By Abe Danaher | September 3, 2020
Sudipta Saha, a mechanical engineering doctoral student in the College of Engineering and Computing, received the University of South Carolina’s 2020 Outstanding Thesis Award for his master’s thesis on thermal fluid science.
“My feeling is that my proposal and my merit is being recognized,” Saha said. “I am now more inspired because the recognition actually drives you to do more, to put in more effort, and it makes you hungrier. This award is making me hungrier to do better and better.”
South Carolina’s Graduate School awarded his thesis for its originality, clarity of style and presentation, scholarship, research methodology, and contribution to the field. This is the second year in a row that a student from the College of Engineering and Computing has received the award.
“I am very proud that Sudipta received this award,” said Michael Matthews, senior associate dean for research and graduate programs at the college. “His research exemplifies the tremendous work being done by graduate students in our college and is a testament to the success our college promotes and supports in its students.”
Saha’s thesis focused on improving the efficiency and performance of thermo-electric power plant cooling systems. These cooling systems use freshwater to cool engines and maintain safety at plants, but they also contribute to over 100 billion gallons of freshwater withdrawal daily in the United States and account for around 40% of national water usage in major industries.
“I like to believe that through this work, and now my doctoral work, I am changing the world.”
- Sudipta Saha, Outstanding Thesis Awardee
Under Associate Professor Tanvir Farouk's supervision, Saha’s research focused on the developing a numerical model of a hybrid cooling system that decreases these systems’ water usage by 21% cumulative, while still maintaining their optimal thermal performance and cost effectiveness.
Following lab-scale experimental tests by Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Chen Li, Saha’s modeling and simulation work was proven successful in achieving all three objectives. This research collaboration was funded by the National Science Foundation to meet the U.S. government’s energy and resource management improvement targets for the industry and will result in billions of gallons of water saved nationwide.
“I like to believe that through this work, and now my doctoral work, I am changing the world,” he says.
An extension of this research also received the SPARC grant from the UofSC Office of the Vice President for Research and helped him collaborate with Nuclear Engineering Professor Travis Knight’s project and land his current internship with the Idaho National Laboratory. Now, after completing his thermal fluid science master’s studies in 2019, Saha is nearing the completion of his mechanical engineering doctoral degree focused on combustion science. Once done with his studies, he hopes to work at a national laboratory on in industrial research and development effort or program.