PhD in Mechanical Engineering
Current position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, Canada
Research focus: phase change material-based heat transfer fluids, microfluidics-based fluid testing, machine learning, and AI-guidance
Also, Vikram is working towards the establishment of high-throughput microfluidics-based industrial fluid testing systems and AI-guidance of the experimental system.
During his PhD, Vikram has worked towards addressing the issue of thermal stress by exploring so-called thermal batteries. Such batteries can store energy in form of latent heat due to the use of phase changing materials (PCM) and can be placed on the roofs of houses. Vikram developed a novel high-fidelity modelling-based prediction tool for PCM melting and undercooled solidification scenarios.
CV as submitted for the Green Talents award (2019):
Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India
Research focus: phase change material-based waste energy storage and recovery for comfort management, and thermal performance enhancement using nanoadditives
Heat and cold waves are said to be intensified by climate change. It severely affects the underprivileged people as they are more vulnerable to thermal stress, and often can neither afford cooling nor heating of their homes. A sustainable solution for this issue may be so-called thermal batteries, which can be placed on the roofs of houses to be used to heat or cool the rooms underneath. These thermal batteries contain phase change material (PCM). Similar to the phase transitions of ice from solid to liquid phase, where latent heat is stored in the liquid, thermal batteries also store latent heat. If the batteries absorb heat from sunlight, they could be directly used to store solar energy. Such systems facilitate decentralised energy generation while being a sustainable source of energy available to the population in emerging countries such as India.
Vikram is conducting research on thermal batteries in the thermal energy storage/waste heat recovery (TES/WHR) systems. There are various details of TES/WHR systems that need further attention such as undercooling of PCM in thermal batteries, which may cause the failure of TES/WHR system due to repetitive thermal shocks. Vikram developed a novel high-fidelity modelling-based prediction tool for PCM melting and undercooled solidification scenarios. This way, the discrepancy between numerical predictions and experimental data for PCM phase change is finally resolved after one decade. Furthermore, the thermal performance of the TES/WHR systems is limited by PCM's low thermal conductivity. To address this issue, nanoadditives are added to the PCM. Vikram developed a novel heterogeneous phase change model illustrating the effects of the nanoadditives.
The jury recognises Vikram’s important contribution to finding solutions for sustainable and affordable energy available to people in developing and emerging countries. The jury also values his engagement in a technical society to provide much-needed exposure to real-life engineering problems for researchers and students.