University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering


Mechanical Engineering Professor Makes Headlines with MIT Postdoctoral Research


Melanie Ziems
Hadi Ghasemi
Hadi Ghasemi

Hadi Ghasemi, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is relatively new to the Cullen College of Engineering, but his postdoctoral work performed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is making headlines even after his move to the Lone Star State.

While at MIT, Ghasemi developed a new, cheap material that converts sunlight into steam. The material consists of a thin double-layered disc: the bottom layer is a spongy carbon foam that is both a flotation device and a thermal insulator, and the top layer is made up of graphite flakes that were exfoliated using a microwave.

When sunlight hits the graphite, hot spots draw water up through the carbon foam via capillary action, and when the water hits the hot spot, there is enough heat to create steam.

Ghasemi’s work is detailed in a new Extreme Tech article, “MIT creates graphite ‘solar sponge’ that converts sunlight into steam with 85% efficiency.” Read the full article here.



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