Carlos Colosqui, Ph.D.
Faculty researcher, Assistant Professor Carlos Colosqui, Ph.D., joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stony Brook University in 2013. His research involves theoretical, computational, and experimental studies of transport processes in nano/microscale systems.
Here is a little bit about Professor Colosqui:
What interested you in joining the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stony Brook?
Stony Brook University is a highly regarded institution and has the resources to support high quality research and education. Our department has been historically strong in thermo-fluids sciences, which is my area of interest. In addition, SBU manages Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), allowing the faculty to have access to first-class experimental facilities. This includes the Center for Functional Nanomaterials and the National Light Synchrotron where my group works on regular basis. One of the most important factors to me is that SBU is a public institution that plays a very important societal role by providing university education and career opportunities to working class people.
In what area is your research focused?
Transport and separation processes in fluids and soft materials with particular focus in micro- and nanoscale systems. My group has a strong focus on theoretical and computational work, while we also perform nanofabrication at BNL and experimental characterization in our lab.
What initially interested you in your type of research?
I always found the physics of fluids truly fascinating. Working with fluids you can readily see how the complex motion and interactions of an enormous number of molecules give shape to the macroscopic phenomena we experience in our everyday life. In many ways a fluid is like a small-scale model of the universe; in fact, the motion of stars and galaxies can be described by fluid dynamic equations.
How do you incorporate your research into what you teach?
The theories and models taught in class have many concrete applications to research problems. I usually discuss in class how different models can be applied to specific research problems studied by my group and other researchers around the world. There are many instances where class and homework assignments or even some exam problems are directly motivated by a problem that me or my PhD students had solved for a research project.
What are some practical application for your area of research?
Fluidic devices for energy conversion/storage and water treatment are the main applications of my current research work. We have projects funded by the Office of Naval Research and National Science Foundation that involve mechanical-to-electrical energy conversion and passive water-oil separation using micro/nanochannels with nanostructured surfaces. We also have projects were we study the impact of nanoparticles onto electrodes of lithium batteries, the wettability of textile materials, and the adhesion of biomembranes to nanostructured surfaces in collaboration with various groups at SBU and other universities.
What career advice would you give to students who are interested in becoming a Mechanical Engineer?
A degree in Mechanical Engineering can bring you a wide variety of exciting career options and high-paid jobs that go well beyond traditional jobs involving design and analysis of mechanisms and machinery that since the industrial revolution in the 1800s have become critical to sustain our economy and society. With the advent of the information revolution and future nano- and quantum technologies, it is increasingly more common to have well-prepared mechanical engineers working in an increasing number of applications that range from the design of novel functional nanomaterials, systems for sustainable energy production and storage, or space exploration, to software, hardware, and algorithm design -- even financial consulting in some instances. As a mechanical engineer you can get to play a key role in the most important and serious challenges that our society faces when it comes to climate change and sustainable energy, water, and food production in the coming decades.
Discuss your involvement in any educational extracurricular activities.
I have served for over three years on the Turner Fellowship committee administered by the Center for Inclusive Education and I am the faculty advisor of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Contributing to access to academic education and enabling career options for students from underrepresented minorities and low-income households is one of the most meaningful things we get to do as a member of the SBU community.
What is the next step for you in terms of projects, research, or goals?
My group has developed expertise in computational and experimental research skills that can contribute to solving numerous problems related to energy, climate, and food sciences where expertise in fluid mechanics is essential. Key technologies that our society is trying to develop within the next decade include: energy storage using lithium batteries, sustainable production of drinkable water and food, sequestration of greenhouse gases, and many others that require research work to better understand mass and energy transport processes in fluid media. The long-term plan is to apply and develop our current capabilities to model, design, and fabricate new fluidic devices for energy conversion and separation processes.
What do you enjoy doing the most in your free time? Are there any “fun facts” about yourself that you would like to share?
I greatly enjoy being with my family and close friends in the scarce free time that I have these days. My grandfather used to say "working is so boring that they have to pay you to do it," but luckily I do not feel that way because doing research and teaching can be very enjoyable.