Thermal Science research aims at developing fundamental understanding of basic and applied thermodynamics.  It covers the laws of Thermodynamics, thermodynamic processes, heat and mass transfer at various scales (nano, micro, and macro), efficient engines and refrigeration power cycles, combustion (thermal effects and chemical reactions), energy transport and storage, fluid mechanics, building urban and distributed systems, and development of materials for energy, among others, in a wide range of applied thermal science and engineering applications strongly linked to industry.

Specific priorities include sustainability of energy systems, renewable energy, energy conservation and storage, energy efficiency and climate change mitigation, reduction and efficient use of non-renewable sources, sustainable water management, alternative fuels, and more.  The faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering performs theoretical, experimental, and numerical research that responds to these challenges building on their considerable expertise in a wide spectrum of areas of science and technology that include:

  • Solar Thermal Processes and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)
  • Thermal Energy Storage (TES) Materials and Systems
  • Sustainable Fuels: Solar including Hydrogen, Biofuels
  • Clean Combustion and Carbon Utilization and Storage
  • Low- or no-carbon-trace combustion technologies
  • Air-Conditioning, Refrigeration, Radiative Cooling, and High-performance Buildings
  • Thermal Desalination and Water Treatment
  • Waste-to-Energy (WTE)
  • Waste Heat Recovery (WHR)
  • Catalysis
  • Electronics Thermal Management
  • Optimization of industrial processes and power plants
  • Multiphase Flows and Separation
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Thermoelectric Energy Conversion
  • Heat Exchangers
  • Nanocomposites
  • Moving boundary Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Phase Change Heat Transfer at Micro/Nano Scale
  • Evaporation and Melting in Porous Media
R&D Projects

Dry Reforming of Methane for Hydrogen production

Leads: Dr. Abdallah Sofiane Berrouk & Dr. Fahad AlOtaibi

The objective of this research is to build accurate CFD models for fluidized beds hosting dry methane reforming process for Hydrogen production. These CFD models should generate enough accurate set of data to be used to develop reduced-order surrogate models. Based on the latter, guidelines for process operation and intensification will be proposed to help its design. Both Euler-Euler and Euler-Lagrangian approaches will be tested and appropriate heat and mass transfer models along chemical reactions lump models will be plugged to the two-phase flow solvers.  The CFD models will be validated against available data in the literature and data generated by the other CeCaS projects. Validated CFD models will be used to generate the amount and type of data needed to build reduced-order models necessary for process intensification purposes. The Research is funded by KU Research Center on Catalyst and Separation (CeCaS).

CO2 Capture Using Rotating Packed Bed Technology

Leads: Dr. Abdallah Sofiane Berrouk & Dr. Mohamed Alshehhi, Muhammed Saeed (PDF), Yezaz Ahmed (RE), Ahmad Alatyar (PhD)

CO2 capture is an important area for industries concerned with reducing carbon footprint and increasing environmental sustainability.  It is particularly important for the petroleum industry because of the high-reward application of CO2 as solvent for EOR.  The cost for the CO2 capture is high and developments are needed to bring it down.   Challenges facing cheap and efficient capture of CO2 can be alleviated through Process Intensification (PI) of CO2 capture processes.  Different PI technologies have been investigated over the years with rotating packed bed (RPB) technology playing an increasing role due to the potential of a several-order-of-magnitude mass transfer enhancement induced by the Higee field. The goal of this research funded by Khalifa University is to investigate operability of RPB reactor in the context of CO2 capture from low-pressure sources.  The purpose is to build physical and numerical models of the proposed RPB reactor to quantify the potential of RPB technology to intensify conventional solvent-based CO2 capture processes.

Moving Boundary CFD Group

Lead: Dr.  Yit Fatt Yap

Numerical modeling of moving boundary problems in heat, mass and momentum transfer.

In-house CFD code for moving boundary problems including multiphase flow, particle deposition, phase change heat transfer, etc.

Flow Induced Vibrations (FIV) of heat exchanger tubes

Leads: Dr. Md. Didarul Islam, Co-investigators: Prof. Isam Janajreh, Dr. Rodney Simmons, Dr. Yit Fatt Yap

Flow-induced vibration (FIV) of cylindrical structures is a long established field of study, having both fundamental and practical significances. In the modern world, industrial and engineering architectures are combinations of multiple cylindrical structures, such as tubes in heat exchangers in nuclear power plants, cables of cable-stayed bridges, chimney stacks, transmission lines, offshore structures, marine cables, towed cables, drilling and production risers in petroleum production,  pipelines, cable-laying and other hydrodynamic applications.

Flow-induced vibration (FIV), due to its large amplitude and frequent occurrence, is a serious problem associated with the cooling/heat-exchanger systems in nuclear plants. It diminishes coolant capacity and causes fatigue damage and failure, which can lead to catastrophic nuclear meltdown.  The vibration of fuel tube induced by the cross flow of the coolants was firstly observed in a high flux nuclear reactor in 1948 in USA. The phenomenon has been observed and reported in many countries, including China, Japan, USA, Germany, U.K., France, Belgium, Australia and Denmark. To understand the behavior of this complex interactive vibration system and its effect on thermal performance, this project aims to study experimentally and numerically a cross flow heat transfer of single cylinder, tandem cylinders and multiple cylinders as a tractable representative model of cross flow heat exchanger in the presence of FIV. Comprehensive experiments, including FIV on downstream cylinder measured, vortex dynamics visualized and associated heat transfer measured and analyzed, buttressed with detailed numerical simulations are employed to obtain deeper understanding of these fully-coupled phenomena, to develop effective FIV countermeasures and hence increase the reliability of the nuclear-reactor cooling system.  This will increase the public confidence on nuclear power plant safety in the UAE. A wind tunnel investigation will be conducted of FIV of single/tandem cylinders in the Thermal energy lab, SAN campus, KU with the facilities of Thermal Infrared camera, High speed camera etc.

Figure: ELD 12” Open Circuit Wind Tunnel in Thermal and energy lab, SAN Campus