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
- 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 thermodynamics, heat transfer, energy conversion device fabrication and analysis, and thermal and fluid systems relevant to preparation for an industrial career.