(6eo) Multiscale Approach to Future Energy Science and Engineering

Lu, Y., University of Tulsa
Research Interests:

My academic career path covers a variety of topics in energy science and engineering. My academic experiences in both Chemical Engineering Departments and Petroleum Engineering Departments provide me unique chances of conducting research at multiple scales of interests. My research in Petroleum Engineering Departments focuses on computational simulation of macroscopic transport processes from continuum viewpoints. Such approach strives to strike a balance between accuracy and feasibility, and thus are promising for industrial applications. My work in Chemical Engineering Departments, however, tackles problems from more microscopic perspectives and aims to elucidate the fundamental sciences at molecular levels or even below. From these experiences, I have acquired invaluable and versatile skills in various research topics including soft matter, complex fluids, multiphase transport, surface chemistry, molecular modeling, process simulation, and machine learning, with their applications in tackling various pressing issues in conventional and renewable energy fields. My research has already found several industrial applications for fuel transportation and biofuel production. For more information about my research, please visit my website at


Future Direction:

My diverse research experiences have led me to believe that future energy research can greatly benefit from an improved elucidation of the underlying physics involved at more microscopic levels. Thus, I envision my future research will employ a multiscale approach that combines perspectives from the disciplines of both Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Engineering to tackle the pressing issues in modern energy science and engineering. This type of research maintains the edges of current approaches used in the field, but blends with more microscopic perspectives with the aid of modern computational modeling techniques such as molecular modeling. It also incorporates the recent boom in artificial intelligence and data processing techniques such as machine learning. This represents long-term and highly interdisciplinary research that allows my research group to make valuable contributions to modern energy science and engineering. Specific research topics include:

a. Computational Guided Design of Functional Molecules for Controlling n-Alkane Crystallization and Gelation

(Research themes: Soft matter, Computational Chemistry, Material Science)

b. Reliable Prediction of Multiphase Flow Features by Machine Learning

(Research themes: Data Science, Multiphase Flow)

c. Numerical Simulation of n-Alkane Crystallization and Gelation in Multiphase Flow

(Research themes: Computational Physics, Multiphase Transport)

d. Multiscale Molecular Simulation of Bulk and Interfacial Behaviors of Asphaltenes

(Research theme: Molecular Simulation, Self-assembly, Interfacial Science)

Teaching Experiences:

I am an experienced instructor and dedicated mentor. I have supervised 2 Ph.D. and 2 M.S. students to successfully complete their degrees, and am currently mentoring 1 Ph.D. student, 2 M.S. students, and 2 undergraduate students. Furthermore, I have instructed 5 foundational courses, 1 laboratory course, and 1 senior design course across different departments in different countries. I value an interdisciplinary approach to teaching Chemical Engineering course, and emphasize improving students’ self-learning, critical thinking, and creative thinking skills.

Teaching Interests:

I enjoy teaching foundational chemical engineering courses including fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, transport, and laboratory, as well as advanced topics with vast applications in energy science and engineering, including rheology, colloid science, computational fluid dynamic simulation, molecular simulations. I am also interested in developing general skill improvement courses to enhance students’ problem solving, critical thinking, creative thinking and troubleshooting skills and to ease the transition from college to workplace.

Selected Publications (16 articles and 230+ citations):

First-author Articles:

1. Lu, Y.; Nariman Fathi Najafabadi and Abbas Firoozabadi. Effect of Low-Concentration of 1-Pentanol on the Wettability of Petroleum Fluid–Brine–Rock Systems. Langmuir 2019, 35 (12), 4263-4269

2. Lu, Y.; Nariman Fathi Najafabadi and Abbas Firoozabadi. Effect of Temperature on Wettability of Oil/Brine/Rock Systems. Energy & Fuels 2017, 31 (5), 4989-499

3. Lu, Y. and Savage, P. E. Supercritical Water Gasification of Lipid-extracted Hydrochar to Recover Energy and Nutrients. The Journal of Supercritical Fluids 2015, 99, 88-94

4. Lu, Y.; Levine, R. B. and Savage, P. E. Fatty Acids for Nutraceuticals and Biofuels from Hydrothermal Carbonization of Microalgae. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2015, 54, 4066-4071

5. Lu, Y.; Huang, Z.; Hoffmann, R.; Amundsen, L. and Fogler, H. S. The Counterintuitive Effects of Oil Flow Rate on Wax Deposition. Energy & Fuels 2012, 26, 4091-4097

Corresponding-author articles:

1. Liu, H.; Zhang, J. and Lu, Y.* Yielding characterization of waxy gels by energy dissipation. Rheologica Acta 2018, 57(6), 473-480

2. Liu, H.; Lu, Y.* and Zhang, J. A Comprehensive Investigation of the Viscoelasticity and Time-dependent Yielding Transition of Waxy Crude Oils. Journal of Rheology 2018, 62(2), 527-541

3. Li, Y.; Han, S.; Lu, Y.* and Zhang, J. Influence of Asphaltene Polarity on Crystallization and Gelation of Waxy Oils. Energy & Fuels 2018, 32, 1491-1497

4. Ma, C.; Lu, Y.*; Chen, C.; Feng, K.; Li, Z.; Wang, X. and Zhang, J. Electrical Treatment of Waxy Crude Oil to Improve Its Cold Flowability. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2017, 56 (38), 10920-10928

External Links:

1. Research website: https://sites.google.com/view/yingdalu/

2. Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=xdpCAR4AAAAJ&hl=en