In this research group, our focus lies on understanding the interplay of fluid dynamics and heat transfer of droplets and other multi-phase systems. Practical applications of interest are additive manufacturing, phase change heat transfer for thermal management and thermal storage, and droplet interactions with biological systems. To fundamentally study these thermal-fluidic interactions, we combine multiple experimental techniques, such as high-speed optical and infrared (IR) imaging, interferometry, confocal fluorescence microscopy, and conventional heat transfer measurements.

Current projects include the characterization of melt pool dynamics during metallic 3D printing, dropwise condensation heat transfer on lubricant-infused surfaces (LIS), the wettability of graphene, and droplet impact dynamics on hierarchical and bi-philic surfaces. For more information on projects, please see here.

We are currently looking to hire 1-2 PhD students.


We are also always looking for interested and motivated undergraduate students to participate in our research efforts.

Evaporation Paper Published


Wenliang’s and Junhui’s work on the influence of substrate orientation on evaporation heat transfer has been published in Langmuir. Congratulations!

Patty featured as alumna of UIUC


Patty just got featured on the alumni-news website of MechSE @ U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Patty receives funding from ACS


The American Chemical Society (ACS) Petroleum Research Fund has awarded Patty a 2-year grant to study the coupling of heat transfer and fluid flow in 2D microporous media.

Kate's paper published in IJHMT


Kate’s paper on melting and impact dynamics of ice particles on a heated water bath was just published in IJHMT. It elucidates the coupling of heat transfer and fluid dynamic for metallic additive manufacturing processes. CONGRATULATIONS!!


Patty receives NASA Grant


Patty received a NASA Early Career Faculty Award to study and develop a passive and compact liquid metal based heat switch. More information on the proposed technology can be found here and in an article featured in WashU Engineering News.


Patty awarded her first NSF grant


Recently, Patty was awarded a 3-year NSF grant to study nucleation and condensation dynamics of water droplets on lubricant-infused surfaces (LIS). Fundamental insights gained from this research will benefit the efficiency and durability of (power plant) condensers and water harvesting systems. The abstract to the award can be found here.

Jianxing, Vivek, and Patty at ICNMM2019


Jianxing, Vivek, and Patty (representing Kate) presented their work on dropwise condensation on LIS and ice particle melting in heated water baths at this year’s ASME International Conference for Nano-, Micro-, and Mini-Channels (ICNMM) in St. John’s, NL.

Best Poster Award for Jianxing at ICNMM2019


CONGRATULATIONS to Jianxing for his 1st place “Best Poster Award” at this year’s ASME ICNMM in St. John’s, NL. Keep up the good work!

Jianxing's first paper published in SM


Jianxing’s paper on the mobility of microdroplets during dropwise condensation on lubricant-infused surfaces was published in Soft Matter – CONGRATULATIONS!!