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Michelle DiBenedetto

Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Michelle DiBenedetto

Research focus

environmental fluid mechanics, microplastics, non-spherical particles, particle-laden flows, surface wave flows


Ph.D. Civil Environmental Engineering, Environmental Fluid Mechanics & Hydrology, Stanford, 2019
M.S. Civil Environmental Engineering, Environmental Fluid Mechanics & Hydrology, Stanford, 2015
B.S. Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2014

Michelle DiBenedetto will join Mechanical Engineering this winter as an assistant professor. She was most recently a postdoctoral scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where she studied how active particles navigate in turbulence. She also continued her work studying microplastics transport at the ocean surface.

Michelle’s research lies at the intersection of environmental fluid mechanics and particle-laden flows. She uses laboratory experiments and numerical and analytical tools to study how the properties of small particles control their dynamics in unsteady flows.These fundamental fluid mechanics questions are inspired by problems such as microplastics pollution in the ocean and navigation in turbulence. At the UW, she plans to continue studying particle dynamics in the ocean to improve microplastics degradation and transport modelling.

Michelle was awarded the 2020 Andreas Acrivos Dissertation Award in Fluid Dynamics from the American Physical Society for her thesis work which revealed the dynamics of non-spherical inertial particles in wavy flows.