Thom Adams (or "Dr. Thom" as his students call him) is the Herman A. Moench Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering. A Rose alumnus, he is one of only a small number of faculty to have received both the Dean’s Outstanding Teacher Award and the Board of Trustees Outstanding Scholar Award. He is a leading educator in the field of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and author of one of the first textbooks on the subject aimed at an undergraduate audience. Though his traditional background is in the areas of heat transfer and energy systems, his current research focuses on what he calls “generalist scholarship,” in which physical systems and processes are purposely modeled using the most fundamental concepts and methods available in order to ascertain physical trends and correlations that often go unnoticed. His work has received national and international acclaim, having won numerous best paper awards in engineering education and technical research as well.

Dr. Adams also advises the Rose Thorn student newspaper, Yoga Club, and Theta Xi fraternity, and has showcased his acoustic guitar playing skills in the annual Engineers in Concert.

Learn more about Dr. Adams at his website

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1998
  • MS, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1991
  • BS, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 1990

Awards & Honors

  • Trustees Outstanding Scholar Award, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 2019
  • Dean's Outstanding Teacher, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 2005
  • Best Paper, Second International Conference on Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow, 2015
  • Best Paper, American Society for Engineering Education's Conference, 2004
  • Best Paper Award, National Heat Transfer Conference, 1999

Research Experiences

  • Scholarship of generalization
  • Microfluidics
  • MEMS
  • Turbulent convection in microchannels
  • Two-phase flow

Select Publications & Presentations

  • Adams, T. M., “On the Scholarship of Generalization” (Keynote Address), Third International Conference on Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow, Budapest, Hungary, 2016
  • Adams, T. M., “Breve Introducción a Sistemas Micro-Electro-Mecánicos (MEMS)” (Invited Presentation), II Jornada 2014, Superación y trabajo en equipo, P.P. Ingeniería Mecánica, Mecánica Eléctrica y Mecatrónica, Universidad Católica Santa María, Arequipa, Perú, 2014
  • Adams, T. M., “Why Engineering Is Like Playing the Doors on Solo Ukulele,” TEDx RoseHulman, Terre Haute, 2013
  • Adams, T., Grant, C. and Watson, H., "A Simple Algorithm to Relate Measured Surface Roughness to Equivalent Sand-grain Roughness," International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics, Vol. 1 (1), 66-71, 2012
  • Adams, T. M., “Formative Classroom Assessment Techniques,” Five Years of Learning Together, Center for Practice and Scholarship of Education Teaching Workshop, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 2011
  • Adams, T. M. and Layton, R. A., Introductory MEMS: Fabrication and Applications. Springer, 2010
  • Adams, T. and White, A., "Macroscopic Conservation Equation Based Model for Surface Tension Driven Flow," Proceedings of 7th Annual International Conference on Advances in Fluid Mechanics, The New Forest, United Kingdom, 2008
  • Adams, T. M., Kirkpatrick, S. R., Wang, Z. and Siahmakoun, A., “NiTi Shape Memory Alloy Thin Films Deposited by Co-evaporation,” Materials Letters, Vol. 59 (10), 1,161-1,164, 2005
  • Adams, T. M., Ghiaasiaan, S. M. and Abdel-Khalik, S. I., "Enhancement of Liquid Forced Convection Heat Transfer in Microchannels Due to the Desorption of Dissolved Noncondensables," International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 42, 3,563-3,573, 1999
  • Adams, T. M., Abdel-Khalik, S. I., Jeter and Qureshi, Z. H.,"An Experimental Investigation of Single-Phase Forced Convection in Microchannels," International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 41, 851-857, 1998

Teaching Interests

  • Heat transfer
  • Thermodynamics
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Energy systems
  • Solid mechanics
  • Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)
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