David S. Corti

Professor of Chemical Engineering
Director of Undergraduate Studies

FRNY 1055
Purdue University
School of Chemical Engineering
Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering
480 Stadium Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2100
(765) 496-6064 (office)
(765) 494-0805 (fax)
Joined Purdue in 1998
B.S. University of Pennsylvania, 1991
M.A. Princeton University, 1993
Ph.D Princeton University, 1997

Research Interests

Professor Corti's research focuses on understanding the thermophysical and kinetic properties of a variety of soft condensed-phase systems, including liquids and colloidal dispersions. Theoretical and simulation techniques are utilized to generate important insights into how the interparticle forces influence the behavior of such systems over a broad range of time and length scales.

Metastable Liquids; Bubble Nucleation

Metastable liquids under extreme conditions of temperature and pressure are of fundamental importance in industrial applications, as well as being ubiquitous in nature. Natural and industrial examples of metastable liquids include highly supercooled water in clouds, sap ascent in trees under tension, vapor explosions, tension pumps, preservation of labile biochemicals via supercooling and vitrification, and sonochemistry. In order to further our understanding of the behavior and properties of metastable liquids various topics are addressed: the statistical mechanics of constrained ensembles and the thermophysical properties of metastable systems, rigorous theories of nucleation and the transition between nucleation and growth and spinodal decomposition. For example, we have recently shown that liquid-to-vapor liquid nucleation is more appropriately described by an "activated instability", with the subsequent bubble growth phase occurring via a mechanism consistent with an unstable system. In addition, we have developed novel simulation methods that generate estimates of the rates of bubble formation, all of which incorporate the key aspects of the newly predicted picture of bubble nucleation and growth.

Entropic Control of Colloidal Stability, Phase Transitions, and Particle Deposition

The ability of colloidal particles, under certain conditions, to self-organize suggests that colloidal particles could be used as precursors for advanced materials via the generation of complex microstructures. The precise control of colloidal dispersions rests upon our knowledge of the forces that arise between colloidal particles and between particles and surfaces of various shapes. An important class of interparticle forces is induced by the presence of other colloidal species and arises solely as a result of entropic considerations. Specifically, passive structures etched into the walls of the container can create entropic force fields of sufficient range and magnitude so that the motion and position of large colloids can be controlled, thereby generating a variety of two-dimensional fluidlike and solidlike phases on chosen templates. The use of entropic force fields to create various complex microstructures is a promising approach to the production of advanced materials. We are currently developing theoretical and simulation methods to predict the magnitude and range of entropic forces between particles and between particles and surfaces of various shapes, to investigate phase separations in model colloidal dispersions, and to estimate coagulation/deposition rates and the kinetics of the phase transitions exhibited by entropically controlled dispersions.

Stability of Model Colloidal Dispersions

In collaboration with Prof. Elias I. Franses, we are studying the “Aqueous Dispersion Stability of Inks and Ink-Like Model Colloidal Dispersions.” The main goal of these detailed experimental and theoretical studies is to improve understanding of the inter-particle forces which cause the dispersions of colloidal particles or nanoparticles to agglomerate, or to remain stable. The project may lead to innovative theories, models, and simulations, and industrial guidelines on how to control dispersion stability, and ultimately to new ways of making improved inks. In addition, we study the colloidal stability of dispersions of hydrates particles formed by complexes of hydrocarbons and water. Such hydrates may lead to plugging of pipelines containing hydrocarbons during the production stages, and should be avoided.

Research Group

Graduate Students

  • Aniruddha Kelkar (with Prof. Elias I. Franses)
  • Betty Yung-Jih Yang (with Prof. Elias I. Franses)

Awards and Honors

NSF CAREER Award (2002)
"Teaching for Tomorrow" Award, Purdue University (2002-2003)
University Faculty Scholar (2011-2016)
2011 Fundamentals of Engineering Education Symposium
Editorial Board, ISRN Computational Mathematics (2011-present)

Selected Publications

“Comment on, ‘The Gibbs paradox and the distinguishability of identical particles,’ by M.A.M. Versteegh and D. Dieks,” D. S. Corti, Am. J. Phys., 80, 170-173 (2012)

“New Models and Predictions for Brownian Coagulation of Non-Interacting Spheres,” A. V. Kelkar, J. Dong, E. I. Franses, and D. S. Corti, J. Coll. Int. Sci., in press (2012)

“Extension of Scaled Particle Theory to Inhomogeneous Hard Particle Fluids. IV. Cavity Growth at any Distance Relative to a Planar Hard Wall,” D. W. Siderius and D. S. Corti, Phys. Rev. E., 83, 031126(1-20) (2011)

“On the Interfacial Thermodynamics of Nanoscale Droplets and Bubbles,” D. S. Corti, K. J. Kerr, and K. Torabi, J. Chem. Phys., 135, 024701(1-20) (2011)

“Effect of Triton X-100 on the Stability of Aqueous Dispersions of Copper Phthalocyanine Pigment Nanoparticles,” J. Dong, S. Chen, D. S. Corti, E. I. Franses, Y. Zhao, H. T. Ng, and E. Hanson, J. Coll. Int. Sci., 362, 33-41 (2011)

“Adsorption of Myrj 45 on Copper Phthalocyanine Pigment Nanoparticles and Effect on Their Dispersion Stability in Aqueous Solution,” J. Dong, D. S. Corti, E. I. Franses, Y. Zhao, H. T. Ng, and E. Hanson, Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochem. Eng. Aspects, 390, 74-85 (2011)