Dr. Marilyn Lightstone – Faculty of Engineering
Marilyn Lightstone

Dr. Marilyn Lightstone


Computational fluid dynamics (CFD), heat transfer, turbulent flows

Areas of Specialization

Research Clusters

Current status

  • Accepting graduate students

  • Professor

    Mechanical Engineering


Specific Research Activities

Modelling of Particle Dispersion in a Turbulent Flow

This research focuses on developing mathematical models to predict particle/turbulence interactions. One of my first graduate students (Eleanor Hennick) worked on implementing correlation functions into stochastic separated flow modeling. This provided significantly improved predictions of results from Snyder and Lumley’s famous experiment. For Cathy Strutt’s master’s degree we identified that the current accepted treatment for modelling particulates released into inhomogeneous turbulence  is not sufficient to overcome the model deficiencies and we proposed methods to improve on this. Cathy continued her research  through the study of direct numerical simulation (DNS) of particle laden flows. The DNS has revealed insights into the underlying physics which will aid in the development of simpler models suitable for industry. This research is being continued by a new master’s student (Matthew Cernick) and a new Ph.D. student (Stephen Murray).

We have also studied the impact of the particulates on the fluid phase through modulation of the turbulence.  The work related to drag interactions was studied by Sarah Hodgson for her Master’s thesis.  Research into wake effects on turbulence production by particles was the focus of Fusheng Yan’s Ph.D. thesis.  This problem of turbulence production was also studied by Matthias Mandoe who was a visiting Ph.D. student from Aalborg University in 2008.

Modelling of Intersubchannel Mixing 

This research is of interest to the nuclear industry since it pertains to prediction of coolant flow in fuel channels of a nuclear reactor.  Accurate prediction of these flows is an inherent requirement of safety analysis codes. One of the key contributors to coolant mixing in nuclear subchannel geometries is gap flow pulsations.  These pulsations occur in the gap region between coolant subchannels and act to transport energy between adjacent subchannels.  The effects of these pulsations are modelled using correlations determined from experimental data, but the physics of the flow is poorly understood.   One of my earliest graduate students (Ross Rock) used computational fluid dynamics with a standard two-equation turbulence model o predict thermal mixing in twin-subchannel geometries.  With this approach, it was found that we were able to accurately predict wall shear from the fuel rods, but the mixing between the subchannels was still poorly predicted.  The work was then continued by another Master’s student (John Suh) who used a much more detailed Reynolds Stress Model to model the turbulence.  This work was successful in capturing the secondary flows resulting from anisotropy of the turbulence, but still underpredicted the thermal mixing.  This research, which is funded by the University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE) and NSERC CRD program, has been the focus of a recent Master’s student (George Arvanitis) and a recent Ph.D. student (Deep Home).  George modelled the flow using an unsteady RANS method whereas Deep used a more rigorous Detached Eddy Simulation (which is a hybrid method that uses Large Eddy Simulation in the regions away from walls and Unsteady RANS in the near wall region) method.  The goal of the research was to establish the efficacy of these methods for prediction of pulsation frequencies and other flow features in twin subchannel geometries.  The DES approach (which is highly computationally intensive) predicted a pulsation frequency of 68.4 Hz (in comparison to the reported experimental value of 68 Hz). The unsteady RANS method (which is far less computationally intensive than DES) predicted a pulsation frequency of 59 Hz.  These detailed transient results will now allow us to explore the underlying physics of the flow pulsations (which we believe result from vorticity in the mean flow at the gap edge). This work is being continued by a current graduate student (Alan Chettle).

Modelling of Thermal Storage and Atria Geometries

This research is sponsored by the Solar Buildings Research Network and consists of two distinct research areas:  modelling of thermal storage for solar energy systems and modelling heat transfer and fluid flow in atria geometries.    I am working with Patrick Oosthuizen from Queen’s University on the atria work and Stephen Harrison (also from Queen’s) on the thermal storage.  The atria work involved performing a systematic validation of a CFD model in order to determine if the models are sufficient to predict the complex flows in atria.  The flows are complex since they involve coupled radiative heat transfer and turbulent natural convection.  This was the focus of Charles Rundle’s masters degree.  Additional effects such as thermal mass are also being considered. The long term goal is to develop guidelines for atria design to optimize solar utilization while maintaining thermal comfort.  Aaron Kitagawa is continuing this work for his master’s degree.

Thermal storage is an important component of solar energy systems because of the mismatch between the availability of solar energy and user demand.  As such, careful design of thermal storage systems is critical for enhancing system performance.  The goal of the thermal storage research is to develop integral models which capture the essential physics of the flows.  These models can then be implemented into the broader simulation codes such as ESP-r or WATSUN. The thermal storage research is the focus of the master’s degrees of Danish Nizami and Max Gomes.

