Thermo-Fluid Research at MEE


  • Air Quality Research Laboratory

    This lab is used in support of field-based environmental monitoring of air pollutants. Measurement of environmental contaminants in the ambient atmosphere and indoors is conducted using state-of-science compliance grade monitors for ozone, fine particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, volatile organics, and toxic compounds. In addition, meteorological parameters are measured using weather stations. Routine testing and calibration of monitors are performed here. The lab is also used for the development and evaluation of low-cost and low-energy portable sensors for measurement of environmental para-meters including concentrations of air pollutants in the ambient atmosphere.

    Lab location: F177
    Faculty/Staff: Kuruvilla John
  • Biosensing and Bioenergy Laboratory

    Dr. Reid develops and characterizes electrode materials and devices for bioenergy harvesting and biosensing applications such as biofuel cells and biosensors. Performance of these devices is highly affected by mass, electronic, and ionic transport through the electrode materials as well as at the liquid-electrode interface. By understanding these key factors, Dr. Reid hopes to develop new and improved ways to utilize and monitor bioenergy sources. His current interests include mechanical energy harvesting through reverse electrowetting, electrochemical detection of traumatic brain injury, and multifunctional sensing/energy harvesting devices.

    Common themes among many of Dr. Reid’s previous projects are 1) accessing untapped bioenergy sources within us and in our surroundings and 2) combining multiple functionalities into a single material or device. These themes can be seen in examples of previous research projects: a contact lens biofuel cell, a self-powered lactate sensor, and composites that have active surface roughness control.

    Research Projects

    1) Self-powered wearable sensors that operate by harvesting motion through reverse electrowetting
    2) Single-cell biological probes that consist of either pulled pipette microelectrodes or nanosphere fluorescent probes


    Lab location: F102A.1
    Faculty/Staff: Russell Reid
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

    The computational fluid dynamics lab focuses on the development of numerical methods including turbulent flow modeling using large-eddy simulation and detached eddy simulation methods, two-phase free-surface flow modeling, particulate flow modeling, fluid-structure interactions, higher-order discretization methods such as spectral difference, non-traditional CFD approaches such as Lattice Boltzmann Method, deterministic and stochastic simulation-based design and optimization, uncertainty quantification (UQ), and high-performance computing methodology. The code development and models are for ocean and aerospace engineering applications (ship hydrodynamics, drone aerodynamics, wave/winds, stratified flows, etc.), biomedical applications (heart flow, hemodynamics, etc.), and energy systems (onshore and offshore wind turbines, wave energy converter etc.).

    Research Projects

    1) Study the interaction of a dynamic system and particles using coupled discrete element method and CFD
    2) Novel immersed boundary methods for strong fluid-structure coupling for extremely flexible structures
    3) Development of methodologies to predict extremely rare events
    4) Stable Lattice Boltzmann schemes for stratified flows
    5) Simulation of supported cardiovascular systems to minimize eddies and stasis, and to mitigate thrombotic risks
    6) Modeling acoustics using acoustic perturbation equations

    Lab location: D206B
    Faculty/Staff: Hamid Sadat
  • Department Teaching Laboratory

    The Lab F158 is an undergraduate teaching lab for MEEN 3240 Lab I and MEEN 3242 Lab II courses. The Lab is equipped with the following apparatus to offer MEE undergraduate students with hands-on experiments covering a broad spectrum of topics of in instrument and measurements, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer.

    Subsonic wind tunnel with completed modules (manometer, pitot tube, pressure cylinder, lift and drag balance, aerofoil, pressure wing, pressure cylinder and boundary layer plates). Computer controlled heat transfer teaching equipment (linear heat conduction, combined convection and radiation, extended surface heat transfer, unsteady state heat transfer, free & forced convection). Viscometer, cup viscometers, air viscosity measurement equipment, thermocouples, thermistor, RTD and data acquisition system.


    Lab location: F158
    Faculty/Staff: Xiaohua Li
  • Nanoscale Energy Transport Laboratory

    Nanoscale Energy Transport  Laboratory provides researchers with top-of-the-line computational software and hardware. The student and faculty researchers are developing improved computational modeling techniques and design tools open to collaborators in both industry and academia. Tools developed here in the laboratory or our various commercial programs (MATLAB, ANSYS, SINDA/Fluint, and more) have resulted in publications in prestigious journals and have been used in classroom teaching. Between Dr. Sadat and Dr. R. Zhang, they share thousands-CPU dedicated cores to ensure express development of simulations. Funding has been supported by Office of Naval Research.

