Kyle C Smith
Primary Research Area
- Fluid Mechanics & Thermal Sciences
- B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, 2007
- Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, 2012
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, August 2007 - July 2010
- Charles C. Chappelle Fellow, School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, August 2010 - July 2011
- Ward A. Lambert Teaching Fellow, School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, August 2011 - December 2011
- Graduate Research Assistant, School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, January 2012 - May 2012
- Post-Doctoral Research Associate, School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, May 2012 - August 2012
- Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, September 2012 - July 2014
- Faculty Affiliate, Computational Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 2014 - present
- Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 2014 - present
- Faculty Affiliate, Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 2016 - present
For more information
Prof. Smiths research is focused on developing technological solutions to societal problems at the intersection of energy and water by using mechanical engineering knowledge of mechanics, transport of molecules and heat inside of fluids and solids, and thermodynamics of electrochemical reactions. On these problems we bring to bear a unique toolset that combines capabilities in numerical modeling and experimentation, incorporation of physicochemical phenomena over a range of scales, and by coupling different types of physics to develop multi-functional devices and materials. We are particularly interested in research problems at the intersection of energy and water demands, which our global society is likely to become increasingly burdened with in the future. Therefore, we have a forward-looking perspective in our approach to solving these problems, where unconventional solutions are developed based on detailed knowledge of physicochemical phenomena, combined with creative design. The technological solutions that we develop require application of knowledge from a variety of disciplines, including mechanical engineering, materials science, chemistry, and physics. Therefore, Prof. Smiths group is known as the Forward-Looking Interdisciplinary New-Technology Team or FLINT.
One thrust of Prof. Smiths research involves the development of materials and devices for energy storage applications. Of late, we have utilized techno-economic modeling of redox-flow battery systems to assess the impact of the properties of redox active fluids on the costs of a large system, which is a critical barrier for the penetration of energy storage on the electric grid to enable efficient utilization of renewable energy resources (e.g., wind and solar power). In doing this, we have determined criteria by which to select materials for flow batteries on the basis of cost. Within these devices we have also investigated the role of operating conditions on the performance of flow batteries, including the role of flow rate on the achievable charging levels that a battery is capable of. Furthermore, we are utilizing computational models of electrochemical transport phenomena to optimize the distribution of material within microscopic electrodes for various types of rechargeable electrochemical devices, including lithium-ion batteries. One application for such electrodes may be for electric vehicles, where weight, volume, and cost constraints require the use of energy-dense batteries. Here, knowledge of manufacturing processes must be integrated with evaluation of electrochemical performance in order to determine the optimal structures that we are also developing.
Another thrust of Prof. Smiths research involves the development of materials and devices for clean water applications. Though not typical research areas for mechanical engineers, Prof. Smiths group has utilized mechanical engineering principles to introduce novel electrochemical technology for these applications, including through the use of battery materials for desalination applications. Using a theoretical modeling approach to couple microscale sodium ion intercalation processes to the transport of ions within salt water, Prof. Smiths group showed that a sodium-ion battery could be used to desalinate seawater-level concentrations of NaCl energy consumption levels near thermodynamic energy minimums. Here, work has continued in his group developing alternative cell architectures for these devices, as well synthesizing nanoparticulate, multi-cation absorbing compounds. In addition, Prof. Smiths group is developing models for capacitive deionization devices to desalinate brackish water efficiently.
- microstructure, mechanics, and transport in granular and heterogeneous materials
- mass, charge, heat, and fluid transport in electrochemical systems
- energy storage devices and materials
- computational modeling
- Fluid Mechanics & Thermal Sciences
Selected Articles in Journals
- Smith, K.C. (2017), "Theoretical evaluation of electrochemical cell architectures using cation intercalation electrodes for desalination," Electrochimica Acta, 230, 333.
- Dmello, R., J.D. Milshtein, F.R. Brushett, and K.C. Smith (2016), "Cost-driven materials selection criteria for redox flow battery electrolytes," Journal of Power Sources, 330, 261.
- Smith, K.C. and R. Dmello (2016), "Na-Ion Desalination (NID) Enabled by Na-Blocking Membranes and Symmetric Na-Intercalation: Porous-Electrode Modeling," Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 163 A530.
- Hopkins, B.J., K.C. Smith, A.H. Slocum, and Y.-M. Chiang (2015), "Component-cost and performance based comparison of flow and static batteries," Journal of Power Sources, 293 1032.
- Nemani, V.P., S.J. Harris, and K.C. Smith (2015), "Design of Bi-Tortuous, Anisotropic Graphite Anodes for Fast Ion-Transport in Li-Ion Batteries," Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 162 A1415.
- Wei, T.S., F.Y. Fan, A. Helal, K.C. Smith, G.H. McKinley, Y.-M. Chiang, and J.A. Lewis, "Biphasic Electrode Suspensions for Li-Ion Semisolid Flow Cells with High Energy Density, Fast Charge Transport, and Low-Dissipation Flow," Advanced Energy Materials, 5 1500535.
- Jackson, G.R., K.C. Smith, P.C. McCarthy, and T.S. Fisher (2015), "Modeling of Thermal Storage in Wax-Impregnated Foams with a Pore-Scale Submodel," Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer, 29 812.
