Michael Graham

Michael D. Graham is the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor and Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Dayton in 1986 and his PhD. from Cornell University in 1992. After postdoctoral appointments at the University of Houston and Princeton University, he joined the Chemical Engineering faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994. He chaired the department from 2006-2009.

Professor Graham’s research interests include the rheology and dynamics of polymer solutions and suspensions, especially under confinement; blood flow in the microcirculation; swimming microorganisms; and instabilities and turbulence in Newtonian and complex fluids. He is author of two textbooks: Microhydrodynamics, Brownian Motion, and Complex Fluids (Cambridge, 2018) and Modeling and Analysis Principles for Chemical and Biological Engineers (Nob Hill, 2013, with James B. Rawlings).

Among Professor Graham’s professional distinctions are the Best Student Paper Award from the Environmental Division of AIChE in 1986, a CAREER Award from NSF in 1995, the François Frenkiel Award for Fluid Mechanics from the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics (APS/DFD) in 2004, the Stanley Corrsin Award from APS/DFD in 2015, and a 2018 Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship from the US Department of Defense. He has delivered the Allan P. Colburn Memorial Lecture at the University of Delaware, the Dale Pearson Lectures at UCSB, the Ronald F. Probstein Lecture at MIT and the Stewartson Lecture at the British Applied Mathematics Colloquium.

Professor Graham was an Associate Editor of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics from 2005-2012 and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics from 2013-2015.  He is Vice President of the Society of Rheology.

The Graham group uses theory and computations to study problems in fluid dynamics, rheology and transport phenomena over a wide range of scales. They focus on problems that hold both fundamental interests in advancing basic principles as well as the impact on applications. The group has two basic thrust areas, one in microscale flows and complex fluids and the other in the nonlinear dynamics of turbulent flows. In the first area, we are interested in general in the dynamics of mechanically and geometrically complex objects suspended in a flowing fluid and the interplay between microstructure and flow. Specific examples under study include the dynamics of blood cells in flow,  the interplay between cell geometry and mechanics in bacterial swimming, the deformations of thin deformable sheetlike particles in flow, and the rheology and fluid dynamics of dilute micellar surfactant solutions.   In the area of turbulent flows, the group aims to elucidate the complex interaction between rheology and fluid dynamics that leads to the phenomenon of turbulent drag reduction in polymer and surfactant solutions -- this topic is a bridge to the group's interest in microscale flows and rheology. We also apply ideas from nonlinear dynamical systems theory, data science and machine learning to elucidate the principles underlying the complex dynamics of turbulent shear flows, aiming toward the development of control schemes that can manipulate turbulence to desired ends such as drag reduction.