Margaret Y. Hwang, Ph.D.

Rising Technical Contributor Award

Margaret Y. Hwang, Ph.D., Rising Technical Contributor Award, Headshot

Margaret Y. Hwang, Ph.D.

Dow Inc.

For significant research contributions that advance understanding of fluid mechanics, mixing, and particle technology; and for widespread, positive impact on process safety and product quality.

Margaret Y. Hwang, Ph.D., is an associate research scientist in the process R&D department of Dow Performance Silicones. In this role, she employs a combination of fundamental calculations, experiments, and computational fluid dynamics to study a wide range of transport phenomena, including solids dispersion and other mixing processes. Dr. Hwang has performed troubleshooting for immediate manufacturing concerns, developed and improved processes, designed new capital installations, and advanced the fundamental understanding of multiphase mixing, such as filler incorporation and emulsification.

Dr. Hwang has also impacted process safety. In one instance, she used computational fluid dynamics modeling to identify cooling water shortcutting in the jacket of a reactor, which had the potential to cause hot spots in the event of a runaway reaction. Her recommended modified design improved heat distribution across the entire vessel and minimized hot spots, ensuring operation within structural integrity limits.

She is frequently called upon by manufacturing and engineering teams for her expertise in mixing. In 2020, she was presented with Dow’s prestigious Technology Center Award for her contributions to improved capacity in a plant, and ensuring batch uniformity when blending a paste into a polymer. She worked with colleagues and conducted a set of scaled-down lab experiments to determine controlling factors for mixing, which she used to design final process settings. This overall global technology advancement is valued in the tens of millions.

Also an emulsification expert, Dr. Hwang tackled the expensive, complex problem of direct modeling droplet breakup and emulsification in industrial processes. She developed a novel model that combined computational fluid dynamics, droplet breakup theory, and experimental correlations to predict reasonable droplet size distributions without fully modeling every breakup event. Dr. Hwang’s simplified particle size distribution model’s results were presented at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers annual meeting in 2019.

Dr. Hwang has been a proponent for STEM outreach and SWE throughout her career. Her SWE journey began at Purdue University. As multicultural chair of Purdue SWE, she raised the committee’s visibility with regular events, leading the section to receive the Boeing Multicultural Program Award in 2011. Later, she served as membership vitality director, managing recruitment and retention of nearly 400 members. Currently, she develops virtual outreach activities and helps lead the nominating committee for the SWE Mid-Michigan Section.

She holds a B.S. from Purdue University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, both in chemical engineering. As part of her dissertation research, she used microfluidics to create a library of microparticles and characterized the dynamics of complex fluids and suspensions. In addition, she identified new flow behavior of confined soft microparticles, resulting in a novel method to quantify particle stiffness.

Outside of work, Dr. Hwang enjoys bicycling, curling, cooking, crafting, and combining the last two into the occasional themed party.

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