Heat transfer, additive manufacturing powers NSF graduate research fellow

Erin Cassidy Hendrick
May 15, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Michael Bichnevicius, a recent graduate from the Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to spur the impact of his future work.

His proposal, “Boiling Vapor Bubble Dynamics on Rough Additively Manufactured Surfaces,” focuses on an emerging area in the dynamic field of additive manufacturing commonly referred to as 3D printing. Working as an undergraduate researcher in the Experimental and Computational Convection Laboratory (ExCCL) under Stephen Lynch, the Shuman Family Early Career Professor, and the Heat Transfer and Multiphase Flow Lab under Matthew Rau, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, Bichnevicius is helping pioneer the University’s exploration of additive manufacturing.

Specifically, his work explores how heat transfer can be optimized through additive manufacturing. The process itself creates unique, rough surfaces on the parts that can be further manipulated with the flexibility of additive manufacturing. 

“Boiling heat transfer is used for thermal management in high heat flux technologies like computer chips and power plants, and the texture of a boiling surface affects heat transfer behavior to a great extent,” he said. “Metal additive manufacturing presents opportunities to develop high-performance thermal management components, so it is important to understand the impact of these rough surfaces on boiling heat transfer.”

Fine-tuning the manufacturing process in this way has the potential to impact any technology that relies on temperature, such as computer data sensors and gas turbines. His experience at Penn State, and the ExCCL Lab in particular, fueled his interest in this area. Among his many accomplishments, he co-authored three papers during his undergraduate research with the lab and served as the first author on a conference paper.

“I am very honored to receive this fellowship and excited to pursue research in energy science,” said Bichnevicius, who is heading to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to continue his research and pursue a doctorate in mechanical engineering. 

Bichnevicius explains his research pursuits are not only personally fulfilling; he is able to use his talents as a mechanical engineer to make a positive impact on society.

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change rightly says there are serious technological, economic, social and institutional challenges associated with substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “I hope to contribute to engineering solutions which address the ‘technological’ challenge.”

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 15, 2019