Laurens E. Howle

Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Professor in the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Laurens E. Howle Profile Photo
Laurens E. Howle Profile Photo

Research Interests

Hydroelastic modeling of deformable structures, transport in thermal and chemical systems, experimental and computational fluid dynamics, nonlinear and complex systems, heat and mass transport in biological systems, stability of fluid motions, machine learning, data mining, econophysics, reduced order modeling, modeling of decompression sickness, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, mechanical design, manufacturing engineering, wind power.


Professor Howle's research interests span the disciplines of thermal science, fluid dynamics, and nonlinear dynamics. His present research projects - visualization of convective fluid patterns, stabilization of the no-motion state in free convection and bifurcation in imperfect or distributed parameter systems - are split evenly between experimental and computational methods.


A key problem facing researchers studying convection in fluid-saturated porous media is the lack of a general, non-invasive method for pattern visualization and wave number measurement. Professor Howle designed innovative porous media which allow optical techniques to be used for the first time as a pattern visualization tool in the study of porous media convection.


Computational spectral methods are efficient methods of simulation of small aspect ratio convection systems. For large problems, these methods can become too expensive to be practical. Professor Howle developed a reduced Galerkin method which decreases the execution time by orders of magnitude for large problems. This extends the range of problems for which certain spectral methods may be used. He is currently studying porous free convection in systems with distributed properties and binary convection using the reduced Galerkin method.


  • Ph.D. Duke University, 1993


  • Professor in the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Associate Professor in the Division of Marine Science and Conservation
  • Associate Professor of Radiology

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Fellows. American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 2012

Courses Taught

  • ME 639: Computational Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer
  • ME 555: Advanced Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 490: Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 321L: Mechanical Engineering Analysis for Design
  • ENRGYEGR 490: Special Topics in Energy Engineering