University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Transport Phenomena Laboratory

Contact: Terrance W. Simon
Mechanical Engineering 235
Telephone: (612) 625-5831

Plasma torch set-up








Work in the thermal management of electronics

Research activities in the Thermodynamics and Heat transfer Division are performed in the Heat Transfer Laboratory, a center of excellence in the thermal sciences. Following its founding in 1950, under the leadership of E.R.G. Eckert, and reflecting the seminal contribution of Profs., Rowley, Jordan, Sparrow and Goldstein, the Heat Transfer Laboratory quickly established a national and international reputation and has remained at the forefront of heat transfer research and graduate education for more than 45 years. Many of the luminaries of the heat transfer community are, or have been, associated with the Heat Transfer Laboratory. Among its current faculty are four members of the National Academy of Engineering and three past winners of the Max Jacob Award, as well as winners of numerous other professional society, national, and international thermal science and engineering awards.

Current Research Current investigations in the Heat Transfer Laboratory involve approximately 80 graduate students and span a broad range of fundamental and applied subjects, related to thermal, thermofluid, and thermo-structural phenomena. Over the past seven years, the Heat Transfer Laboratory faculty have supervised to completion an average of 7 Ph.D. theses and 10 M.S. theses each year. This research is sponsored by various government agencies and private industry. Many of these studies are motivated by the need for greater understanding of the underlying phenomena and for improved control of material processing, the formation of synthetic materials, and thin film deposition, as well as the nucleation of particles, ice crystals, and vapor bubbles. Much of the activity of the Heat Transfer Laboratory is devoted to the thermal regulation of biological systems, gas turbine and jet engine design and performance, and the physical design and enhanced reliability of electronic systems.

Laboratory Facilities The investigations underway are carried out in several distinct research laboratories, which focus on: High Temperature and Plasma Technology, a laboratory founded by Prof. Emil Pfender; Numerical Thermofluid Simulation; Turbulent Convective Heat Transfer, including gas turbine research laboratories; Shear Flow Control; Bioheat and Mass Transfer; and Thermal Management of Electronic Systems.

The Laboratory provides several subsonic wind tunnels and air flow loops, electronic data acquisition and processing systems, conditioned dielectric liquid flow facilities, interferometers, hot-wire anemometers, laser-Doppler velocimeters, a particle image velocimeter, spectroscopic devices, high-resolution pressure meters, and mass transfer measuring devices. Advanced PCs and workstations are available in the Heat Transfer Laboratory to meet the computational needs of the faculty and students and to provide convenient access to the University's Mainframe Computers and Supercomputers.