Block Heading

B.Sc., Queen’s University, 1985; M.A.Sc., University of Waterloo, 1987; Ph.D., University of Waterloo, 1992

McMaster Students Union (MSU) Teaching Award


  • Home, D., and Lightstone, M.F., ‘Numerical investigation of quasi-periodic flow and vortex structure in a twin rectangular subchannel geometry using detached eddy simulation’, accepted for publication in Nuclear Engineering & Design, 2013.
  • Nizami, D., Lightstone, M.F., Harrison, S.J., and Cruickshank, C.A., ‘Negative buoyant plume model for solar domestic hot water tank systems incorporating a vertical inlet’, Solar Energy, Vol. 87, pp. 53-63, January 2013.
  • Rundle C.A., Lightstone M.F., Oosthuizen P., Karava P., Mouriki E., ‘Validation of computational fluid dynamics simulations for atria geometries’, Building & Environment, Vol. 46, Issue 7, pp. 1343-1353, 2011.
  • Strutt H.C., Tullis S.W., Lightstone M.F., ‘Numerical methods for particle-laden DNS of homogeneous isotropic turbulence’, Computers & Fluids, Vol. 40, Issue 1, pp.210-220, 2011.
  • Ali, S.K., Hamed, M.S., and Lightstone, M.F., `A Modified Online Input Estimation Algorithm for Inverse Modeling of Steel Quenching’, Numerical Heat Transfer, Vol. 56, pp.1-19, 2010.
  • Home,D., Arvanitis, G., Lightstone, M.F., and Hamed, M.S., `Simulation of flow pulsations in a twin rectangular sub-channel geometry using unsteady Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes modelling’, Nuclear Engineering and Design, Vol. 239, pp. 2964-2980, 2009.
  • Mandoe, M., Lightstone, M.F., Rosendahl, L., Yin, C., and Sorensen, H., `Turbulence modulation in dilute particle-laden flow’, International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow, Vol. 30, pp. 331-338, 2009.
  • Home, D., Lightstone, M.F., and Hamed, M.S., `Validation of DES-SST based turbulence model for a fully developed turbulent channel flow problem’, Numerical Heat Transfer Part A: Applications, Vol. 55, pp. 337-361, 2009.
  • Ali, S. K., Hamed, M. S. and Lightstone, M.F., `An Efficient Numerical Algorithm for the Prediction of Thermal and Microstructure Fields during Quenching of Steel Rods’, Vol. 5, Journal of ASTM International, 2008.
  • Ali, S. K., Hamed, M. S. and Lightstone, M.F., `Numerical study of the modeling error in the online input estimation algorithm used for inverse heat conduction problems (IHCPs)’, Vol. 135, 012004 (8pp), Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 2008.
  • Yan, F., Lightstone, M.F., and Wood, P.E., ‘Numerical study on turbulence modulation in gas-particle flows’, Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 43, pp. 243-253, 2007.
  • Lightstone, M.F., ‘Self-consistency and the use of correlated stochastic separated flow models for prediction of particle-laden flows’, International Journal of Computational Fluid Dynamics, Vol. 21, pp. 329-334, 2007.
  • Yan, F., Lightstone, M.F., and Wood, P.E., ‘A mathematical model of turbulence modulation in particle-laden pipe flows’, International Journal of Computational Fluid Dynamics, Vol. 20, pp. 37-44, 2006.
  • Wen J.Z., Thomson M.J., Lightstone, M.F., Park S.H., and Rogak, S.N. ‘An improved moving sectional aerosol model of soot formation in a plug flow reactor’, Combustion Science and Technology, Vol. 178, pp. 921-951, 2006.
  • Wen J.Z., Thomson M.J., Lightstone, M.F., and Rogak, S.N, ‘Detailed kinetic modelling of carbonaceous nanoparticle inception and surface growth during the pyrolysis of C6H6 behind shock waves’, Energy & Fuels, Vol. 20, pp. 547-559, 2006.
  • Wen, Z., Thomson, M.J., and Lightstone, M.F., ‘Numerical Study of Carbonaceous Nanoparticle Formation Behind Shock Waves’, Combustion Theory and Modelling, Vol. 10, pp. 257-272, 2006.
  • Lightstone, M.F. and Stainsby, E.A., ‘Wave Behaviour in the Prediction of Light Particle Dispersion’, Chemical Engineering Communications, Vol. 193, pp. 1605-1611, 2006.
  • Strutt, H.C. and Lightstone, M.F., ‘Analysis of Tracer Particle Migration in Inhomogeneous Turbulence’, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 49, pp. 2557-2566, 2006.
  • Al-Amiri, A.M., Khanafer, K., and Lightstone, M.F., ‘Unsteady numerical simulation of double diffusive convection heat transfer in a pulsating horizontal heating annulus’, Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 42, pp. 1007-1015, 2006.
