CAREER: Micro-structured Colloidal Suspensions: Nano-scale Hydrodynamics and Macroscopic Rheology and Thermal Conductivity

Project Details

Description

CAREER: Micro-structured Colloidal Suspensions: Nano-scale

Hydrodynamics and Macroscopic Rheology and Thermal Conductivity

The central principle of the proposed research is that particles or nanotubes in suspension can be precisely tuned to rotate and/or self-assemble under electric or magnetic fields. The PI proposes to use this basic concept to 1) study the nanoscale hydrodynamics of carbon nanotubes forced to rotate under carefully controlled torques induced by an external electric field, 2) investigate the reversible and dramatic changes in the rheological properties of dilute suspensions of carbon nanotubes under electric fields, and 3) study the dramatically increased and anisotropic thermal conductivity of microstructured suspensions under external fields. The latter two projects in particular are related by the underlying theme that 'smart' fluids with tunable thermal and flow properties can be made by inducing microstructure in colloids. Such smart fluids could have practical applications as advanced heat-transfer fluids for micro-processor cooling and other industrial applications, as well as in such devices as clutches, dampers, and automotive shock absorbers. The research effort will be integrated into an outreach, educational, and mentoring program aimed at female students, who are historically under-represented in engineering. In collaboration with the Douglass Project, an established STEM outreach program at a women's college, the PI will provide: 1) a hands-on introduction to engineering to 9th-and 10th-grade girls through 'Weekend Academies,' and 2) in-depth laboratory experiences and mentoring for undergraduate women. The material that is developed for the Weekend Academies focusing on engineering will be made available to other students through an interactive web page. The general theme of the proposed research, micro-structured nanotube and nanoparticle suspensions, should be effective at attracting and retaining new students to engineering, because it is novel, of topical interest, and inherently multidisciplinary in nature.

StatusFinished
Effective start/end date2/1/071/31/13

Funding

  • National Science Foundation: $415,000.00

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