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Students showcasing research posters at the 2015 GCEP Symposium

Energy Seminar: Evelyn Wang: Advancing Energy and Water Technologies via Nanoengineered Materials

May 7, 2018 - 4:30pm to 5:20pm
NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center

Free and open to all.

Event Sponsor: 
Precourt Institute for Energy
Contact Email:

Nanoengineered materials have exciting, untapped potential to improve energy and water technologies. In this talk, I provide a few examples of how we leverage nanoscale manipulation capabilities to develop advanced thermal management, solar thermal energy conversion and water harvesting devices. First, I discuss our recent work that harnesses novel surface designs to control and manipulate phase-change processes. Low surface tension condensates pose a unique challenge since they often form a film, even on hydrophobic coatings. Lubricant infused surfaces (LIS) represent a potential solution, where a lubricant immiscible with the low surface tension condensate is infused into a rough structure on the condenser surface to repel the condensate. We used LIS to demonstrate a 5x improvement in heat transfer for low surface tension fluids compared to filmwise condensation and provide detailed designed guidelines for LIS. Next, I discuss how nanoengineered materials can also be used to increase the efficiency of solar thermal devices. In solar thermophotovoltaics, we show that engineering the spectral properties and defining the active area of the emitter with respect to the absorber, we achieve solar-to-electrical conversion efficiencies of 6.8%, exceeding that of the underlying cell. Finally, I discuss a new water harvesting device that takes advantage of the unique properties of metal organic frameworks to address water scarcity challenges in arid climates.

Speaker Biography

Evelyn N. Wang is the Gail E. Kendall Professor and the Associate Department Head in the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT. She is the Associate Director of the Solid State Solar Thermal Energy Conversion (S3TEC) Center, a DOE Energy Frontiers Research Center. She received her BS from MIT, and MS and PhD from Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering. From 2006-2007, she was a postdoctoral researcher at Bell Laboratories. Her research interests include fundamental studies of micro/nanoscale heat and mass transport and the development of efficient thermal management, solar thermal energy conversion, and water harvesting systems. Her work has been honored with several awards including the 2012 ASME Bergles-Rohsenow Young Investigator Award, the 2016 ASME EPPD Women Engineer Award, and the 2017 ASME Gustus L. Larson Award. She is an ASME Fellow.