Joel Plawsky



Chemical and Biological Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Sc.D., Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
M.S., Chemical Engineering Practice, Massachusetts Institute of Technology B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, 1980.


Dr. Plawsky joined the faculty of Rensselaer Polytechnic in 1988 as Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering. He was promoted to Associate Professor in June 1994 and to Professor in June 2003.

Prior to arriving at RPI, Dr. Plawsky served as Director for the School of Engineering Practice, Albany Station, for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. He also worked as a senior engineer for Corning Inc. He holds one patent. He is the author of numerous papers, books, and book chapters, and is a member of AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers), Optical Society of America, Materials Research Society, American Chemical Society, and the American Institute of Physics.

Research Interests

  • Thin films
  • Interfacial phenomena
  • Transport phenomena
  • Cryogenic insulation
  • Building insulation

Specific projects in these areas include the dynamics of draining thin films, contact line dynamics during evaporations and condensation, thin films for microelectronics and photonics, and predicting and controlling the state of concrete during curing.


  • Outstanding Research Paper Award 1995 ASME/JSME Thermal Engineering Conference

  • Lilly Teaching Fellowship 1991-1992

  • Tau Beta Pi (Engineering Honorary Society

  • Phi Lambda Upsilon (Chemistry Honorary Society)

  • Sigma XI (Scientific Honorary Society)

  • 1999 NASA Faculty Fellow - George C. Marshall Space Flight Center

  • Best Poster Award- AMPET Conference, Huntsville, AL (Oct. 2000)

  • 2000 NASA Faculty Fellow - George C. Marshall Space Flight Center

  • Visiting Professor - TUDelft, Delft Netherlands (2002)

  • Visiting Professor - University Space Research Association (University of Alabama-Huntsville)


Joel Plawsky

134 Ricketts Building, Ri 1st Fl
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th Street
Troy, New York 12180

Office: (518) 276-6049
Fax: (518) 276-4030