  • Yun, S., Lightstone, M.F., and Thomson, M.J., ‘An Evaluation of Beta PDF Integration using the Density-Weighted PDF and the Unweighted PDF’, International Journal of Thermal Sciences, Vol. 41, pp. 483-494, 2005.
  • Khanafer, K. and Lightstone, M.F., ‘Computational Modelling of Transport Phenomena in Chemical Vapour Deposition’, Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 41, pp. 483-494, 2005.
  • Wen, Z., Thomson, M.J., Park, S.H., Rogak, S.N., and Lightstone M.F., ‘Study of soot growth in a plug flow reactor using a moving sectional model’, Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, Vol. 30, pp. 1477-1484, 2005.
  • Ma, G., Wen, Z., Lightstone, M.F., and Thomson, M.J., ‘Optimization of Soot Modelling in Turbulent Nonpremixed Ethylene/Air Jet Flames’, Combustion Science and Technology, Vol. 177, pp. 1567-1602, 2005.
  • Yu, R. and Lightstone, M.F., ‘CFD Analysis of the Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow in the McMaster Nuclear Reactor’, Nuclear Energy, Vol. 43, pp. 221-228, 2004
  • Suh, Y.K. and Lightstone, M.F., ‘Numerical Simulation of Turbulent Flow and Mixing in a Rod Bundle Geometry’, Nuclear Energy, Vol. 43, pp. 153-163, 2004.
  • Lightstone, M.F. and Hodgson, S.M., ‘Turbulence Modulation in Gas-Particle Flows: A Comparison of Selected Models’, Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol. 82, pp. 209-219, 2004.
  • Wen, Z, Yun, S., Thomson, M., and Lightstone, M.F., ‘Modelling Soot Formation in Turbulent Kerosene/Air Jet Diffusion Flames’, Combustion and Flame, Vol. 135, pp. 323-340, 2003.
  • Khanafer, K., Vafia, K., and Lightstone, M.F., ‘Buoyancy-Driven Heat Transfer Enhancement in a Two-Dimensional Enclosure Utilizing Nanofluids’, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 46, pp. 3639-3653, 2003.
  • Khanafer, K., Vafai, K., and Lightstone, M.F., ‘Mixed Convection Heat Transfer in Two-Dimensional Open-Ended Enclosures’, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 45, pp. 5171-5190, 2002.
  • Urson, H., Lightstone, M.F., and Thomson, M.J., ‘A Numerical Study of Jets in a Reacting Crossflow’, Numerical Heat Transfer ‑ Part A: Applications, Vol. 40, No. 7, pp.689‑714, 2001.
  • Rock, R.C.K. and Lightstone, M.F., ‘A Numerical Investigation of Turbulent Interchange Mixing of Axial Coolant Flow in Rod Bundle Geometries’, Numerical Heat Transfer ‑ Part A: Applications, Vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 221‑237, 2001.
  • Boutazakhti, M., Thomson, M.J., Lightstone, M.F., ‘The Effect of Jet Mixing on the Combustion Efficiency of a Hot Fuel‑Rich Cross‑Flow’, Combustion Science and Technology, Vol. 163, pp. 211‑228, 2001.
  • Lightstone, M.F. and Raithby, G.D., ‘On the Validity of the Gradient Diffusion Approach as Applied to Modelling Particle Dispersion in a Turbulent Gaseous Flow’, The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol. 78, No. 3, pp. 478‑485, 2000.
  • Hennick, E.A. and Lightstone, M.F., ‘A Comparison of Stochastic Separated Flow Models for Particle Dispersion in Turbulent Flows’, Energy & Fuels, Vol. 14, pp. 95‑103, January, 2000.
  • Popovic, B., Thomson, M.J., and Lightstone, M.F., ‘The Combustion Efficiency of Furnace Exhaust Gas Flares: a Study of Jet Mixing in a Reacting Cross‑Flow’, Combustion Science and Technology, Vol. 155, pp. 31‑49, 2000. June 1999.
  • Lightstone, M.F. and Raithby, G.D., ‘A Stochastic Model of Particle Dispersion in a Turbulent Gaseous Environment’, Combustion and Flame, Volume 113, pp. 424‑441, 1998.
  • Csordas, G.R., Brunger, A.P., Hollands, K.G.T., and Lightstone, M.F., ‘Plume Entrainment Effects in Solar Domestic Hot Water Systems Employing Variable Flow Rate Control Strategies’, Solar Energy, Volume 49, No. 6, pp. 497‑505, 1992.
  • Lightstone, M.F., Raithby, G.D., and Hollands, K.G.T., ‘Numerical Simulation of the Charging of Liquid Solar Energy Storage Tanks’, Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, Volume 111, pp. 225‑231, 1989.
  • Hollands, K.G.T. and Lightstone, M.F., ‘Review of Low‑Flow, Stratified‑Tank Solar Water Heating Systems’, Solar Energy, Volume 43, pp. 97‑105, 1989.