Daniel P. Sellan, PhD
The University of Texas at Austin
My research is in the area of heat transfer science and engineering, an emerging field that seeks to develop an understanding of energy transport at an atomistic and carrier level [e.g., phonon (lattice vibration), photon, electron, and fluid particle]. I use a combination of atomistic calculations, statistical thermodynamics, traditional heat transfer analysis, and bulk and micro/nanoscale experiments to solve critical problems in energy research.
Inefficiencies in modern electronics and energy conversion units, such as mobile devices and photovoltaics, result in waste thermal energy that must be managed appropriately. Understanding the thermal transport properties of the bulk and nanostructured materials used in these devices is critical to improving their thermal performance. I will show that combining carrier-level calculations with novel experimental measurements results in a powerful tool to elucidate how size and structure affect local temperatures and heat fluxes in these devices. I will then describe measurements on high-thermal conductivity ultrathin-graphite foam composites that I fabricated to efficiently extract excess heat and store this thermal energy using a phase change material composite. I will conclude the talk with my views on next-generation materials for energy generation, transport, and storage.
Dan is a Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Texas at Austin working under the supervision of Professor Li Shi. His current research is funded by an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship (PDF) and the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program. Dan completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dean Cristina Amon in May 2012, where he held an NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS-D). He completed his BASc in Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo in May 2007, where he was a Dean’s Honours List scholar, a Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund (WEEF) Teaching Assistant, and a Co-Mechanical Lead on the University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team (UWAFT).