University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Complex Fluids and Multiphase Flows: Aerosols, Emulsions, and Suspensions

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. Our group's research interests are in fundamental studies of the dynamics of complex interfaces and multiphase flows. 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 microfludics of multiphase flows.


Dec 2020: Exciting UMN Mech Eng - Industry partnerships recently highlighted on filtration fluids and agricultural sprays, including a shout out to our work on droplet dynamics.

Dec 2019: Prof Dutcher is delighted to share that she will be jointly appointed in Mechanical Engineering (ME) and Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (CEMS) departments, starting July 2020.

Dec 2019: Shihao Liu passed his Mechanical Engineering oral preliminary exam. Congrats Shihao!

Dec 2019: Shweta Narayan has accepted a position at Intel, starting end of summer 2020. Congrats Shweta!

Nov 2019: Athena Metaxas has accepted a position at PolyOne, starting end of summer 2020. Congrats Athena!

Nov 2019: Rana Bachnak has passed the mechanical engineering doctoral oral qualifying exams. Congrats Rana!

Nov 2019: Rana Bachnak and Maggie House have joined the lab as first year PhD students in mechanical engineering (Rana) and chemical engineering and materials science (Maggie). Welcome Rana and Maggie!

Oct 2019: Richard Arnold and Samantha Miller have joined the Dutcher Lab as undergraduate researchers, to explore temperature control for multiphase microfluidic flows. Welcome Richard and Sam!

Aug 2019: Shweta Narayan has written a great article for Ensia on Clean Energy Technology. Check it out!

July 2019: The Dutcher Lab welcomes Summer REU student, Ruth Olson. Ruth will be studying particle-particle interactions in Taylor-Couette flows. Welcome Ruth!

July 2019: Professor Dutcher is the a new IPrime Faculty member. She is excited to join the the Coating Process Fundamentals Program (CPFP).

July 2019: SeaSCAPE 2019 has kicked off! The NSF Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment (CAICE) has started its summer of aerosol sampling from a 33 meter long wave flume filled with 3,400 gallons of seawater. Priyatanu Roy will be joining the team this July to collect bulk, sea surface microlayer, and aerosol samples.

June 2019: Athena Metaxas has been selected as a two-time recipient of the CEMS Outstanding TA Award. She is receiving this award for Structural Characterization Lab (Fall 2018) and Materials Processing Lab (Spring 2019). Well done, Athena!

June 2019: Dr. Lucy Nandy, Shihao Liu, and Connor Gunsbury's first author paper, "Multistep Phase Transitions in Sea Surface Microlayer Droplets and Aerosol Mimics using Microfluidic Wells", has been accepted by ACS Earth and Space Chemistry. The work was a part of an exciting NSF CAICE collaboration with Prof. Kim Prather and group members Xiaofei Wang and Matthew Pendergraft at UCSD and Scripps on the physical phase transformations of sea spray aerosols. Congrats to all! Sea Surface Microlayer (SSML) Droplets and Phase, CAICE News

June 2019: Shweta Narayan and Hallie's Boyer's co-authored paper, "Increasing Isoprene Epoxydiol-to-Inorganic Sulfate Aerosol (IEPOX:Sulfinorg) Ratio Results in Extensive Conversion of Inorganic Sulfate to Organosulfur Forms: Implications for Aerosol Physicochemical Properties", has been accepted by Environmental Science and Technology. The work represents a major collaboration on sulfur-containing aerosols led by Jason Surratt (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Andy Ault (University of Michigan). Congrats to all! Inorganic-to-Organic Sulfate Conversions in Aerosols

May 2019: Prof. Dutcher spoke at the Board of Regents meeting on the importance of atmospheric aerosols on our climate. May 2019 BOR, Dutcher remarks at 1hr:05min.

May 2019: Prof. Dutcher has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Congrats on tenure, Cari!

May 2019: Dr. Hallie Boyer will be the newest assistant professor of mechanical engineering this fall at the University of North Dakota (UND). Congrats Hallie!

May 2019: Priyatanu Roy has passes the mechanical engineering doctoral preliminary exams. Congrats Priyatanu!

May 2019: Prof. Dutcher has been awarded the George W. Taylor Career Development Award by the College of Science and Engineering. The Taylor Career Development Award recognizes exceptional contributions to teaching by a candidate for tenure. Congrats Cari!

News Archive

Contact Information:

Prof. Cari S. Dutcher
University of Minnesota
Mechanical Engineering Department
111 Church St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Office: 111 Mechanical Engineering
e-mail: cdutcher at umn dot edu
Phone: 612-624-0428


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