Research

Our group does basic research in transport phenomena, fluid dynamics, electrochemistry, and applied mathematics motivated by engineering problems in energy and the environment. Current projects include:

  1. Electrochemical Systems
    • Li-ion Batteries
      Non-equilibrium thermodynamics of lithium ion intercalation in composite porous electrodes, phase separation dynamics in LiFePO4 nanoparticles, mosaic instability and macroscopic phase transformations in porous electrodes, elastic coherency strain effects on Faradaic reactions, SEI formation, capacity fade, and accelerated aging. We are also actively experimenting with batteries.
    • Microfluidic fuel cells and flow batteries
      In our laboratory, we are developing "membraneless" microfluidic fuel cells to exploit high power-density electrochemistries involving liquid fuels and oxidants. As in all our work, the experiments are motivated and guided by theory and computation. (Collaboration with Prof. C. Buie, MIT Mech. Eng., and Prof. K. Mahdi, Kuwait University)
    • Solid oxide fuel cells
      We are exploring the basic physics of electrocatalysis and transport in solid oxide fuel cells in collaboration with (and supported by) Saint Gobain. We are developing mathematical models for electrocatalysis, impedance, heat transfer, and performance.
    • Electrochemical capacitors
      Nonlinear dynamics of capacitive charging and Faradaic reactions in porous electrodes, impedance, cyclic voltammetry, double-layer structure and reactions in room temperature ionic liquids and molten salts, application to energy storage in electric double layer supercapacitors and hybrid "pseudocapacitors" (which also include Faradaic reactions).
  2. Electrokinetics
    • Shock electrodialysis
      Work involves over-limiting current to membranes and electrodes, "deionization shocks" in microstructures, concentration polarization and electro-osmotic convection in micro/nanochannels and in micro/nanoporous media, and homogenization (volume averaging) for ion transport in microstructures, with applications in water purification and desalination by "shock electrodialysis". This work involves both theory and experiments in our new laboratory.
    • Capacitive desalination
      Nonlinear dynamics of capacitive desalination and selective ion adsorption by porous electrodes, transport phenomena, effects of Faradaic reactions. (Collaboration with P. M. Biesheuvel, Wageningen)
    • Induced-charge electro-osmosis
      Fundamental theory of "ICEO" at large voltages, microfluidic applications, AC electro-osmotic micropumps and mixers, induced-charge electrophoresis and electrodiffusiophoresis of polarizable particles, ICEO flows around biological membranes. See also Nonlinear Electrokinetics @ MIT.
  3. Electrokinetics
    • Related Topics
      A unique feature of our modeling of Li-ion batteries is the coupling of intercalation reaction kinetics with phase transformations and solid diffusion in active nanoparticles. Similar phenomena govern the gas sorption in nanoporous media, such as concrete or carbon aerogels, so we are applying our models to predict sorption/desorption hysteresis with applications to carbon sequestration and internal surface area measurement. We are focusing on the case of sorption hysteresis in concrete and questioning the 60 year old hypothesis of "pore collapse". Supported by the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub.