Complex Fluids and Multiphase Flows

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Aerosols, Emulsions, Suspensions, and Foams

In the Dutcher Lab, we are interested in fundamental studies of the dynamics of complex interfaces and multiphase flows, with a particular focus on environmental remediation. Complex fluids are fluidic mixtures featuring multiple phases and mesoscopic length scales, and include atmospheric aerosols, liquid-liquid emulsions, polymeric solutions, and colloidal suspensions. These interface-rich systems are all around us in our everyday lives.

Using macro and micro-scale flow measurements and analytic mathematical modeling, we explore such areas as the thermodynamics of electrolyte-containing atmospheric aerosols, fluid dynamics and rheology of polymeric and particle-laden solutions, and microfluidics of multiphase flows.

Lab News

  • Feb 2024: Graduate student Nikhil Sethia passed his final PhD defense, with thesis entitled "Microfluidics to improve transplantation and cryopreservation of pancreatic islets and stem cell-derived β cell clusters". Congratulations Dr. Sethia!  
  • Feb 2024: First year Material Science and Engineering PhD student Homayra Tabassum Mumu has joined the Dutcher Lab.  Homayra will be primarily advised by Prof. Oggy Ilic, and work on particle-wave interactions at the microscale.  Welcome Homayra! 
  • Jan 2024: Graduate student Nikhil Sethia's paper "On chip sorting of stem cell-derived β cell clusters using traveling surface acoustic waves" was just accepted by Langmuir.  The manuscript was submitted in response to an invitation to be a part of a special issue for “2023 Pioneers in Applied and Fundamental Interfacial Chemistry (PAFICs): Janet A. W. Elliott”.  Nikhil led this collaborative effort with the Bischof group in Mechanical Engineering, Finger group in the Department of Surgery, as well as researchers in the Department of Physiology and Biomedical Eng at Mayo Clinic.  Congrats, Nikhil!
  • Dec 2023:  Graduate student Iaroslav Makhnenko has accepted a position as LTD Module and Integration Yield Engineer at Intel, starting summer 2024.  Congrats Iaroslav!  
  • Nov 2023:  Graduate student Nikhil Sethia has accepted a position as Sr. Engineer at Seagate Technology, starting spring 2024.  Congrats Nikhil!  
  • Nov 2023:  We are excited to welcome 1st year mechanical engineering PhD student Musarrat Makhnun and 1st year chemical engineering and materials science PhD student Pragnya Chatterjee to our group.  Welcome Musarrat and Pragnya!
  • Oct 2023:  Graduate student Iaroslav Makhnenko paper entitled "Spray droplet sizes from aqueous liquid sheets containing soluble surfactants and emulsified oils" was just accepted by Atomization and Sprays, in collaboration with researchers from Hogan Group (UMN) and at Winfield United.  Congrats All!  
  • Oct 2023:  Graduate student Nikhil Sethia won 1st place in the Medical Devices theme for his poster entitled, "Image recognition based high throughput sorting of particles in microscale flows" at the 2023 IEM Annual Conference Poster Competition held on Tuesday, September 26, 2023 at the McNamara Alumni Center.  The award comes with a certificate and a cash prize.  Congrats Nikhil! 
  • Sept 2023:  Graduate students Rana Bachnak and Chinmayee Panigrahi's paper entitled "The effect of surface interactions on the coalescence of water droplets in fuel" was just accepted by Energy and Fuels, in collaboration with researchers from Donaldson Company.  Congrats All!  
  • Aug 2023:  Undergraduate student Keiona Williams presented a poster entitled "Investigating Inorganic Ice Nucleating Particles using Microfluidic Platforms" at the ME^3 Poster Show and the Summer Undergraduate Research Expo (SURE) Poster Show.  Great work, Keiona!
  • June 2023:  Graduate student Maggie House's paper "Microfluidic platform for coupled studies of freezing behavior and final effloresced particle morphology in Snomax containing aqueous droplets" has recently been accepted for publication in Aerosol Science & Technology, as a part of a special issue on Aerosol Physical Chemistry.  Congrats Maggie!
  • June 2023:  Graduate student Shu Yang's paper "Instability and rupture of surfactant-laden bilayer thin liquid films", in collaboration with Prof. Satish Kumar, has recently been accepted for publication in Soft Matter. Congrats Shu!
  • June 2023:  We are excited to welcome Keiona Williams this summer, as a part of the NSF CAICE Summer Undergraduate Research Program.  Welcome Keiona!  
  • March 2023:  Graduate student Meenal Rathi passed her CEMS written preliminary exam!  Nice work, Meenal!
  • March 2023:  Dutcher group alums Dr. Vishal Panwar and Cassandra Vargas' paper entitled "Dispersion and mixing dynamics of complex oil-in-water emulsions in Taylor-Couette flows" has been published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, as a part of a two-part special virtual issue in celebration the centennial of G.I. Taylor's seminal Philosophical Transition 1923 paper.  
  • Feb 2023:  Dr. Shihao Liu on successfully defending his Mechanical Engineering PhD thesis entitled "Thermodynamic Modeling and Experimental Characterization of Bubble and Droplet Surface Tension from Micrometer to Millimeter Scale."  Many congratulations, Shihao!!  
  • Jan 2023:  Graduate student Shu Yang has passed her Mechanical Engineering preliminary exam.  Congrats Shu!

See Archived News for more!