Contact InformationSean Peterson

Phone: 519-888-4567 x38722
Location: ERC 3007


Biography Summary

Sean Peterson is a Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering professor who is the head of the University of Waterloo Fluid Flow Physics Group. Professor Peterson also holds an affiliated faculty position in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

The UW Fluid Flow Physics group focuses on understanding fundamental and applied fluid mechanics problems using a blend of analytical modelling, numerical simulation, and experimental observation. Current research topics include understanding the influence of implanted stents on flow structures in curved arteries, robotic fish propulsion using novel smart materials, and energy harvesting from coherent fluid structures.

One of professor Peterson’s research projects is Energy Harvesting from Small-Scale Fluid Structures, which addresses the challenge of extracting usable energy from small-scale aquatic environments. More specifically, this program seeks to exploit coherent fluid flow structures for energy harvesting.

Professor Peterson’s group is also heavily involved in studying the Laminar Flow in a Curved Tube with an Implanted Stent Model. This research examines the role of stent struts, that is, implanted mechanical devices for reopening an occluded vessel, on the axial and secondary fluid flow development. This problem is tackled from an analytical perspective, modelling the stent as a small perturbation to a nominally circular cross-sectional geometry, as well as experimentally and numerically when the flow parameters and geometry are such that the analytical problem is intractable. This fundamental flow study has implications beyond the vasculature, such as heat transfer and mixing.

Research Interests

  • Fluid mechanics
  • Biofluid mechanics
  • Cardiovascular flows
  • Energy harvesting
  • Fluid-structure interaction
  • Underwater propulsion
  • Smart materials
  • Vortex dynamics
  • Optical diagnostic methods for fluid mechanics


  • 2006, Doctorate, Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University
  • 2001, Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University
  • 1998, Bachelor of Science (BSc), Mechanical Engineering, Arizona State University


  • ME 351 - Fluid Mechanics 1
    • Taught in 2017, 2018
  • ME 362 - Fluid Mechanics 2
    • Taught in 2017, 2019
  • ME 564 - Aerodynamics
    • Taught in 2017, 2018, 2020
  • ME 765 - Spec Tpcs in Fluid Mechanics
    • Taught in 2018, 2019
  • ME 770 - Topics in Heat & Fluid Flow
    • Taught in 2018, 2020
* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Cellini, Filippo and Block, Leanne and Li, Jie and Khapli, Sachin and Peterson, Sean D and Porfiri, Maurizio, Mechanochromic response of pyrene functionalized nanocomposite hydrogels, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 234, 2016, 510 - 520
  • Cha, Youngsu and Chae, Woojin and Kim, Hubert and Walcott, Horace and Peterson, Sean D and Porfiri, Maurizio, Energy harvesting from a piezoelectric biomimetic fish tail, Renewable Energy, 86, 2016, 449 - 458
  • Cellini, Filippo and Zhou, Liwei and Khapli, Sachin and Peterson, Sean D and Porfiri, Maurizio, Large deformations and fluorescence response of mechanochromic polyurethane sensors, Mechanics of Materials, 93, 2016, 145 - 162
  • Hadwin, Paul J and Galindo, Gabriel E and Daun, Kyle J and Zañartu, Matías and Erath, Byron D and Cataldo, Edson and Peterson, Sean D, Non-stationary Bayesian estimation of parameters from a body cover model of the vocal folds, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 139(5), 2016, 2683 - 2696
  • Book, Jennifer and Prince, Chekema N and Villar, Rodrigo and Hughson, Richard L and Peterson, Sean D, Investigating the impact of passive external lower limb compression on central and peripheral hemodynamics during exercise, European journal of applied physiology, 116(4), 2016, 717 - 727

Graduate Studies