine development (bentonites). 

Wide-ranging experience in research and development relating to applications of bentonites and other minerals in industrial, environmental and civil engineering (two patent applications).

As a part time Senior Research Fellow / Officer at Monash University, consistently assisted in obtaining external funding for research, totalling >$2.3M for research projects, equipment grants and research consultancies from industry.

Through competitive applications, have obtained considerable experimental time at synchrotrons and neutron facilities in Europe, North America and Australia to study clay mineral structures and reactions at mineral surfaces. 

Developed and applied several spectroscopic and other analytical methods to study, characterize and identify poorly crystalline clay minerals.




Professional Experience



Position & Brief Description

February 2012- present

Geomechanics/Structures, Department of Civil Engineering, Monash University

Senior Research Fellow (part time 0.5 – 0.7). Management of research projects including two ARC Discovery (environmental barriers & concrete durability) and externally funded research consultancies. Assisted in developing Monash Civil – Australian Antarctic Division collaboration.  Currently commissioning X-ray microscopy instrumentation ($1.2M successful ARC LEIF bid)

August 2006

February 2012

Geomechanics, Department of Civil Engineering, Monash University

Senior Research Fellow (part time 0.4 – 0.8). Research on environmental barriers to hyper-saline, acidic or alkaline mine tailings, temperature affects on hydraulic performance of geosynthetic clay liners, soil stabilization and cement and concrete chemistry.

March 2006


Self Employed – SmecTech Research Consulting.

Consultant (part time). Assisting Bentonite, Coal and Geosynthetic Industries in Australia and South Africa with mine-face issues (bentonite, coal), mineral processing (bentonite, coal) and research and development (bentonite, geosynthetics).

January 2005


Centre for Green Chemistry, Monash University

Honorary Affiliate. Collaboration on research in clay-based organic synthesis and catalysis and water purification industries.

May 2004

November 2005

Primary Industries Research Victoria

Senior Research Scientist. NE Victoria section leader of soil. Managed field-based research projects, including nitrous oxide emission measurements from dry-land wheat and monitoring of fertilizer efficiency in vineyards.

December 1997

March 2004

CSIRO Land and Water

Research Scientist and Principal Research Scientist. Conducted numerous research consultancies for industry. Led research on organo-clays, bentonite mineralogy and smectite structural chemistry. Developed clay-based adsorbents for algal toxins (patented) and P (patented) from potable waters to minimize algal growth. Part of international industrial team to develop water-based drilling muds (patented).

February 1995

October 1997

University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory

Research Associate. Developed research apparatus to study the interlayer structures of organo-modified clays. Applied Fe Kα X-ray absorption spectroscopy to follow redox reactions at clay mineral surfaces.

July 1994

January 1995

Geochemistry Group, University of Grenoble

Chateaubriand Research Fellow. Assisted in the development of synchrotron-based research technique and protocols using polarized X-ray absorption spectroscopy (P-EXAFS) to study the crystal-structure – chemistry relationships of poorly crystalline clay minerals.




Professional Affiliations and Activities




Clay Minerals Society- (CMS)

Member since 1991

Sustaining member since 2008

Co-convener of “Clay Barrier Technologies for Landfills and Mining Symposium” at the 50th annual CMS conference, Urbana IL October 2013. Program Development and Continuing Education, 2008-2010; Co-convener of “Reaction of Iron in Clays and Clay Minerals” at the Annual CMS conference, Billings MT, June 2009. Nominations Committee 2006-2009 (Chair 2007-2009); Council member, 2002-2005; Policy and Administration Committee, 2003-2006 (Chair, 2005-2006); Source Clays Repository Committee, 2000-2003; East European Liaison Committee, 1997-1998.

International Association for the Study of Clays (AIPEA)

Co-convener of “Water mobility in real and reference clays“ at the 15th International Clay Conference, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 2013. Co-convener on “Water transport through clays” at the 14th International Clay Conference, Bari, Italy, June 2009.

Australian Clay Minerals Society- (ACMS)

 Member since 1998

President, Current (2014-2016), 2010-2012, 2004-2006; Vice President, 2010-2012, 2008-2010; Committee member, 2012-2014, 2008-2010, 2000-2002; Secretary 2002-2004; Information officer, 1998-2000; field trip coordinator, 2012, 2010; workshop co-chair, 2000; Editor of The Interlayer (ACMS newsletter), 1998-2002.

Applied Clay Science Journal

Editorial board, 2008 – current;

Clays and Clay Minerals Journal

Associate Editor for Clays and Clay Minerals, 2006-2010. Special Publications Editor, 2008-2010.

Elements Journal

CMS Representative to Advisory Board, 2008 – current.