McMaster University
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4L7

Office: JHE 212/A (Mail to JHE-316)
Voice: (905) 525-9140 x24899
Fax: (905) 572-7944

  • B.Eng., McMaster University, 1994
    M.Eng., McMaster University, 1997
    Ph.D., McMaster University, 2001

Research Interests

  • Fluid mechanics
  • Heat Transfer
  • Modeling in thermo-fluid systems
  • Multi-phase flows
  • Renewals & sustainable energy systems

Specific Research Activities

My research interests centre on the thermo-fluid sciences directly related to Thermal Energy Conversion and Management. I am currently developing a research program encompassing Conservation and Demand/Supply Management and Integration of Sustainable Energy Sources to determine a “Best Mix Approach” to energy generation. My research initiatives include both experimental and computational investigations of heat transfer, thermodynamics and fluid dynamics and topics addressing fundamental issues in the thermal sciences as well as integrated technologies for real life thermal management problems.

During my time in industry (Dana Corp. - until, June 2007), the main focus of my research activities included automotive power plant and fuel cell thermal system management system design and emission control. I was the supervisor of the Heat Transfer Research team at Dana and I provided research and development leadership by determining vision, strategy and goals for heat transfer related activities for the Division. The role involved the development of a team of seven engineers to establish and maintain a problem oriented technical resource base to support advanced product development. My research in design and analysis of next generation heat transfer surfaces for product advancement and new product development resulted in two novel patents of new concept surfaces and devices. Methods to predict and optimize the performance of surfaces such as louvered fins through the mechanistic models were developed. The research also involved the first completely virtual design and competitive benchmarking development program for a heat transfer surface that, through years of effort and collaboration with the Advanced Manufacturing Team, resulted in a design appropriate for high volume manufacturing. Further, the research facilitated the development of a novel experimental method to accurately measure the heat transfer coefficient and friction factor of ‘turbs’ (heat transfer surface for viscous liquids) and fins (heat transfer surfaces for gases). As a research engineer I was responsible for the design, development and optimization of five different fuel cell thermal management systems for major fuel cell customers. The work resulted in a patented thermal management system that exhibited increased system efficiency, a reduced number of components and enhanced control features. The work made possible the commercialization of several first generation systems ranging in size from 5kW to 75kW. Applications ranged from stationary combined heat and power applications for residential use to a proof of concept demonstration vehicle.

My current interests leverage my industry experience however the focus has shifted towards the broader focus of technologies for efficient energy conversion and utilization which aim to meet the urgent challenge of a sustainable energy supply. My research is focused on strategic technologies involving both innovations in emerging technologies and improvements to existing ones. Technical areas spanned by this research include: thermo-hydraulics of power systems; energy efficiency in a wide range of systems, including HVAC, refrigeration and waste heat recovery systems; microelectronics thermal management; energy mediation and storage thermal management and system design, modeling and optimization; the development of a ‘smart’ electrohydrodynamic heat exchanger; thermal energy storage and non-thermal plasma flue gas cleaning systems.   

My efforts in technology are grounded in a deep appreciation of the fundamental sciences, including research in these areas: thermodynamics; transport phenomena, including heat and mass transfer; two-phase flows; electrohydrodynamics; and various aspects of fluid dynamics. Specific topics of interest include the mechanisms of heat transfer during nucleate pool boiling, the physics of vapour bubble growth, phase change phenomena in graphite foams, phase change material thermal storage, two phase flow and flow accelerated corrosion, electrohydrodynamic (EHD) active control of heat transfer, microscale and electronics thermal management.

