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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Matthew Hyre

By Linda LaFrombois on Monday, December 13, 2021


Matthew Hyre, Ph.D., associate professor of Engineering, has been awarded two contracts to continue scholarship and engage University of Northwestern engineering students in high-level research.

Hyre received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He taught at Virginia Military Institute before joining Northwestern’s faculty in 2010. Hyre has authored numerous papers and lectured around the world in the fields of computational modeling and biomedical applications.

Building Water Network Modeling

Hyre was awarded a contract involving the evaluation of piping networks to reduce the growth and spread of Legionella bacteria in stagnant building water systems as they reopen after prolonged shutdowns. This work will be in cooperation with several industry groups—ThermOmegaTech, located near Philadelphia, and the International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials of Ontario, California—and may provide the platform for the evaluation of future building water systems.

The water network modeling will involve the development of mathematical models to evaluate the dynamic response of building water supply systems to changes in water demand. The focus will be on creating a flexible computational platform to evaluate piping and valve designs, including the thermal and fluid dynamic behavior.

Wastewater Treatment Project

Through a second contract award, Hyre will numerically evaluate novel technologies for the treatment of wastewater by Envirodyne Systems in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. These technologies are aimed at helping water treatment facilities meet stringent environmental requirements while cutting operation and maintenance costs.

This project involves the development of computational models for the visualization of the hydrodynamics (water flow patterns) and solids movement as they are being removed from the separation tanks. These multiphase models require the determination of the water level in the tank as well as the solids separation efficiencies for various treatment technologies. Hyre and his student team completed Phase I of the study and are working on the second of three phases.

In addition to providing field research opportunity for Hyre, a key benefit of these contracts is the opportunity for Northwestern students to play a significant role in a level of research often reserved for graduate students in many universities. Students working alongside Hyre in these projects play active roles in writing code and testing models. It’s an opportunity for students to apply what they’ve learned in class to a real problem with real deadlines for a real client.