The Particle Flow & Tribology Lab (PFTL) at Carnegie Mellon researches new methodologies to predicting the behavior of granular, powder, and slurry flows in sliding contacts. Our research is conducted through the synergistic use of experiments, physics-based modeling, and computational simulations. The research in the PFTL has application to the semiconductor, energy, biotechnology, nanotechnology, agricultural, space, and defense industries. The lab’s founder and director is Prof. C. Fred Higgs III.


Spring 2010: PFTL PhD student Jeremiah Mpagazehe was awarded the Carnegie Mellon mechanical engineering department's "Best TA" award for the Fall 2009 & Spring 2010 semesters.

Spring 2010: PFTL welcomes a new PhD student Gagan Srivastava to the lab with a focus on computational fluid dynamics (CFD), multiphase CFD, and with extensive consulting experience involving some use of ANSYS FEM.

Spring 2010: Nine PFTL undergraduate researchers will graduate on May 15.

Spring 2010: Prof. C. Fred Higgs III has been selected to receive the 2010 ASME Burt L. Newkirk Award. More...

Spring 2010: Sean Coleman , a PFTL undergraduate researcher, was a finalist in the “Meeting of the Minds” More...

Spring 2010: Ryan Comes, a PFTL undergraduate alumnus, the first students to publish a first author journal article based on his PFTL undergraduate research, has won the NDSEG Fellowship.

Spring 2010: Martin Marinack Jr., a PFTL PhD student, was awarded the NSF Graduate Student Research Fellowship.

Spring 2010: Prof. C. Fred Higgs III was named The Clarence H. Adamson Career Faculty Fellow in Mechanical Engineering.

Fall 2009: Prof. C. Fred Higgs III and his wife Terese welcome their 1st child Taylor into the world.

Spring 2009: Jeremiah Mpagazehe, a PFTL PhD student, was awarded the NASA GSRP Fellowship with the NASA Glenn Research Center.

Spring 2009: The PFTL welcomes a new member of the family, Dr. Hojjat Nasr, who is a new postdoctoral research associate. He received his PhD from Clarkson University under Dr. Ahmadi.

Fall 2008: Former PFTL PhD student, Emmanuel Wornyoh, starts his new faculty position at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in the mechanical engineering department.

Fall 2008:Former PFTL PhD student, Elon Terrell, starts his new faculty position at Columbia University in the mechanical engineering department.

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The research themes that the PFTL focuses on are:
  • Granular flow
  • Powder lubrication
  • Slurry tribology
  • Computational Fluid/Solid Interactions



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C. Fred Higgs, III
Associate Professor of the Mechanical Engineering Department
Affiliated Professor in the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh PA 15213-3890
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