Please tell us about yourself

Pruthvik Raghupathi, who is currently working as Thermal Engineer at AeroSafe Global, finished his BS in mechanical engineering from PESIT, Bangalore and joined TAMFL (Thermal Analysis, Microfluidics, Fuel Cell Lab , Rochester Institute of Technology) in the fall of 2013. He worked on investigating bubble dynamics during boiling. He completed his PhD in December 2017.

When Pruthvik Raghupathi began his doctoral research in 2014, he said developing sustainable energy resources was one of the biggest challenges of his generation.

He’ll contribute to this task after he graduates in May. Raghupathi will receive a Ph.D. in engineering and be the first graduate of RIT’s seventh doctoral program.

Tell us about your work

Pruthvik Raghupathi is studying bubbles—the serious work behind fluid dynamics associated with fuel cells. Managing this means higher performance in electronic devices well beyond the automotive industry.

Seeing students such as Raghupathi succeed and graduate with doctoral honors is not new to Satish Kandlikar.

The professor of mechanical engineering has mentored and advised many students during his 30-plus years at RIT, including another first graduate of the microsystems engineering Ph.D. program in 2005.

He has shared his research successes in the area of bubbles and boiling phenomena with students like Raghupathi, and they have worked together to advance a field where understanding fluid dynamics will be key to improving alternative energy sources.

“What impressed me about Pruthvik was that he showed a deep understanding of the theoretical basis of the boiling phenomena. In our work now, it’s all about the bubbles,” Kandlikar said.

That work involves developing boiling mechanisms to improve heat transfer for power generation, cooling of high heat flux devices used in space, cryogenic heat exchangers and water desalination.

“My work was part of a study to look at how surface properties affect boiling, what happens when you have different types of liquids, such as sea water, and how fouling, or contamination, affects boiling performance as salt develops on the surface,” Raghupathi said.

Technology is complex, and the ability to develop it to influence society is one of the main goals of the Ph.D. in engineering.

How does your work benefit the community?

Raghupathi’s work with Satish Kandlikar, professor of mechanical engineering and a top researcher in the field of fuel cell technology, involves developing a fundamental understanding of boiling mechanisms to help create surface enhancements, which improve heat transfer.

This has applications in many fields, including power generation, cooling of high heat flux devices used in space, cryogenic heat exchangers and water desalination.

He said he chose the engineering Ph.D. program for its focus on application-based, collaborative research.

“Developing sustainable, environmentally-friendly energy sources is one of the biggest challenges of the current generation,” he said, “and I hope to contribute toward the solution in the future.”