Thermal Engineering Lab

Vanderbilt University


Forms, Etc.

Lab Calendar

Reserve the A655sc

Target Conferences


The Thermal Engineering Lab at Vanderbilt consists of approximately $900\unit{ft^2}$ of combined laboratory and office space for graduate and undergraduate student work. The experimental capability primarily consists of thermal characterization and test equipment including thermal cameras, pyrometers, thermistors, thermocouples, heat flux gauges and a Nikon D-70 digital image camera. Other equipment includes a constant temperature baths, various power supplies, pulse generators and data acquisition computers. The graduate student office space is equipped with networked desktop workstations (for each student), and laser and color printers. The bulk of the computational work is performed on Vanderbilt's shared cluster resource for scientific investigation The Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education (ACCRE) is built and operated by Vanderbilt faculty. ACCRE offers computing resources flexible enough to enable High Performance Computing applications in a wide variety of research and education areas. All ACCRE hardware resources are housed in the University's secure data center and administered by a team of ACCRE system administrators. In addition to the High Performance Computing system (described in detail below), ACCRE has mulitple terabytes of disk space and a robotic tape storage system. Vanderbilt University is an Internet2 member and a participant in the Abilene network. The TEL's participation in ACCRE varies with support. For a detailed description of the cluster and related hardware, see the ACCRE website

Equipment List

Muffle furnace ThermoScientific FB1415M <1100C
Pizza Oven Blue M OV-18A <250C
Muffle furnace Thermolyne Type 46100 <1700C
Constant temperature bath Boekel-Grant LB 600
Thermal camera Mikron Thermo Tracer TS7300
Thermal camera Flir A655sc 25deg lens
Close focus lens Mikron TH71-378 50um
Thermocouple block Omega OMB-DAQ-56 software
Pyrometer Omega OS523-2
Thermocouple welder DCC Corporation Hotspot II
Plasma cleaner Electro-Technic Products BD-20AC
Calibration light source Avantes AvaLight DH-CAL deuterium and halogen
Light source Fostec DCR EKE
Power supply/amplifier Kepco
Mini centrifuge Fisher Scientific
Ultrasonicator Hielscher UP200S
Mass balance Mettler XS104
Oscilloscope Tektronics TDS 2012 2ch 100MHz 1GS/s
Oscilloscope Tektronics DPO 3034 4ch 300MHz 2.5GS/s user manual
5V PMT power supply Hamamatsu C10709
15V PMT power supply Hamamatsu C7169
PMT module (2) Hamamatsu H10721 5V
PMT module Hamamatsu H10722-01 5V
PMT module (5) Hamamatsu H5783 15V
PMT Hamamatsu R3896 on loan from NASA
Xenon lamp Newport SP70525-4976
405nm CW laser system Coherent OBIS 200mW
Power meter Thorlabs DET10A
Fiber microscope Thorlabs FS200
Function generator Tektronics AFG 3021C
US pulser/receiver Olympus 5072 PR
Mass balance Denver Instrument XP-300
Spectrometer Avantes Avaspec 2048
DAQ board National Instruments BNC-2120
Pulse generator DEI PDG-2510
Function generator Wavetek Model 19
Parastaltic pump Reglo Analog MS-2/12
Pressure transducer Setra Model 230
Desiccator Wheaton 100mm dry-seal
Tunable dye laser EG&G Princeton Applied Research Model 2100 trade info
Links are to datasheets or sales brochures (with specs).

Graduate Fellowships

Hertz FoundationLast year of Undergraduate to First year
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipLast year of Undergraduate to Second year Graduate, U.S.
NDSEGLast year of Undergraduate to Second year Graduate, U.S. Citizen or
SMARTLast year of Undergraduate to Second year Graduate, U.S. Citizen or
Computational Science Research FellowshipLast year of Undergraduate to Second year Graduate, U.S. Citizen or
NASA Graduate Research FellowshipU.S.
Ford FoundationU.S. Citizen or
EAPSIGraduate, U.S. Citizen or National
GEMU.S. Citizen and a member of a minority
ASME Graduate Teaching FellowshipGraduate, U.S. Citizen or
Association for Women in ScienceEnrolled in a Ph.D. program at a U.S.
Argonne National LaboratoryU.S. Citizen or

Graduate Student Guidelines


This document contains general guidelines for graduate students working in my research group. The document is not, and cannot be, comprehensive; but it should provide students with a framework for successful research.

