Sivaramakrishnan “Bala” Balachandar, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering

2023 Awardee

Dr. Sivaramakrishnan “Bala” Balachandar has over 25 years of research experience, his expertise includes computational multiphase flow, direct and large eddy simulations of transitional and turbulent flows, and integrated multiphysics simulations of complex problems.

Bala earned his master’s and doctorate in applied mathematics and engineering at Brown University in 1985 and 1988. He worked at the NASA Langley Research Center as a contractor and spent 15 years in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign before becoming the chair of UF MAE in 2005.

Bala has contributed to the understanding of multiphase flows in many significant ways. In the early days of the pandemic, his team led studied virus-laden droplet ejection, including quantifying the risk of viral transmission to inform social distancing recommendations. He is a pioneer of compressible multiphase flows, as his models and multiscale numerical framework are used by the Department of Energy and Department of Defense at three national laboratories and four military bases.

He also led an investigation on particle-turbulence interaction that used simulations to produce the first-ever detailed look at a particle’s interaction with ambient turbulence. He introduced several new concepts in the area of multiphase flow modeling, including equilibrium Eulerian formulation, pairwise interaction extended point-particle model, and modern machine learning for multiphase closure.

These efforts are at the forefront of a revolution in how data generated from particle-resolved simulations can be used to extract meaningful physics-informed closures for multiphase turbulence.
He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, co-editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Multiphase Flow, and associate editor of Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics.

The founding director of the UF College of Engineering Institute for Computational Engineering, he is on the executive board of the International Conference on Multiphase Flow, serves on the Engineering Sciences External Review Panel for the Sandia National Laboratories, and was director of the DOE PSAAP Center for Compressible Multiphase Turbulence.

Among his many achievements are authoring four books and 290 journal papers, as well as mentoring 55 PhD students and 34 postdocs and research scientists. Of his students, 20 have become professors at institutions of higher learning around the world and 21 have joined the DOE and DOD national laboratories.