Energy Technology and Thermodynamics

Energy is a leading concern of our modern society, and Duke University, the Pratt School of Engineering and our department are significantly engaged in developing and enabling new energy sources and flows as well as improving the performance, sustainability and affordability of energy use.

Energy technology and thermodynamics research in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science focuses on:

  • Convection in porous media
  • Magnetic bearings
  • Melting and solidification
  • Natural convection
  • Second law of Thermodynamics analysis
  • Thermal design by entropy generation minimization
  • Tribology
  • Energy harvesting
  • Two-phase heat transfer
  • Technology evolution
  • Constructal law of design and evolution in nature
  • Energy conversion and storage

Examples of research projects include design with constructal theory; optimal distribution of cooling during gas compression; networks of channels for self-healing composite materials; magnetic suspension for the control of vibrations in rotating machinery; nonlinear behavior of a magnetic bearing system; propulsion and power generation at the micro scale; impurity diffusion mechanisms and point defects in silicon and III-V compounds; line defects; precipitation and gettering; kinetic processes of defect evolution; x-ray scattering and electron microscopy; development of new materials for photovoltaic energy conversion; and crystal growth in nano-scale.

Opportunities for Graduate Study

The department offers an M.S./Ph.D. study track in mechanical engineering with a core in thermal fluids with a focus on thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and transport phenomena.

The department also offers a program of study towards the Masters of Engineering (M.Eng) in Mechanical Engineering. This 30-credit degree program includes course work towards departmental requirements, an area of specialization, business and management fundamentals, and an internship or applied research experience. Students have the flexibility to focus on topics of thernodynamics, heat transfer, energy conversion device fabrication and analysis, and thermal and fluid systems relevant to preparation for an industrial career.

Faculty

J.A. Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Professor Bejan's research covers a wide range of topics in thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, convection and porous media. More recently, he developed the constructal law of design in nature.
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Our research deals with experimental and theoretical investigations of small-scale physicochemical hydrodynamics, where transport and interfacial phenomena closely interact with each other. By manipulating surface tension actively and passively, e.g. using electric fields and surface structures, we...
Professor with Tenure in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
A wide variety of areas in materials science, including crystal growth, mechanical properties of kidney stones, lunar science, diffraction optics, materials for radiation detection, and radiation shielding.
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Jeffrey T. Glass is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and is the Director of the Pratt School?s Master of Engineering Management Program at Duke University. He also holds the Hogg Family endowed chair in Engineering Management and Entrepreneurship. Formerly, he...
Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
My research interests are in the area of interfacial transport phenomena and thermodynamics in energy technology including phenomena at the micro- and nanoscale. Thermodynamics aspects of photovoltaics, novel sustainable energy conversion technologies, and chemical reactions are an essential part...
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Hydroelastic modeling of deformable structures, transport in thermal and chemical systems, experimental and computational fluid dynamics, nonlinear and complex systems, heat and mass transport in biological systems, stability of fluid motions, machine learning, data mining, econophysics, reduced...
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, and dynamics
Jeffrey N. Vinik Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Nonlinear dynamics and vibration utilizing analytical, numerical, and experimental techniques. Fundamental investigations of phenomenon and application areas where dynamical systems theory plays an important role.
Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineeringand Materials Scie
Gendell Family Associate Professor of the Practice
Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Impurity diffusion mechanisms and point defects in silicon and III-V compounds; line defects; precipitation and gettering; kinetic processes of defect evolution; x-ray scattering and electron microscopy; crystal growth in nano-scale
Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Theoretical and Experimental studies on concentration gradients arising in ionic fluids and magnetic liquids.
Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Dr Zhao's long-term research mission is to understand the fundamental mechanics and physics of materials and phenomena emerging on the interface between engineering and biological systems and to design new materials and structures capable of extraordinary applications in diverse technologies. Dr...