Objectives of Academic Research

  1. We seek to advance new and important knowledge in the field of engineering. We will often utilize the work of others, but our fundamental objective is to create new ideas and test them with sound engineering research.
  2. We seek to communicate our ideas and results to the technical community. To this end, we will publish any work that substantially advances new knowledge in archival journals and conference proceedings.
  3. We will be thorough and respectful in identifying and acknowledging the work of others. Each student must regularly monitor the available literature.
  4. We will gain an appreciation for the excitement of discovery. To this end, we will encourage and assist each other in our projects.
  5. We will teach each other through frequent interaction and exchange of ideas.

Research Project Overview

  1. Each research project must begin with a thorough literature review. Each student is expected to review literature on a weekly basis--put it into your schedule!
  2. Each student must demonstrate creativity in proposing a research topic that should advance new knowledge. I will guide this process but will not assign thesis/dissertation topics. This approach ensures that each student has the opportunity to develop his/her unique ideas.
  3. After a topic is selected, each student should attempt to provide a simple model (either theoretical, experimental, or computational) that verifies the feasibility of her/his concept.
  4. After the demonstration of feasibility, each student should rigorously pursue the goals of his/her project. This process may take much time. However, the student must endeavor to maintain a consistently high level of motivation to complete the project.
  5. The results of research should be publishable in archival journals. A M.S. thesis should produce at least one paper. A Ph.D. dissertation should produce at least three papers.

Other Comments

  1. I will be available through weekly meetings and informal conversations. Students should never feel that they are imposing on my time.
  2. Periods of frustration come with virtually any worthwhile scientific endeavor. Only hard work, intelligence, and creativity will enable students to overcome these frustrations. Simply waiting for problems to disappear never works.
  3. Note that plagiarism defined as "copying or imitating the language, ideas, and thoughts of another author and passing off the same as one's original work" (Barnhart, 1968) is a violation of the Vanderbilt Honor System and unacceptable in my program.
  4. Students are encouraged to submit applications for graduate fellowships. In particular, the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG) and the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRF) are near the end of fall semester. Not only will these fellowships offer a slightly higher stipend, the prestige of an award can be quite helpful after an advanced degree. The content of the application should be discussed prior to submission, but the submission should represent the work of the student.
  5. Students are expected to publish their work. Because each project is different in terms of difficulty and maturity, no fixed schedule of publication is provided. This should be discussed regularly with me.


The list below contains courses that are relevant to our research. Students should expect to take a significant cross-section of courses listed as Core to your particular program and Additional Thermo-Fluids. In addition, courses from several other areas are listed.

Core ME

ME 326Statistical ThermodynamicsPitz
ME 363Conduction and Radiation Heat TransferWalker

Additional thermo-fluids

ME 265Direct Energy ConversionStrauss
ME 327Energy Conversion SystemsStrauss
Che 311Advanced Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
Che 312Transport PhenomenaJennings

Math and Numerical Methods

SC 250Scientific Computing ToolboxBodenheimer/Palmeri/Walker
MATH 219Applied Statistics
MATH 229Advanced Enigineering Math
MATH 234Initial and Boundary Value Problems
MATH 261Complex Variables
MATH 292Mathematical Physics
Che 310Applied Math in Chemical Engineering
CE 307Finite Element Analysis
CS 255Intro to Numerical Mathematics
MATH 286Numerical Analysis
MATH 288Introduction to Optimization

Physics and Electrical Engineering

PHYS 221Classical and Modern Optics
PHYS 251a-bIntroductory Quantum Mechanics
PHYS 254Physics of Condensed Matter
PHYS 305Particle and Continuum Mechanics
EECE 283Principles and Models of Semiconductor Devices
EECE 284Integrated Circuit Technology and Fabrication
EECE 285VLSI Design
EECE 301Introduction to Solid State Materials
EECE 306Solid-State Effects and Devices ISchrimpf
EECE 307Solid State Effects and Devices IISchrimpf

Laboratory Instrumentation

BME 271Biomedical Instrumentation


ConferenceTime of YearNotes
ThermesJanuaryheld every four years
ISHMTJanuaryheld every other year
IThermMayheld every other year
InterpackJulyusually colocated with HTC
HTCJulyusually colocated with Interpack
Copyright 2008 Vanderbilt University