• Ph.D., Tulane University, 1967
  • M.S., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1963
  • B.S., University of Baroda, India, 1959

Research Areas

Fluid mechanics; Solidification, and convection in materials processing



Dr. Desai's current research includes the plasma processing of materials. This is becoming increasingly more indispensable in such high value-added manufacturing operations as etching, ion implantation, thin-film processing, and melting. The essential idea is to generate and utilize a plasma field to activate a sequence of reactions at a substrate surface to modify its character as desired. The physics governing the formation of a sheath and a presheath at the interface between a plasma and a wall, although studied for some 75 years, is still not fully understood. It is not clear, for instance, how the electric field varies in the immediate vicinity of the surface, or what role is played by the ion power flux to the wall in eroding it.

This research examines a partially ionized plasma as a multifluid continuum, and aims to apply principles and techniques of classical mathematical analysis, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, heat and mass transfer, and numerical computation to study plasma-surface interaction with a view toward its application to materials processing.

Dr. Desai's current research is sponsored by the Hughes Aircraft Co., the Phillips Lab at Kirkland Air Force Base, and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).

  • Sigma Xi (Georgia Tech Chapter)
    • Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation, Advisor for John A. Pohner, 1986
    • Award for Outstanding Masters Thesis, Advisor for Lindsey D. Thornhill, 1985