Mechanical Engineering is proud to announce the arrival of assistant professor Sameer Rao, who recently joined our tenure-track faculty. Dr. Rao comes to us from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA where he was a postdoctoral associate 2015-2018. Before his postdoc at MIT, Rao received his Ph.D. (2015) and M.S. (2012) in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, respectively.

Rao’s research group’s focus is on Energy Science and Engineering. The group will work on technologies for the efficient and enhanced conversion and utilization of energy and water to meet its rising global demands and simultaneously reducing our environmental impact.

“Joining the Department of Mechanical Engineering is an exciting prospect,” said Rao. “I’m especially looking forward to the opportunities to collaborate with my new colleagues. They are well respected as world-leaders in complimentary areas, such as high temperature heat transfer, additive manufacturing, nanomaterials, and energy systems.”

His group’s approach is to develop fundamental insights about energy and material transport across the length scale of a few nanometers to several meters in materials, structures, and devices. The ultimate goal is to enable the discovery and development of new processes and components to enable system-wide improvements in efficiency.

Initially Rao’s group plans to study the transport and interactions in novel physi-/chemisorbents with innovative measurement techniques and to develop insights that enable solutions to address challenges associated with waste-heat utilization (~66 Quadrillion BTU), solar-thermal storage, and freshwater scarcity.

“A complimentary thrust is to investigate micro-/macroscale heat transfer with supercritical fluids,” said Rao. “During the supercritical phase-transition, the drastic change in thermo-physical properties can be leveraged to transform our energy landscape by enabling higher efficiency of power generation with fossil fuels and renewables, compact turbomachinery, and a reduction in freshwater withdrawal. We will develop a physics-based understanding of such flows in micro-featured components and their integration with macro-scale systems.”

“Something that I am also really looking forward to enjoying is the great outdoors that Utah has to offer. There’s so much to do, hiking, camping, and of course skiing!”