(6ey) Quantifying Interfacial Transport Phenomena for Environmental and Biochemical Systems | AIChE

(6ey) Quantifying Interfacial Transport Phenomena for Environmental and Biochemical Systems

Research Interests:

Interfacial properties are crucial to determine the microstructure of multiphase materials and give rise to a rich set of macroscale flow responses. My goal is to establish and lead a world-class research group specialized in quantifying interfacial transport phenomena in complex fluids, with the overarching objective to develop predictive models for innovating applications to environmental and biochemical systems. In the first few years of my independent career, my group will focus on the following areas:

1. Surfactant-driven flow in porous media: Drug delivery inside lung airways is an example of transport in porous media, in which flows are spatio-temporally non-uniform due to physiological architectures. Surfactant is involved whose non-uniform distribution generates a bulk fluid flow. My group will simulate the species transport and dewetting mechanics under the influence of fluid-structure interactions and interfacial kinetics, with the aim to devising drug delivery protocols to address obstructive lung diseases, including cystic fibrosis. Our developed tools are also of value to chemical and environmental settings, such as designing membranes for filtering highly toxic discharge.

2. Nonequilibrium colloid dynamics: A colloidal dispersion exhibits a phase transition from a suspension to a gel, where key governing factors are interfacial properties of the colloids and the imposed force field. My group will model the nonequilibrium microstructure formation of colloids induced by various transient gradients, including chemical, density, electric, and magnetic potentials. We will construct a mean-field theory for the macroscopic advective-diffusive colloid transport, with the aim to achieving two main goals: first, to tailor time-dependent phase transition for extending shelf life of therapeutics; second, to transport colloidal species into/out of hard-to-reach geometries, relevant to underground oil recovery.

3. Electrokinetics, peristalsis, and hydrophobic slip: Peristaltic pumping is distinct from traditional pressure actuation in that it generates local flow recirculations. Its coupling to surface electrokinetics and slip of a microchannel offers huge potential in designing microfluidic platforms. My group will analyze the interfacial instability of two-fluid non-Newtonian flows under electrokinetic and peristaltic perturbations. The predictive model developed will enable and optimize a host of biochemical and industrial applications. For instance, drug encapsulation by instability-induced emulsification; particle sorting and controlled release by steady recirculation cells; rapid surface coating by stable fluid films; and fiber manufacturing by co-extrusion of a composite jet.

Teaching Interests:

My joy of teaching stems from my teaching philosophy which centers around the interaction between students and the instructor. I have cultivated my teaching experiences in a diverse cultural setting such as teaching assistant for undergraduate engineering mechanics, thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics (The University of Hong Kong), instructor and teaching assistant for undergraduate and graduate fluid mechanics (Cornell), and course designer for general engineering science in university-wide teaching conferences (Cornell). With my multidisciplinary educational background, I believe that I can succeed in teaching any undergraduate level chemical and mechanical engineering courses. I am also confident to teach fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, engineering mathematics, and numerical methods at graduate level. I am interested in developing and teaching electives in rheology of complex fluids and methods of applied mathematics.