MMAE Seminar by Dr. Damena Agonafer: Bioinspired Evaporative Cooling for High Heat Flux Applications

Armour College of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering will welcome Dr. Damena Agonafer, an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Department at Washington University, to present a lecture, “Bioinspired Evaporative Cooling for High Heat Flux Applications.”

The virtual seminar will take place on Wednesday, September 29, 2021, from 3:30–4:30 p.m. Contact Elena Magnus at for the seminar details and a link to join.

The demand for data centers and corresponding power requirements continues to rise pushing 2% of the annual electricity use in the US. The need for internet access for a variety of requirements including for online education has not been more pronounced than during the COVID-19 pandemic the world is facing now. The failure of voltage scaling with transistor gate scaling since the mid-2000s has resulted in the failure of Dennardian scaling resulting in increased power density with new technology nodes. To limit the chip power, with every new generation of transistors, an increasing part of the silicon remains inactive or dark limiting the performance of the processors. In addition, the recent emphasis on applications such as artificial intelligence and data mining is pushing the power limits of GPUs and CPUs used on data center servers. The next generation of high-powered micro- and power electronic devices will require advanced thermal management solutions for dissipating large heat fluxes that will soon exceed 1 kW/cm2. The performance of state-of-art cooling technologies are lagging the maximum heat dissipation requirements due to either inherent limits of physics or technical constraints (e.g., high operating pressures). Such high heat dissipation requires aggressive cooling strategies for ensuring reliable performance of these electronic components. Two-phase cooling technologies, such as microscale evaporation, are of growing interest for electronics cooling due to their high heat removal capacity. In this talk, I will identify the key mechanisms of microscale evaporation and address how geometrical features from microstructures and surface nanocoatings affect contact line dynamics, thermocapillary flow, and interfacial transport during the different stages of the evaporation process.

Damena Agonafer is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Department at Washington University. He is a faculty adviser at the Institute of Materials Science and Engineering and an advisor to the National Science of Black Engineers local WashU chapter. As a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois, Professor Agonafer was the recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan fellowship award. After his PhD, Damena joined Professor Ken Goodson’s Nanoheat lab as a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stanford University. Professor Agonafer’s research interest is at the intersection of thermal-fluid sciences, electrokinetics and interfacial transport phenomena, and renewable energy. He is recipient of the Google Research Award, Sloan Research Fellowship Award, Cisco Research Award, NSF CAREER Award, American Society of Mechanical Engineer’s Early Career award. Most recently, he was awarded an STTR grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR). He was one of 85 early-career engineers selected to attend the 2021 National Academy of Engineering’s 26th annual US Frontiers of Engineering symposium.