Alex currently is a PhD student in the Microscale Physicochemical hydrodynamics laboratory at Duke Pratt School of Engineering. Starting from spring 2017, he has been working in the Patek laboratory at Duke Biology as a research assistant studying biomechanics of impulsive biological systems.
Two years into his PhD, he has worked on phase-change heat transfer and electric field effects at interfaces. Mobile hotspots in electronic devices with high heat fluxes cannot be easily handled, and he participated in a hotspot cooling project utilizing a jumping-drop vapor chamber that has an advantage in out-of-plane thermal transport. He worked on both numerical simulation and theoretical modeling. A compact approximate solution accounts for variable hotspot size and anisotropic thermal conductivity was developed.
In the Patek lab, he is studying the ultrafast jaw closing motion in the trap-jaw ants. The goal is to build a biomechanical model that connects the high-speed kinematics and the morphology to explain how such extremely high speed strikes are achieved in such a small length scale.