    Zihao Richard Zhang Ph.D.

    Research Interest

    • Understanding nanoscale heat transfer phenomena, by modeling quantum interactions and electrodynamics of atomic-scale energy carriers, such as electrons, phonons, and photons. Outcomes in theoretical methods for optical and infrared properties of ultra-thin films, heat conduction in 2D materials and nanotubes/wires, and thermoelectric/piezoelectric effect for waste heat recovery.

    • Characterization of materials for aerospace systems, including optical reflectors, radiators, thermal switches, interfaces, electronics, etc. Supporting student-led CubeSat design and testing team for NASA space flights.

    Research Projects

    1) Few-parameter computational modeling of electron and phonon interactions driving a non-equilibrium thermoelectric effect in a semiconductor nanowire/2D sheet pulsed by a femtosecond laser (AFOSR)

    2) Far-field and near-field (nanogap) thermal radiative properties of patterned topological insulator semiconductors

    3) CubeSat thermal management using temperature-actuated shape memory alloys (NASA)


    Lab location: D206B
    Faculty/Staff: Zihao Richard Zhang
  • Small Scale Instrumentation Laboratory

    The Laboratory of Small Scale Instrumentation (LSI) has been served for several research projects including thermal characterization of one dimensional, two dimensional and three-dimensional materials. One dimensional materials are carbon nanotubes, boron nitride nanotubes, and silicon carbide nanowires. Their thermal conductivities were characterized by using either 3-omega or thermal conductance method. Recent advances in micropipette-based thermal sensors have been used to measure thermal conductivities of 2D materials such as graphene and carbon nanotube thin film. We are extending this technology to characterize fluid thermal properties and furthermore cellular level thermal conductivities (3D). In the LSI we are also conducting research related with 3D manufacturing as a recently awarded NSF-funded project. In addition, one PhD student is working on simulation of membrane mass transfer that may provide important data to develop a membrane heat pump system.

    Research Projects


    1. Thermal properties of a cell as a biomarker to detect early-stage epithelial ovarian cancer (Sponsor NSF-CBET)
    2. Cellular level temperature measurement for photothermal damage mechanism (Sponsor: AFOSR)
    3. Cellular level mechanical characterization due to laser-initiated cavitation bubbles (Sponsor: AFOSR expected)


    1. Study of water transport through nanocomposite membranes using an MD simulation tool (Sponsor: KIMM)
    2. Mechanical properties characterization based on phononic crystals (Sponsor: NSF-EFRI)



    Lab location: F102B & F102E
    Faculty/Staff: Tae-Youl Choi
  • Thermal Laboratory

    Research in the thermal laboratory focuses on projects such as the latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) system using phase change materials (PCMs) for large-scale electricity generation in concentrated solar power (CSP) plants. Research is also being done into high-temperature PCMs (melting points above 700 °C) combined with graphite foam to significantly increase the effective thermal conductivity, and therefore, enhance the heat transfer performance in the LHTES system. Researchers are also investigating on dispersing nanoparticles in the PCMs to improve the latent heat of fusion. Another area being researched is the efficient thermal control technologies for the power electronics heat removal in hybrid electric or all-electric vehicles, i.e., use of vapor chamber combined with high thermal conductivity graphite foam to enhance the heat spreading, studying on a novel jet impingement configuration to enhance the heat removal capacity.

    Weihuan Zhao Ph.D.
    Zhao’s research interests focus on thermo-fluids sciences, including computational heat transfer and fluid dynamics, thermal management technologies, thermal energy storage, PCMs, and thermal-fluids experimental design. She is working on innovative solutions for built environment and human comfort using PCMs. She is also working closely with researchers at Argonne National Laboratory on the numerical modeling and analyses of the high-efficiency thermal energy storage for concentrated solar power plants. Zhao is currently the research director of the Zero-Energy (ZØE) Facility at UNT.

    Research Projects

    1) High efficiency latent heat based thermal energy storage system for concentrated solar power plant
    2) Use of PCMs for efficient building temperature control and energy savings
    3) Infiltrated Boron nitride nanotubes by PCM for thermal management
    4) Thermal transport analysis in 3D pillared-graphene structures
    5) Investigation of the Fresnel-lens based solar concentrator system for efficient usage of solar energy

    Lab location: F102C
    Faculty/Staff: Weihuan Zhao

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