Dr. Yangying Zhu — Microscale Thermal-Fluids Engineering for Energy and Water Applications

Yangying Zhu image

Location: Interactive Learning Pavillion (ILP) 1203


Talk Description:

Effective management of thermal-fluids transport has become a critical challenge in many energy, water, and electronic applications due to the increasing power density and shrinking length scales. In this talk, I will first describe our effort to manipulate multi-phase fluid motion using light-responsive surfactants. Upon illuminating droplets and bubbles with light, the surfactants at the fluid-fluid interfaces go through photo-isomerization, which changes the local interfacial tension and introduces a Marangoni flow. The resulting interfacial shear stress generates a net force on the bubble or the droplets, causing them to depart or slide along the surface. We demonstrate real-time manipulation of multi-phase fluidic systems using low intensity light which can potentially enhance phase change heat transfer. I will also describe our effort to achieve passive salt-rejecting solar thermal desalination by thin-film condensation in microporous membrane which utilizes ample three-phase contact area, salt diffusion and a low vapor transport resistance. With our design, we demonstrate continuous desalination of seawater for 7-days in one Sun with no salt precipitation. These examples demonstrate the potential of combining fundamental thermo-fluid science and advanced micro/nano engineering approaches to address many of the pressing thermal challenges in energy and water systems.

Speaker Bio:

Yangying Zhu started as an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering department at University of California, Santa Barbara in July, 2019. Her work focuses on thermal management and characterizations of energy and electronic systems. She obtained her PhD from MIT, advised by Prof. Evelyn Wang, where she developed microsystems for aggressive cooling of electronics. During her postdoc with Prof. Yi Cui at Stanford University, she investigated thermal effects in lithium-based batteries. She received the NSF CAREER award, the Meredith Kamm Memorial Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis and the graduate Women of Excellence Award from MIT.

GRIT Talks:

"Ground-breaking Research/Innovative Technology," or GRIT Talks, is a UC Santa Barbara lecture series featuring a lineup of esteemed faculty. These 28 minute talks, followed by a 30 minute Q&A session, provide an insider look at innovative research happening at the university.