The research of the Multiscale Thermal Science Laboratory (MTSL) focuses on the fundamental understanding of thermal transport phenomena at the interfaces between material phases and from macro to nanoscales which has applications to thermal management, energy storage and material processing.
The laboratory is led by Professors Hongwei Sun and Majid Charmchi and some of their research projects include:
Capturing airborne particles from air into a liquid is a critical process for the development of many sensors and analytical systems. A miniaturized airborne particle sampling device (microimpinger) has been developed in this research which relies on a controlled bubble generation process produced by driving air through microchannel arrays.
In this research, Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)/nickel (Ni) composites with embedded Ni spherical particle columns were studied for thermal conductivity enhancement. The measured thermal conductivity was compared with the prediction from a finite element model built on the observed microscopic structures. The magnetically aligned particle columns significantly enhanced the thermal conductivity of PDMS compared to the randomly distributed particles by about two fold.
A unique sensing device, which couples microscale pillars with a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) substrate to form a resonant system, was developed to achieve several orders of magnitude enhancement in sensitivity compared to conventional QCM sensors. This research points to a novel way of improving sensitivity of acoustic wave sensors without the need for fabricating surface nanostructures.
This work reports on a novel Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) based method to analyze the droplet-micropillar surface interaction quantitatively during dropwise condensation (DWC). The developed QCM system provides a valuable tool for the dynamic characterization of different condensation processes and an understanding of different hydrophobic surfaces.
In this research, an experimental study was conducted on the melting behavior of a pure metal in the presence of a static magnetic field. Gallium is used as a phase-change material to study the magnetic field effects on the phase change rate and the solid/liquid interface shape in a rectangular chamber. The comparison shows that the numerical simulations fit very well with the experimental data, especially at large Hartman numbers.
The weight of needed protective layers against thermal changes and thermal threats could be dramatically reduce with the use of smart thermal insulation, i.e. layers that would adapt to the temperature changes. The researchers at University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) are collaborating with the scientists at Army to investigate the fibers processing conditions and their behavior for smart materials applications.