Popli, Sahil (* Alumni, Ph.D. 2014)

Research Topic: 

Note: Sahil Popli graduated in 2014, and his dissertation was entitled, "Wetting of micro-channel heat exchanger heat transfer surfaces".  He now works for Emerson Climate Technologies.


Sahil PopliSahil Popli is a doctoral candidate, teaching assistant, and graduate research assistant with years of experience in design, process layout, experimental testing and analytical evaluation of academic and industrial research projects related to advanced thermal energy systems. He finds a great deal of satisfaction in creating a product that will make people comfortably cool while  saving energy and money over traditional models.  But for him, ‘cooling it’ can also mean taking some time out to sketch just for the sheer pleasure of it.

Enhancing performance of heat exchangers by studying wetting water flow rate

Sahil is in the final stages of working on his project, Performance Enhancement of Condenser Heat Exchangers with Evaporative Cooling, with advisor, Prof. Radermacher.  "The objective of my project is to enhance compact heat exchanger performance used as hybrid evaporative coolers/condensers by investigating effect of varying wetting water flow rate, angle of inclination, air velocity, fin geometry and hydrophilic coatings to develop best wetting strategy for different heat exchanger designs," he says.

Experimental measurements have demonstrated two to three times enhancement in heat transfer rate through application of evaporative cooling, when compared to dry cooling. This project involves experimental testing of heat exchanger performance enhancement using spray and deluge evaporative cooling, the application of novel visualization methods to obtain wetted-area flow maps for compact finned-tube heat exchangers the develop and experimentally test next generation, retrofit spray cooling technologies, the maximization of  capacity enhancement factors without increasing dry case air-side pressure drop, and the development of wetted heat exchanger capacity prediction models using FLUENT.

Online UMD course led him to College Park

He earned his Master of Science, Chemical Engineering in 2011 from the Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, UAE, and his Bachelor of Engineering, Chemical Engineering in 2008.  Manipal Institute of Technology, India.  Coincidentally, during his study at PI Sahil first ‘met’ Prof. Radermacher when taking an online course offered by the University of Maryland. Prior to studying for advanced degrees, Popli worked in industry as a development associate with the Unilever Research Center in Bangalore, India and as a production executive, for Unilever Limited’s Rajpura (India) Factory.

A provisional patent, fellowships and contributions to engineering at Maryland

Sahil's work at Maryland has led to a provisional patent by UMD Office of Technology Commercialization- Invention Disclosure for ‘Enhanced Spray Water Distribution Mechanism for Heat Exchangers Performance Enhancement using Evaporative Cooling,’ and has been awarded several scholarships and fellowships, including; the ASHRAE National Capital Chapter Graduate Scholarship, GDF SUEZ Energy Graduate Fellowship (UMD), and the Graduate Researcher Fellowship (Petroleum Institute).  He’s also an EPA Certified Universal Technician, and in 2013 was the University of Maryland’s ASHRAE Student Chapter President and the AEE (Association of Energy Engineers) student chapter secretary. He has four peer reviewed conference publications and four peer reviewed journal publications to his name.

Popli's artwork
Clint Eastwood,
Graphite on Paper,
Sahil Popli, 2013.

Sahil is on schedule to graduate in December 2014 and looks forward to continuing his career in the USA at Emerson Climate Technologies.  During his precious few hours to himself, Sahil likes to play cricket, learn data visualization techniques and of course - draw.