Khan was born in Khagatua village, PS Nabinagar, Brahmanbaria District, British India (now in Bangladesh). He attended Ratanpur High School and did his intermediate at Comilla Victoria College. After graduating at the top of his class from University of Dhaka with a Bachelor of Science (Honors) in 1962 and master's degree in chemistry in 1963, Khan joined the Chemistry department as a lecturer at the same university. In 1964, he accepted a scholarship to study in Oxford University and received his PhD degree in chemistry in 1968. Following his PhD, Khan returned to the Chemistry department of DU as an associate professor and worked there until 1973. That year, he left Bangladesh to conduct research in the field of materials engineering (alloys) in the United States.
During his career, Khan invented more than forty different alloys. These alloys are designed for the use in the area of high temperature, such as blades of gas turbine or jet engines. They are coated with environmentally resistant coatings to provide protection from oxidation and/or corrosion, high temperature (to prevent thermal fatigue), to provide wear resistance etc.
These have been commercially applied in space shuttles, advanced commercial jet engines, and US air force jet engines. These alloys made engines lighter, which enabled the aircraft to fly faster. Khan's work in Switzerland also involved alloys, which increased the speed of train engines and industrial gas turbines.
One of Khan's inventions, high strength nickel based alloys, were used for increased fuel efficiency in F-15 & F-16 fighter engines. Subsequently, these alloys were declared as 21st Century materials for advanced aircraft engines in the Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Magazine (Popular Science, June 1990).
- Nano-catalysts developed are used for in fuel flow path in advanced jet engines for high mach propulsion
- Advanced abrasion resistant materials developed are used for increased fuel efficiencies of US AF fighter engines (Proprietary to United Technologies' Pratt & Whitney)
- Corrosion & fatigue resistant coatings deposited by cathodic arc process is used in advanced commercial in Pratt & Whiney jet engines (Proprietary to United Technologies' Pratt & Whitney)
- Electrodeposited wear resistant coatings developed is used in advanced GT24/26 industrial gas turbine engines by Alstom, Switzerland (Proprietary to Alstom, Switzerland)
- Electrodeposited oxidation-corrosion resistant coatings used by Alstom, Switzerland in Alstom Power GT-11 industrial gas turbine engines (Proprietary to Alstom, Switzerland)
For Khan's outstanding research and its application in aerospace, he received numerous prestigious awards from NASA, the US Air Force, United Technology, and Alstom. In addition to these achievements, Khan was a Chartered Scientist (Professional Scientist) of the Royal Society of Chemistry (Great Britain, 2005), Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (Great Britain, 1996), and a member of the American Society of Metals.
Some of his important awards and recognitions include:
1) The ‘1986 United Technologies Special Award’ for contributing the development of high strength nickel based alloys (known as Alloy Y) used for increased fuel efficiency of F-15 & F-16 fighter engines. The Alloy Y was highlighted in Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Magazine (AMM Magazine), 4 August 1986. Subsequently the Alloy Y was declared as 21st Century Materials for advanced aircraft engines.
2) 'United Technologies Research Center Award of Excellence ' for developing a unique manufacturing process for hydrocarbon catalysis for high-speed aircraft & missile propulsion (1994).
3) The hydrocarbon fuel catalyst technology developed under NASA-Air Force contract was declared as enabling technology by NASA and US Air Force in 1992.
4) 'Pratt & Whitney's Special' Award for contribution to development of manufacturing technology for advanced surface protection coatings for use in jet engines (1993)
1) Khan, Abdus S, Nazmy, Mohamed,' MCrAlY bond coating and method of depositing said bond coating', US patent No. 20050003227 (6 January 2005)
2) Khan, Abdus S, Fried, Reinhard, ' Thermally loaded component of a gas turbine comprises heat insulating ceramic layer used for gas turbine blades' DE10332938 (10 February 2005)
3) Khan, Abdus S, Nazmy, Mohamed, ' Method of applying a thermal barrier coating system to a superalloy substrate', W02005038074 (28 April 2005)
4) Allen, William P, Vernoesi, William, Hall, Robert J, Maloney, Michael J., Appleby, John W, Hague, Douglas D. and Khan, Abdus S. 'Reflective coatings to reduce heat transfer', US patent No 6,887,587 (3 May 2005)
5) Khan, Abdus S, Fernihough John, Konter, Maxim, 'Method of repairing a ceramic coating', US patent No. 6,890,587 (10 May 2005)
6) Khan, Abdus S., Konter, Maxim, Schmees, Robert, ' Bond or overlay MCrAlY coating', US patent No. 6,924,045 (2 August 2005)
