Andre Benard studies multiphase systems for a sustainable energy future

Multiphase flows are commonly found in a variety of natural and industrial systems. Catastrophic events such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill exemplify the importance of understanding such flows. Multiphase problems are diverse and involve, for example, the cleanup of contaminated water, electrochemical systems, or the orientation of nanoparticles by fluid flows. Andre Benard’s research involves multiphase problems related to energy production and manufacturing. A recent research area related to multiphase flows involves the cleanup of water contaminated with oil using filters and membranes. The development of systems for treating water extracted with the production of oil and gas presents challenging environmental problems. New devices and filtration systems are being designed for the cleanup of these waters. Numerical methods and optimization and the development of new turbulence models are often part of Dr. Benard’s work. Fluids incorporating suspensions of macromolecules, nanoparticles, and fibers are also studied by Dr. Benard. Such multiphase fluids are found in products with unique chemical, electrical, and mechanical properties and include structural composites, electronic displays, protective and barrier coatings, circuit materials, and optical devices. Research efforts by Dr. Benard are spent in modeling the microstructure evolution of such materials to understand their properties. In addition, recent efforts toward modeling electrochemical devices such as fuel cells and batteries, which have multiple components and phases, target the identification of the microstructure that will maximize the performance of such systems.