Selected Publications

  • Lesage, F.J., Cotton, J.S., Robinson, A.J., 2013, Modelling of quasi-static adiabatic bubble formation, growth and detachment for low Bond numbers, Chemical Eng. Sci., (104), 742-754.
  • Mazhar, H., Ewing, D., Cotton, J. S., Ching, C. Y., 2013. “Experimental investigation of mass transfer in 90° pipe bends using a dissolvable wall technique”, Int. J. Heat & Mass Trans., (65), 280–288.
  • Lesage, F., Cotton, J.S., Robinson, A.J., 2013, Analysis of quasi-static vapour bubble shape during growth and departure, Physics of Fluids, (25(6)), 067103-1-21.
  • Nangle-Smith, S., Sadek, H., Cotton, J.S., 2012, The Influence of the Electrophoretic and Polarization Forces on Two Phase Flow Redistribution in a Horizontal Annular Tube, Int. J. Plasma Env. Sci. & Tech., (7 (1)), 64-70.
  • Cuthbert, R., Pan, F., Nieminen, K., Friedrich, K., Wilkinson, D., Cotton, J.S., 2013, A Solar PV-Thermal Energy Design Optimization Study of a Building Footprint Limited Net-Zero Energy Facility, ASHRAE Trans., (119(1)), 188-202.
  • Cotton, J.S., Robinson, A., Shoukri, M., Chang, J.S., 2012, AC Electrohydrodynamic Two-Phase Convective Boiling Heat Transfer in Horizontal Annular Channels, Exp. Thermal and Fluid Sci., (41), 31–42.
  • Ng,. K., Ching, C, Cotton, J.S., 2011, Transient Two-Phase Flow Patterns by Application of a High Voltage Pulse Width Modulated Signal and the Effect on Condensation Heat Transfer, J. of Heat Transfer, (133 (9)), 091501-1-10.
  • Sadek, H., Cotton, J.S., Ching, C.Y., Shoukri, M., 2011, In-tube Convective Condensation under AC high Voltage Electric Fields, J. of Enhanced Heat Trans., (18 (2)), 137-147.
  • Russel, M.K., Young, C., Cotton, J.S., Ching, C.Y., The Effect of Orientation on U-shaped Grooved and Sintered Wick Heat Pipes, Applied Thermal Eng., (31 (1)), 69-76.
  • Bailey, J.M, Davidson. A.W., Smith, G.R., Cotton, J.S., 2011, Evaluation of Thermal Energy Storage and Recovery for an Energy Mediator System, Simulation Modelling Practice and Theory J., (19 (4)), 1164-1174.
  • Brocilo, D., Cotton, J.S., dela Cruz E., Harvel, G.D., Ewing D., Bardeleben, M., Chang, J.S., 2011, Deposited Diesel Soot Oxidation and Removal Characteristics by Non-thermal Plasma, Int. J. Plasma Env. Sci. & Tech., (5 (1)), 37-41.
  • Sadek, H., Ching, C.Y., Cotton, J., 2010, The Effect of Pulsed Electric Fields on Horizontal Tube Side Convective Condensation, Int. J. Heat & Mass Trans., (52 (19-20)), 3721-3732.
  • Sadek, H., Ching, C.Y., Cotton, J., 2010, Characterization of Heat Transfer Modes of Tube Side Convective Condensation under the Influence of an Applied DC Voltage, Int. J. Heat & Mass Trans., (52 (19-20)), 4141-4151.
  • El-Gammal, M., Mazhar, H., Cotton, J., Schefski, C., Pietralik, J. and Ching, C.Y., 2010, The Hydrodynamic Effects of Single Phase Flow on Flow Accelerated Corrosion in a 90 Degree Elbow, Nuclear Eng. & Design, (240, (6)), 1589-1598.
  • Ayrault, C., Chang, J.S., Ewing, D., Cotton, J.S., Gerges, I.E., Burgers, J., 2009, Differential Thermal Analysis, Thermal Gravimetric Analysis, and Solid Phase Micro-extraction Gas Chromatography Analysis of Water and Fuel Absorption in Diesel Soot, Technical Note, J. of Aerosol Science, (40 (11)), 237-241.
  • Sadek, H., Ching C.Y., Cotton, J.S., 2009, The Effect of Frequency and Duty Cycle on Heat Transfer and Pressure Drop for Convective Condensation under Pulsed Electric Field, Int. J. Plasma Env. Sci. & Tech., (3 (2)), 133-137. (5-year Impact Factor: n/a)
  • Chang, J.S., Luthereau, C., dela Cruz, E., Khalaf, P.I., Brocilo, D., Harvel, G.D., Ewing, D., Debacher, N.A., McCluskey, F. Cotton, J.S., Bardeleben, M., 2009, Plasma Suppression of Diesel Soot Deposition During Diesel Engine Operations, Int. J. Plasma Env. Sci. & Tech., (3 (1)), 15-21.
