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Mechanical and aerospace engineering professor receives Chancellor’s Award

Yuwen Zhang, mechanical and aerospace professor, has received the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity.

Yuwen Zhang, a mechanical and aerospace professor with the College of Engineering, accepted the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity for his research advancements in areas of thermal energy storage, thermal manufacturing, electronics cooling, laser materials processing and bioheat transfer. Two Chancellor’s awards are given annually.

Zhang’s thermal energy research is especially relevant in today’s “green” culture. His work on solar energy storage contributes to the Mizzou Advantage in Sustainable Energy.

His work on laser material interaction is in two areas. The first is laser-assisted manufacturing, research sponsored by the National Science Foundation. He is working with femtosecond lasers to fabricate the heat pipes and fuel cells. His research could also be used for biomedical purposes, specifically bone replacement. Creating a porous metal could help a bone gradually bond to an implant and reduce the risk of breaking after a patient had a hip replacement, for example.

The second application for Zhang’s laser research is in the area of high-energy lasers. Zhang received support for this branch of research from the US Army. Collaborating with Mechanical Engineering Professors Frank Feng and J.K. Chen, he is leading research efforts to help the army to assess the lethality of the high-energy laser.

Zhang has published two books, 125 journal articles and more than 85 conference papers. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He also serves as associate editor-in-chief for two international journals. His latest book, Advanced Heat and Mass Transfer, bridges the gap between traditional thermal-fluids science and emerging technologies.

Robert D. Tzou, a James C. Dowell professor and chairman of the MAE department, nominated Zhang for this prestigious award. “Dr. Zhang has made outstanding contributions in research and has great promise for achieving wider recognition,” he said. “His accomplishments in research are well beyond the majority of his peers at the same stages in their careers. While his impressive success has been widely recognized, he is still rising in the fields of thermal and fluids science.”

Zhang expressed gratitude for Tzou’s nomination. “He is very supportive,” Zhang said. “Every time any of the faculty needs something, he’s always there, or whenever there is an opportunity for recognition like this, he makes nominations.”

Zhang received an engraved plaque and his name was added to a cumulative plaque in Jesse Hall. He also received funds to go toward continued research.