Joel L. Plawsky

Joel L. Plawsky
Department Head
Contact Information
Office: Ricketts 102
Phone: 518-276-6049
Sc.D. Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,1986
M.S. Chemical Engineering Practice, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1982
B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, 1980
Joel L. Plawsky received his BS in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan and his MSCEP and ScD in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After graduation, Joel worked for Corning Inc. in their applied physics research division before returning to academia at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is currently a professor of chemical engineering at RPI. Joel was a NASA Faculty Fellow in 1999 and 2000 and a visiting professor of chemical engineering at Delft University of Technology in 2002. In 2003 Joel spent 6 months at Marshall Space Flight Center where he helped in the investigation of what caused the disintegration of the space shuttle, Challenger, and developed repair materials to help prevent another catastrophic loss. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), has served as the chairman of the Transport and Energy Processes Division of AIChE, is a recipient of AIChEís Herb Epstein Award, and serves on the editorial board of Chemical Engineering Communications.
Research Interests
Interfacial phenomena, Transport Processes, Thin Films, Microelectronics, Photonics
Current Research
Joel works primarily in the areas of interfacial and transport phenomena.  He is the author of Transport Phenomena Fundamentals, 2nd edition.  Joelís work spans a wide range of topics including describing the mechanisms behind dielectric breakdown in gate, interconnect and LED materials, understanding the fundamental processes governing change-of-phase heat and mass transfer, developing novel porous materials for microelectronics and photonics applications, developing new composite thermal interface materials for semiconductor and LED applications, and on a much larger scale, designing and developing pneumatic conveying equipment that has been used for producing high performance concrete, for blending nutraceuticals, for coating aerogel insulation particles, and for purification and decontamination of water.
Joel has two space experiments.  One long-term experiment is on the International Space Station and is focused on the effect of microgravity on change-of-phase heat transfer and especially the operation and stability of heat pipes.  The second experiment that is due to fly on the Space Shuttle is aimed at understanding the effects of microgravity and transport on the formation of biofilms.