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Robert Brodkey

  • Faculty Emeritus, Chemical & Biomolecular Eng
  • 306 CBEC
    151 W. Woodruff Ave.
    Columbus, OH 43210
  • 614-292-2609



  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1952
  • M.S., Ch.E., University of California, 1950
  • B.C., Chemistry, University of California, 1950
  • A.A., San Francisco City College, 1948


Key Honors and Distinctions

Best known for groundbreaking research in understanding coherent structures in turbulent flow.


Top Awards

  • Fluid Mechanics Symposium," Turbulence in Chemical Processing," in Honor of Robert S. Brodkey at UNCTAM-14, Blacksburg, Va., 2002;
  • W.W. Clyde Chair of Engineering at University of Utah, Fall, 1994
  • North American Mixing Forum Outstanding Research Award, 1994
  • ASEE 3M Chemical Engineering Lectureship Award, 1986
  • ASEE Senior Research Award, 1985
  • Distinguished Senior Research Award from The Ohio State University, 1983
  • College of Engineering at OSU’s Senior Research Award, 1983, 1986
  • Elected for a return visit to Germany by Alexander von Humboldt Senior U.S. Scientist Program, 1983
  • Visiting Professorship award from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, 1978
  • Alexander von Humboldt Senior U.S. Scientist Award, 1975
  • NATO Senior Fellowship in Science, 1972
  • He is a Fellow of AIChE, 1985; American Physical Society, 1987; American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1954; American Institute of Chemists, 1953; American Academy of Mechanics, 2002


RESEARCH AREAS - Brodkey Group for Fluid Dynamics

  • Image Processing and Analysis and Fluid Mechanics
  • Graduate Student Opportunities:  Emeritus - no longer taking graduate students.
  • Research Achievements:  Professor Brodkey's research has been a seminal effort that set the tone for research in the years to come. His work on turbulence and mixing, for which he received the North American Mixing Forum Outstanding Research Award, established the first successful approach to tie together the mixing, kinetics and turbulence processes. His two-phase flow efforts resulted in the Outstanding Paper of the Year Award (1970) given by the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering. His researches in the field of rheology developed a comprehensive phenomenological approach to begin to tackle the problem of bringing large amounts of rheological date together in a logical manner. His graduate text, The Phenomena of Fluid Motions, has been very favorably reviewed and cited in the literature. His undergraduate text, Transport Phenomena: A Unified Approach, with Harry Hershey helped unify the subject and is still being used today in teaching the subject.

Research Statement

  • Our previous experiments and computations that involve full-field, time-resolved, velocity vector measurements in the opposed jet system are now completed. A research paper on this multi-year effort is under review. The following low-resolution, visual link is to one of our older examples of a dynamic visual that shows the average experimental velocity vectors in horizontal planes that scan from the bottom to top of the vessel.  Contours of the velocity field are shown either on the top or bottom planes.  There is also a 3-D surface representation of the contours in the central region.

A few words are also needed on the now-abandoned use of a convective view to allow measurement of time-resolved, three-dimensional velocity vectors in a mixing vessel at high Reynolds (a view synchronized with the mixer turbine).  The idea is still sound and could allow more fundamental and local parameters (e.g., local turbulent kinetic energy) to be obtained that describe inhomogeneity that is of importance in mixing vessels and can be used to describe trailing impeller vortex structures, baffle-fluid interactions, etc. 

Such measures can be contrasted with the more usual overall global parameters such as the power per unit volume etc.  Local motions must be used to allow prediction of mixing, especially where selectivity is of importance. These measurements must be made under true dynamic conditions where superimposed larger scale motions can influence finer scale mixing processes. 

The ultimate goal was to model mixing so that computational approaches can make experimental measurements unnecessary. The view must be well based in fundamentals, but at the same time be clearly directed to solving our real world engineering problems.