Dr. Aaron P. Wemhoff

Associate Professor

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Villanova University

126A Tolentine Hall
610-519-8045 (phone)
610-519-7312 (fax)
Email: aaron.wemhoff@villanova.edu

Dr. Aaron Wemhoff is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Villanova University. He earned his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2004, worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) as a staff engineer for 3 years, and then started work at Villanova as an Assistant Professor in 2008. In 2014, Dr. Wemhoff was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.

Dr. Wemhoff's graduate research, primarily under the supervision of Dr. Van P. Carey, was focused on molecular modeling of liquid-vapor interfaces, which, when coupled with statistical thermodynamics, resulted in several interesting findings:
1. Homogeneous initiation of boiling due to a rapid increase in surface temperature was found to occur away from the wall due to a variation in local pressure, and therefore spinodal temperature.
2. A region on the order of a few nanometers was found near a wall where a liquid film experienced ordering due to wall-fluid interactions, which resulted in accurate assessments of disjoining pressure.
3. Various methods were devised to predict the variation of surface tension with temperature and fluid model properties, and the connection between surface tension and the interfacial region characteristics were strengthened.

While in graduate school, Dr. Wemhoff worked part-time with the thermal design group at HP Labs, where he was involved with projects in the following areas:
1. Energy-efficient data center operation through modulated floor tile design.
2. Controlled spray cooling through the use of inkjet printer technology.
3. Advanced cooling system design for high density bladed architectures.

Dr. Wemhoff worked on several projects at LLNL after his graduate research was completed. These projects included:
1. Development of thermal chemical kinetic models for energetic materials, which enabled the safe handling of these materials to prevent thermal cookoff incidents.
2. Development, application and maintenance of advanced finite element-based multiphysics simulation tools, particularly in the area of thermal conduction.
3. Analysis and comparison of various Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) software packages for applications in materials processing to aircraft drag calculations.

At Villanova, Dr. Wemhoff leads the Multiscale Systems Analysis Laboratory (MSAL).  The group's work has focused on three principal areas:
1. Energy-efficient data center design through the NSF-sponsored Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) in Energy-Smart Electronic Systems (ES2). This work includes exergy-based design of data center cooling systems that allow for sizing of equipment and comparison of traditionally-cooled to hybrid liquid-air and direct liquid cooled systems. This research could potentially save large quantities of energy and save industry mentors millions of dollars in cooling costs.
2. Molecular modeling of nanoscale systems, including (1) determination of the influence of graphite nanofiber (GNF) structure on its thermal conductivity tensor, (2) the influence of graphite stacking arrangement on its thermal conductivity tensor, and (3) the development of a recommended equilibrium molecular dynamics formulation for graphene using a many-body intermolecular potential function. This work has provided great insight into the molecular-based energy transport mechanisms that are important in small device development.
3. Theoretical development of thermodynamic and thermal transport theories, including (1) a modified theory of capillarity for advanced cubic equations of state, and (2) a novel theory for predicting the thermal conductivity of a composite material containing networks of percolated cylindrical inclusions. The latter work has great importance in the development and optimization of nanoenhanced phase change materials for energy storage in electronics cooling and sustainable power production technologies.

Dr. Wemhoff serves as chair of the ASME K-20 Heat Transfer Division Committee on Computational Heat Transfer, is a past chair of the ASME Philadelphia Section, is a regional editor for the International Journal of Transport Phenomena, and serves on several departmental, college, and university committees.  He is currently the Director of Graduate Programs for the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Dr. Wemhoff has published dozens of journal articles and conference papers. He and his students have presented at dozens of conferences and poster forums.

For more information on Dr. Wemhoff's current work, please see the MSAL group webpage. His CV can be found here, and his LinkedIn profile is here.

Page last updated in July 2016.