J. Richard (Rick) Culham

Special Advisor to the Dean; Professor, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering
J. Richard (Rick) Culham

Contact information

Phone: 519-888-4586, 519-888-4586
Location: E7 7324, CPH 3652


Microelectronics Heat Transfer Laboratory

Biography summary

J. Richard (Rick) Culham is the Special Advisor to the Dean for the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Prior to assuming this role, he was the Interim Dean of Engineering (January 1, 2020 - July 1, 2020), and prior to that, the Vice-Dean of Engineering. He is a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

Prof. Culham is a founding member of the Microelectronics Heat Transfer Laboratory (MHTL), a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO).

As Director of the MHTL, Prof. Culham’s research interests involve the modelling and characterization of contacting interfaces and thermal interface materials. His group specializes in the development of analytical and empirical models at the micro- and nano-scales for natural and forced convection cooling, optimization of electronics systems using entropy generation minimization and the characterization of thermophysical properties in electronic and opto-electronic materials.

Prof. Culham has many years of experience in modelling and the development of thermoelectric devices. His expertise is related to the thermal management of integrated nano-devices and thermal/electric energy conversion, as well as the modelling and characterization of nano-fluids for heat transport in micro-scale heat exchangers.

Prof. Culham has more than 150 publications in refereed journals and conferences in addition to numerous technical reports related to microelectronics cooling.

Research interests

  • analytical modeling
  • experimental methods
  • thermal system optimization
  • thermal interfaces
  • microscale and nanoscale heat transfer
  • contact and spreading resistance
  • automotive
  • energy
  • nanotechnology
  • entropy generation minimization
  • Energy storage
  • Power systems
  • Nano-electronics


  • 1989, Doctorate, Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo
  • 1979, Master's, Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo
  • 1978, Bachelor's, Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo

Selected/recent publications

  • Makinde, OD and Khan, WA and Culham, JR, MHD variable viscosity reacting flow over a convectively heated plate in a porous medium with thermophoresis and radiative heat transfer, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 93, 2016, 595 - 604
  • Khan, ZH and Culham, JR and Khan, WA and Pop, I, Triple convective-diffusion boundary layer along a vertical flat plate in a porous medium saturated by a water-based nanofluid, International Journal of Thermal Sciences, 90, 2015, 53 - 61
  • Khan, Waqar A and Culham, J Richard and Makinde, O Daniel, Combined heat and mass transfer of third-grade nanofluids over a convectively-heated stretching permeable surface, The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, 93(10), 2015, 1880 - 1888
  • Khan, WA and Culham, JR and Khan, ZH and Pop, I, Triple diffusion along a horizontal plate in a porous medium with convective boundary condition, International Journal of Thermal Sciences, 86, 2014, 60 - 67
  • Galvis, E and Yarusevych, S and Culham, JR, Incompressible laminar developing flow in microchannels, Journal of Fluids Engineering, 134(1), 2012

In the news

Graduate studies

  • Not currently accepting applications for graduate students