Steven DeCaluwe

Associate Professor, and Director of Graduate Studies – Mechanical Engineering

Steven DecaluweDr. Steven DeCaluwe’s research interests center on clean energy and water systems, with a focus on electrochemistry and interfacial processes. He leads the CORES Research Group, which combines fundamental experiments with numerical simulations to study the chemical, thermodynamic and fluid mechanic processes occurring at material interfaces and in reacting flows. Via fundamental insight into these processes, technologies can be designed and improved to enhance the quality of life for diverse populations and ease the impacts of human resource use on critical ecosystems and habitats across the globe.

Dr. DeCaluwe joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 2012 following an NRC postdoctoral fellowship at NIST in Gaithersburg, Maryland. His work at NIST used neutron scattering experiments to study solid electrolyte interphase formation in lithium-ion batteries and water uptake in thin-film polymers for PEM fuel cells.

Dr. DeCaluwe has a PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park. His dissertation was titled “Quantifying the role of ceria as catalyst in solid oxide fuel cell anodes.” His work at UMD involved electrochemical experiments, in operando physical chemistry diagnostics and multiscale simulations.

Dr. DeCaluwe holds a BS in Elementary Education and Mathematics from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. For three years prior to attending graduate school, he taught first and second grade in Nashville, Tennessee. 


Brown Hall W350E

Research Group and Lab

  • CORES Research Group (Colorado Reacting Flows, Electrochemistry and Surface Science)
  • Energy Conversion and Storage Lab

Research Areas

Our research incorporates simultaneous consideration of reacting flows, electrochemistry, and surface science to understand and improve clean energy and clean water devices. More specifically, we combine operando measurements and numerical simulations to understand:

  • The influence of conductive polymer microstructure and distribution in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells
  • Degradation in Li-ion batteries via growth and evolution of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI)
  • The impact of novel chemistries in advanced “beyond Li-ion” batteries, including lithium-sulfur, lithium-O2, and silicon anodes
  • Degradation due to mineral scaling in water desalination systems

Recent Courses

  • Thermodynamics (MEGN 361)
  • Fuel Cell Science Technology (MEGN 469/569)
  • Electrochemical Systems Engineering (MEGN 570)

Selected Publications

  • DeCaluwe, S. C. “Open Software for Chemical and Electrochemical Modeling: Opportunities and Challenges.” ECS Interface 28(1):47–50 (2019).
  • Lee, C. H., Dura, J. A., LeBar, A., DeCaluwe, S. C. “Direct, Operando Observation of the Bilayer Solid Electrolyte Interphase Structure: Electrolyte Reduction on a Non-Intercalating Electrode.” Journal of Power Sources 412:725–735 (2019).
  • DeCaluwe, S. C., Weddle, P. J, Zhu, H. Y., Colclasure, A. M., Bessler, W. G., Jackson, G. S., Kee, R. J. “On the Fundamental and Practical Aspects of Modeling Complex Electrochemical Kinetics and Transport.” Journal of the Electrochemical Society 165(13):E637–E658 (2018).
  • DeCaluwe, S. C., Baker, A. M., Bhargava, P., Fischer, J. E., Dura, J. A. “Structure-Property Relationships at Nafion Thin-Film Interfaces: Thickness Effects on Hydration and Anisotropic Ion Transport.” Nano Energy 46:91–100 (2018).
  • Kogekar, G., Karakaya, C., Liskovich, G. J., Oehlschlaeger, M. A., DeCaluwe, S. C. Kee, R. J. “Impact of Non-Ideal Behavior on Ignition Delay and Chemical Kinetics in High-Pressure Shock Tube Reactors.” Combustion and Flame 189:1–11 (2018).
  • DeCaluwe, S. C., Dhar, B. M., Huang, L., He, Y., Yang, K., Owejan, P., Zhao, Y., Talin, A. A., Dura, J. A., Wang, H. “Pore Collapse and Regrowth in Silicon Electrodes for Rechargeable Batteries.” Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 17(17):11301–11312 (2015).
  • DeCaluwe, S. C., Kienzle, P. A., Bhargava, P., Baker, A. M., Dura, J. A. “Phase Segregation of Sulfonate Groups in Nafion Interface Lamellae, Quantified via Neutron Reflectometry Fitting Techniques for Multi-Layered Structures.” Soft Matter 10(31):5763–5776 (2014).

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