  • Charles, F., Ewing, D., Cotton, J.S., Gerges, I.E., Chang, J.S., 2009, Comparison of the Effect of Soot Deposition on the Flow and Thermal Characteristics of a Plate-Fin and Shell-and-Tube Type EGR Cooling Devices, Proc. of the Inst. of Mech. Eng., Part D, J. of Auto. Eng., 1093-1100.
  • dela Cruz, E., Chang, J.S., Berezin, A.A., Ewing, D., Cotton, J.S., Bardeleben, M. 2009, Electrical Effect of Soot Deposition in a Co-Axial Wire Pipe Flow, J. Electrostatics, (67), 128-132.
  • Cotton, J.S, 2009, Electrohydrodynamic Condensation Heat Transfer Modulation under dc and ac Applied Voltages in a Horizontal Annular Channel, IEEE Trans. on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, EHD Special Issue April, pp. 495-503.
  • Naterer, G.F., Fowler, M., Cotton, J.S, Gabriel, K., 2008, Synergistic Roles of Off-peak Electrolysis and Thermochemical Production of Hydrogen from Nuclear Energy in Canada, Int. J. of Hydrogen Energy, (33 (23)), 6849-6857.
  • Cotton, J.S., Robinson, A.J., Chang, J.S., Shoukri, M., 2007, “Electrohydrodynamic Enhancement of Flow Boiling in an Eccentric Horizontal Cylindrical Channel”, J. of Enhanced Heat Transfer, JEHT 05s-121, Accepted for Publication September 2007.
  • Sadek, H., Cotton, J.S., Ching, C.Y., Shoukri, M., 2007, “Effect of Frequency on Electrohydrodynamic Enhanced Tube-Side Condensation,  J. of Electrostatics, ELSTAT 2167, Accepted for Publication August 2007.
  • Sadek, H., Robinson, A., Cotton, J.S., Ching, C., Shoukri, M., 2006, “Electrohydrodynamic Enhancement of In-Tube Convective Condensation Heat Transfer”, Int. J. Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 49, (9-10), pp. 1647-1657
  • Cotton, J.S., Robinson, A., Shoukri, M., Chang, J.S., 2005, “A Two-Phase Flow Pattern Map for Annular Channels under a DC Applied Voltage and the Application to Electrohydrodynamic Convective Boiling Analysis”, Int. J. Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 48 (25-26), pp. 5563-5579.
  • Ismail, B., Ewing, D., Cotton, J.S., Chang, J.S., 2004, “Characterization of the Soot Deposition Profiles in Diesel Engine Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Cooling Devices using a Digital Neutron Radiography Imaging Technique”, SAE 2004 Trans. J. of Fuel and Lubricants, SAE 2004-01-1433, pp. 719-729.
  • Ismail, B., Ewing, D., Chang, J.S., Cotton, J.S., 2004, “Development of a Non-Destructive Neutron Radiography Technique to Measure the Three-dimensional Soot Deposition Profiles in Diesel Exhaust Systems”, J. Aerosol Science, Vol. 35, pp. 1275-1288.
  • Cotton, J.S., Brocilo, D., Shoukri, M., Smith-Pollard, T., Chang, J.S., 2003, “The Interaction of Two-Phase Flow Patterns and Electric Field Distributions”, Trans. on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, IEEE/DEIS Electrohydrodynamic Special Issue, Vol. 10(1), pp. 37-51.
  • Cotton, J.S., Shoukri, M., Chang, J.S., 2001, “Oscillatory Entrained Droplet EHD Two-Phase Flow”, J. of Heat Transfer, Trans. of the ASME, Vol. 123, August, pp. 622.


  • Cotton, J.S., “Combined EGR Cooler and Plasma Reactor”, U.S. Patent No. 7,398,643 B2, Date of Patent: Jul. 15, 2008.
  • Cotton, J.S., Evans, B., So, A., and Sperandei, B., “Heat Transfer Surface With Flanged Apertures”, U.S. Patent Application No. 11/467,642, Filed: August 28, 2006.
  • Cotton, J.S., “Combined EGR Cooler and Plasma Reactor” U.S. Patent Application No. 11/383,552. Filed: May 5, 2006.
  • Vanderwees, D., and Cotton, J.S., “Thermal Management System”, INT: Int. Publication No. WO/2004/032264 A3, Int. Publication Date: Apr. 15, 2004, US: US 7,191,858 D2, Filed: Oct. 2, 2002, US Date of Patent: Mar. 20, 2007, CHINA: CN1689183, Pub. Date: Oct. 26, 2005, CANADA: CA 2406331, Filed: Oct. 1, 2002.