Research Interests

We study complex fluids and multiphase flows. Complex fluids are fluidic mixtures featuring multiple phases and mesoscopic length scales and include aerosol suspensions, liquid-liquid emulsions, film forming foams, polymeric solutions, and colloidal suspensions. These interface-rich systems are all around us in our everyday lives. Using macro- and micro-scale flow measurements and analytic mathematical modeling, we study such areas as the chemical microphysics of atmospheric aerosols, fluid dynamics and rheology of polymeric solutions, and interfacial phenomena of emulsions and foams. Currently, our active project areas explore (1) dynamic surface tension and phase change of atmospheric aerosol particles, (2) surfactant transport and interfacial tension of oil-in-water and water-in-fuel emulsions, (3) dynamic interfacial tension and phase change of agricultural sprays, (4) extensional rheology of fibril-forming polymer solutions, and (5) sorting and encapsulation of pancreatic islets, all using advanced microfluidic platforms. We are also actively exploring (6) polymer-particle-flow interactions and (7) oil-in-water emulsion formation in a custom built Taylor-Couette geometry.


  • George W. Taylor Career Development Award (2019)
  • McKnight Land-Grant Professorship (2017)
  • American Association of Aerosol Research (AAAR) Kenneth T. Whitby Award (2017)
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2016)
  • ACS-PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award (2016)
  • 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award (2015)
  • National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2011)
  • American Association of University Women Dissertation Year Fellowship (2008)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2005)

Selected Publications

  • Nandy, L., Liu, S., Gunsbury, C., Wang, X., Pendergraft, M., Prather, K., Dutcher, C.S, Multistep Phase Transitions in Sea Surface Microlayer Droplets and Aerosol Mimics using Microfluidic Wells. ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, 3(7), 1260-1267 (2019).
  • Wilkinson, N.A. and Dutcher, C.S. Axial Mixing and Vortex Stability to in-situ Radial Injection in Taylor-Couette Laminar and Turbulent Flows, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 854, 324-347 (2018).
  • Narayan, S., Moravec, D. B., Hauser, B. G., Dallas, A. J., Dutcher, C.S. Understanding the impact of droplet size and surfactant transport on liquid-liquid separation of water-in-fuel microemulsions. Energy and Fuels, 32 (7), 7326-7337 (2018).
  • Nandy, L. and Dutcher, C.S. Phase Behavior of Ammonium Sulfate with Organic Acid Solutions in Aqueous Aerosol Mimics Using Microfluidic Traps. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 122 (13), 3480-2490 (2018).
  • Metaxas, A., Raethke, E., Wilkinson, N., Dutcher, C.S. In situ polymer flocculation and growth in Taylor-Couette flows, Soft Matter, 14, 8627-8635 (2018).
  • Metcalf, A.R., Narayan, S. and Dutcher, C.S., A Review of Microfluidic Concepts and Applications for Atmospheric Aerosol Science, Aerosol Science & Technology, 52 (3), 310 - 329 (2018).
Cari Dutcher


Phone: 612/624-0428

Office: Room 113 Mechanical Engineering

Research group


Support Cari Dutcher's Research

  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, 2004
  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2009
  • Postdoc, Air Quality Research Center & Chemical Engineering, University of California, Davis, 2009-2013