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Ricardo Mejia-Alvarez

Ricardo Mejia-Alvarez

Ricardo Mejia-Alvarez

Assistant Professor


My current research focuses on experimental studies of high strain-rate phenomena. My group and I use high-resolution three-dimensional ultrahigh-speed imaging techniques to address complex scientific problems in two major areas:

Laboratory for the Physics of Living Tissue Under Severe Interactions (PLUTSI): we use complex dynamic loading of brain tissue, cell cultures, and surrogate models of the brain to unveil the mechanics of blast-induced and blunt Traumatic Brain Injury, both at the macro- and microscopic levels. We also use patient-specific surrogate models of diseased arteries to study the hemodynamics of human aneurysms.

Laboratory for Turbulence and Hydrodynamic Stability (LaTHyS): we use laser-based techniques to study turbulent mixing in binary flows with large viscosity ratios, Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities driven by surface and/or volumetric energy deposition, and flow through poroelastic materials.

My research requires developing challenging, non-conventional, facilities and experimental diagnostics. I am interested in helping enthusiastic students to reach their full potential through solving problems that are relevant to the advancement of science, technology, and society.

Research Area
2016 Pollution Prevention Award. Los Alamos National Laboratory, April 2016.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2015.
LANL Campaign 4 Saturn Award. Los Alamos National Laboratory, June 2013.
Excellence in Laboratory Standards. Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2012.
Francois Frenkiel Award for Fluid Mechanics. Division of Fluid Dynamics of the American Physical Society, 2011.
James O. Smith Memorial Award for teaching excellence. Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007.
List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent. Fall 2005, Spring 2006, Summer 2006, Fall 2006. Center for Teaching Excellence, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
National Contest for Academic Excellence – Universidad de Antioquia’s 200th anniversary. Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia, 2002.
Best Theses National Contest. Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2001.
Summa Cum Laude. Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2001.
Honor Mention. Colombian National Army, 1993.
Ph.D. Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010
M.S. Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006
M.S. Thermal Engineering, Universidad de Antioquia – Colombia, 2004
B.S. Mechanical Engineering (Summa Cum Laude), Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2000
B. Wilson, R. Mejia-Alvarez, and K. Prestridge. Single-interface Richtmyer-Meshkov turbulent mixing at the Los Alamos Vertical Shock Tube. ASME Journal of Fluids Engineering. 138(7): 070901 (2016).
R. Mejia-Alvarez, B. Wilson, M. Leftwich, A. Martinez and K. Prestridge. Design of a Fast Diaphragmless Shock Tube Driver. Shock Waves. 25(6):635-650 (2015).
R. Mejia-Alvarez, Y. Wu, and K.T. Christensen. Observations of Meandering Superstructures in the Roughness Sublayer of a Rough-Wall Turbulent Boundary Layer. International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow. 48:43-51 (2014).
R. Mejia-Alvarez and K.T. Christensen. Wall-parallel stereo PIV measurements in the roughness sublayer of turbulent flow overlying highly-irregular roughness. Physics of Fluids. 25(11):115109 (2013).
R. Mejia-Alvarez and K.T. Christensen. Polymer-Induced Turbulence Modifications in an Impinging Jet. Experiments in Fluids. 52(5):1237-1260 (2012)
J.A. Palmer, R. Mejia-Alvarez, J.L. Best and K.T. Christensen. Particle-Image Velocimetry Measurements of Flow Over Interacting Barchan Dunes. Experiments in Fluids. 52(3):809-829 (2012).
G. Friedman, K.P. Prestridge, R. Mejia-Alvarez and M. Leftwich. Shock-driven mixing: experimental design and initial conditions. In: Proceedings of the 17th Biennial Conference of the American Physical Society Topical Group on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter (APS-SCCM). Chicago, IL. USA, June 26th - July 1st, 2011. AIP Conf. Proc. 1426, pp. 1647-1650.
R. Mejia-Alvarez and K.T. Christensen. Low-Order Representations of Irregular Surface Roughness and Their Impact on a Turbulent Boundary Layer. Physics of Fluids. 22(1):015106 (2010).
Primary Department