7) Fried, Reinhard, Goecmen, Alkan, Khan, Abdus.S, ' Temperature-stable protective coating over a metallic substrate surface, and a process for producing the protective coating', US patent No. 6,720,087 (13 April 2004)
8) Duda, Thomas, Jung, Arnd, Khan, Abdus S, 'Method of depositing MCrAlY coating on an article and the coated article', European patent No. EP1411148 (21 April 2004)
9) Khan, Abdus S., Bossmann, Hans-Peter, Duda, Thomas, Schnell, Alexander, Stefansson, Karl-Johan, Toennes, Christoph T, 'Method of depositing an oxidation and fatigue resistant MCrAlY coating', US patent No. 20040079648 (29 April 2004)
10) Khan, Abdus S., Duda, Thomas, 'Method of depositing a local coating', US patent No.20040159552 (19 August 2004)
11) Khan, Abdus S, Duda, Thomas, Hoebel, Mathias, Schnell, Alexander, 'A method of depositing a local coating', US patent No. 20040163583 (24 August 2004)
12) Khan, Abdus S, Boston, Ian W and Hearley, James. A,' Method of depositing a wear resistant seal coating and seal system', US patent No.20040185294 (23 September 2004)
13) Schnell, Alexander, Kurz, Wilfred, Hoebel, Mathias, Khan, Abdus S., Konter, Maxim Bezencon, Cyrille, 'MCrAlY type alloy coating', European patent US patent No.20040234808 (25 November 2004)
14) Schnell, Alexander, Hoebel, Mathias, Kurz, Wilfred, Khan, Abdus S., Konter, Maxim, Bezencon, Cyrille, 'Method of growing a MCrAlY coating and an article coated with the MCrAlY coating', US patent No.20040244676 (9 December 2004)
15) Khan, Abdus S., Fried, Reinhard, 'Method of applying a coating system', European patent No. EP1491658 (29 December 2004)
16) Khan, Abdus S, Fried, Reinhard, 'Method of applying a coating', European patent No. EP 1491657 (29 December 2004)
17) Khan, Abdus S, Duda, Thomas, Schnell, Alexander, Jung, Arnd, 'A method of depositing a coating', European patent No. EP 1491650 (29 December 2004)
18) Fernihough, John, Khan, Abdus S., Konter, Maxim, Oehl, Markus, Dorn, Joachim-Hans, 'Process of repairing a coated component', US patent No. 6,569,492 (27 May 2003)
19) Beers, Russell A, Noetzel, Allan A, Khan, Abdus S., 'Oxidation and fatigue resistant coating', US patent No. 20030211356 (3 November 2003)
20) Allen, William P, Vernoesi, William, Hall, Robert J, Maloney, Michael J., Appleby, John W, Hague, Douglas D. and Khan, Abdus S. 'Reflective coatings to reduce heat transfer', US patent No. 6,652,987 (25 November 2003)
21) Khan, Abdus S., Zagorski, Alexander, Savell A, Katsnelson, Savell, S, Pozdniakov, Georgij A, 'Method for treating the bond coating of a component' European patent No. EP1215301 (19 June 2002)
22) Beers, Russell A, Khan, Abdus S, Noetzel, Allan A, 'Oxidation resistant coatings for copper', US Patent No 6,277,499 (21 August 2001)
23) Mullen, Richard S, Allen, William P, Gell, Maurice L, Barkalow, Richard H., Noetzel, Allan A., Appleby, John W, Khan, Abdus S. 'Multiple nanolayer coating system', US Patent No. 5,687,679 (18 November 1997)
24) Khan, Abdus S, Murphy, Kenneth S, Fenton, Richard J, 'Method for improving oxidation and spallation resistance of diffusion aluminide coatings', W09530779 (16 November 1995)
25) Khan, Abdus S., 'Non-destructive test for coated carbon-carbon composite articles', US Patent No. 5,317,901 (7 June 1994)
26) Khan, Abdus S, Wright, Robert J.' A method for protecting article from hydrogen absorption by Application of alumina coating', US Patent No. 5,252,362 (12 October 1993)
27) Senterfitt, Donald R, Hamner, Larry D., Mullaly, James. R, Khan, Abdus S, Smeggil, John. G, 'Leading edge heat Pipe arrangement', US Patent No. 4,966,229 (30 October 1990)
28) Gostic, William J, Khan, Abdus S, Murphy, Kenneth S, 'Oxidation resistant single crystals' US Patent No. 4,878,965 (7 November 1989)
29) Hecht, Ralph J, Khan, Abdus S, Barkalow, Richard H, 'Substrate tailored coatings', US Patent No. 4,758,480 (19 July 1988)
30) Bourdeo, Girad G, Khan, Abdus S,' Nickel base superalloy' British patent No. GB02110240 & FR-2517329 (3 June 1983)
31) Barrett, Charles A, Lowell, Carl E, Khan, Abdus S, 'A ternary NiCrAl system', US Patent No. 4,340,425 (20 July 1982)
During his retired life, Khan was conducting research as an honorary professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Florida State University. While researching there, he tried to establish a Center of Excellence in nanomaterials for research in the area of carbon nanotechnology for applications in materials science and biomaterial technology.
Besides his scientific achievements, Khan was also involved in community services in the United States. Khan was the founder of the Bangladeshi Association of Florida and organised numerous Asian community events. In 1991, he raised $61,000 for Bangladeshi flood victims and donated these funds to the Red Cross. Khan also established a cooperative agreement between Dhaka University and Lamar University in Texas to train faculty members and graduate students of DU.