Monday, November 25th, 2019

Speaker: Tissa Illangasekare, AMAX Distinguished Chair and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Director, Colorado School of Mines.

Title: "Multi-scale Experimentation for Improved Understanding of Energy, Mass and Momentum Transfer Across Interfaces in Natural Systems -   Challenges and Opportunities"

Time: 4:00 – 5:00 PM

Location: Rm. 101, Kingston Hall, Queen’s University



Tissa Illangasekare is a Fellow of American Geophysical Union (AGU), American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), and the National Academy of Science of Sri Lanka (SLNAS). He has a PhD in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University and an Honorary Doctorate from Uppsala University.  He is the recipient of 2012 Darcy Medal from European Geosciences Union (EGU), and the 2015 AGU’s Langbein Lecture Award given in recognition of lifetime contributions to the science of hydrology. He was the past editor of Water Resources Research and Earth Science Review and the past co-editor of Vadose Zone Journal. He was appointed as an editor of the new AGU journal “AGU Advances.” He received the 2016 Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Groundwater Prize. In January 2017, President Obama appointed him to serve on the Nuclear Waste Technology Study Board (NWTRB).

His research experience and expertise are in numerical modeling of flow and transport in porous and fractured media, unsaturated and saturated zone processes, snow hydrology, land-atmospheric interaction, multiphase flow, carbon storage, aquifer remediation, physical modeling of flow and transport and sensor technologies for environmental applications.



Fundamental to the distribution and transport of water, gases and chemical constituents in natural systems are the processes of energy, mass, and momentum transfer. A class of problems offers unique challenges when these processes occur across physical interfaces within the system.  Some of the challenges are a result of hard to define interface topologies, abrupt phase transitions, contrasting flow and energy dynamics, difficulties in the characterization of transfer processes, and modeling complexities. The data to study these problems cannot always be obtained from field experiments where multitude of factors contribute to uncertainties of measurements and challenges in characterization of system properties at all relevant length scales. Laboratory experimentation at multiple test scales will continue to play an important and a useful role in addressing these problems and will provide opportunities to improve fundamental process understanding that will lead to new insights for improved conceptualization and numerical models.  Examples in multiphase systems as applied to deep geologic storage of carbon dioxide and land/atmospheric interactions are used to show how some of these challenges are addressed through the implementation of theory-driven experiments using multiple test scales.

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