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Good advising helps ChE grad student jump-start her publishing career

Susan Daniel is still a graduate student, but she has compiled a publishing record that a young professor or industry researcher would be proud of.

Susan enrolled at Lehigh as a junior, after completing two years at Bucks County Community College. As a graduate student in chemical engineering, Susan wrote her M.S. thesis under the supervision of Profs. Manoj Chaudhury and John Chen.

The first paper Susan coauthored with her advisers was published in Science, one of the country's premier journals. The article showed how the combination of a surface energy gradient and rapid condensation of steam led to the removal of a drop from a solid substrate at high speeds. The new phenomenon can be potentially applied to heat transfer problems, especially those involving systems operating in zero or micro-gravity.

Susan is now investigating other ways of obtaining high speeds of liquid droplets on surfaces. She is particularly interested in how vibrational energy transfer can be coupled with a surface energy gradient to achieve this goal. Susan and Prof. Chaudhury have published one paper in Langmuir on the topic and have submitted a second article to the same journal. Their work has potential applications in building batch-type microfluidic devices.

Susan's latest paper, coauthored with Chaudhury and L. Mahadevan of Harvard, was published in the January 6, 2004, edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Inspired by the locomotion of limbless terrestrial animals, the researchers studied the motion of a lubricated rod of hydrogel on a soft substrate. Their experiments showed that it is possible to mimic observed biological gaits by vibrating the substrate and by using various mechanisms to break longitudinal and lateral symmetry.

"Being at Lehigh is tremendously exciting," says Daniel. "Prof. Chaudhury visits me daily in the lab; we talk about the current experiment or the next one. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities he has afforded me.

"At the same time, I am humbled by all that has happened. I am a very lucky person."

Posted on Sunday, August 01, 2004

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