- Smith, K.C., Y.-M. Chiang, and W.C. Carter (2014), Maximizing Energetic Efficiency in Flow Batteries Utilizing Non-Newtonian Fluids, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 161 A486.
- Smith, K.C., I. Srivastava, M. Alam, and T.S. Fisher (2014), Variable-cell method for stress-controlled jamming of athermal, frictionless grains," Physical Review E, 89 042203.
- Fan, F., W.H. Woodford, Z. Li, N. Baram, K.C. Smith, A. Helal, G.H. McKinley, W.C. Carter, and Y.-M. Chiang (2014), Polysulfide Flow Batteries Enabled by Percolating Nanoscale Conductor Networks, Nano Letters, 14 2210.
- Smith, K.C., V.E. Brunini, Y. Dong, Y.-M. Chiang, and W.C. Carter (2014), "Electroactive-Zone Extension in Flow-Battery Stacks," Electrochimica Acta, 147 460.
- Li, Z., K.C. Smith, Y. Dong, N. Baram, F. Fan, J. Xie, P. Limthongkul, W.C. Carter, and Y.-M. Chiang (2013), Aqueous semi-solid flow cell: demonstration and analysis, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 15 15833.
- Rao, K.D.M., B. Radha, K.C. Smith, T.S. Fisher, and G.U. Kulkarni, (2013) "Solution-processed soldering of carbon nanotubes for flexible electronics," Nanotechnology, 24 075301.
- Smith, K.C. and T.S. Fisher (2013), Conduction in jammed systems of tetrahedra, ASME Journal of Heat Transfer, 135 081301.
- Srivastava, I., S. Sadasivam, K.C. Smith and T.S. Fisher (2013), "Combined Microstructure and Heat Conduction Modeling of Heterogeneous Interfaces and Materials," ASME Journal of Heat Transfer, 135 061603.
- Cadena, M.J., R. Misiego, K.C. Smith, A. Avila, B. Pipes, R. Reifenberger, and A. Raman (2013), "Sub-surface imaging of carbon nanotube-polymer composites using dynamic AFM methods," Nanotechnology, 24 135706.
- Smith, K.C. and T.S. Fisher (2012), "Models for metal hydride particle shape, packing, and heat transfer," International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 37 13417-13428.
- Smith, K.C., P. Mukherjee, and T.S. Fisher (2012), "Columnar order in jammed LiFePO4 cathodes: Ion transport catastrophe and its mitigation," Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 14 7040-7050.
- Smith, K.C., T.S. Fisher, and M. Alam (2011), "Isostaticity of constraints in amorphous jammed systems of soft frictionless Platonic solids," Physical Review E: Rapid Communications, 84 030301(R).
- Smith, K.C., T.S. Fisher, U.V. Waghmare, and R. Grau-Crespo (2010), "Dopant-vacancy binding effects in Li-doped magnesium hydride," Physical Review B, 82 134109.
- Smith, K.C., M. Alam, and T.S. Fisher (2010), "Athermal jamming of soft frictionless Platonic solids," Physical Review E, 82 051304.
- Bhuvana, T., K.C. Smith, T.S. Fisher, and G.U. Kulkarni (2009), "Self-assembled CNT circuits with ohmic contacts using Pd hexadecanethiolate as in situ solder," Nanoscale, 1 271-275.
- Smith, K.C., Y. Zheng, T.S. Fisher, T. Pourpoint, and I. Mudawar (2009), "Heat transfer in high-pressure metal hydride systems," Journal of Enhanced Heat Transfer, 16 1-15.
- Grau-Crespo, R., K.C. Smith, T.S. Fisher, N.H. de Leeuw, and U.V. Waghmare (2009), "Thermodynamics of hydrogen vacancies in MgH2 from first-principles calculations and grand-canonical statistical mechanics," Physical Review B, 80 174117.
- Smith, K.C., C. Kemeny, R.J. Cipra, and B. Duerstock (2008), "Vision aid for power wheelchair users," ASME Journal of Medical Devices, 2 045001.
- Smith, K.C. and T.S. Fisher (2015), "Method of exploiting particle morphology to optimize granular structure and charge/discharge performance of lithium ion battery cathodes," US Patent No. 9166228.
- Chiang, Y.-M., W.H. Woodford, F.Y. Fan, Z. Li, N. Baram, K.C. Smith, W.C. Carter, G.H. McKinley, and A. Helal, "Metal sulfide electrodes and energy storage devices thereof," WO 2014/121276 A3.
- Hopkins, J.B., A.H. Slocum, X. Chen, Y.-M. Chiang, F.Y. Fan, A. Helal, Z. Li, K.C. Smith, and W.C. Carter, "Gravity Induced Flow Cell," US Patent Application Filed.
- Smith, K.C., Y.-M. Chiang, and W.C. Carter (2014), "Flow Battery Using Non-Newtonian Fluids," US Patent Application Filed.
- Member of The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2011-present
- Member of The Electrochemical Society, 2011-present
- Member of The Materials Research Society, 2009-present
- Committee for the Education of Teaching Assistants Teaching Award, Purdue University (April 25, 2012)
- Outstanding Senior in Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University (April 2007)
- Collins Scholars Program, Academic Excellence in Engineering Education (AE3), College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Fall 2014-Spring 2015.