Faculty Directory

Duncan, James

Duncan, James

Research Professor
Director, Burgers Program for Fluid Dynamics
Mechanical Engineering
3118 Glenn L. Martin Hall, Bldg 088


  • Sc. B, Brown University, 1971.
  • M. S. The Johns Hopkins University, 1973.
  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1979



  • Fellow, American Physical Society, 1999.
  • Poole and Kent Teaching Award for Senior Faculty of the College of Engineering, University of Maryland 2003.
  • Distinguished Scholar Teacher University of Maryland 2004.
  • Wilson H. Elkins Professorship, University System of Maryland, 2013-2015.
  • Keystone Professor, College of Engineering, University of Maryland, 2007 - 2021.
  • Michael A. Sadowsky Lecture in Mechanics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, April, 1999.
  • Peachman Lecturer, Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, University of Michigan, February 2011.



  • Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Associate Editor 2010-2017
  • American Physical Society, Division of Fluid Dynamics:
    • Secretary-Treasurer 2003-2006
    • Coordinator of the Gallery of Fluid Motion 2001-2012
    • Chair of the Annual Meeting Press Relations Committee 2008-2012
    • Member-at-Large of the Executive Committee 2010-2013
    • Chairmanship Track of the Executive Committee 2012-2016



Experimental and theoretical/numerical investigations of fluid flows: breaking water waves, cavitation and explosion bubbles interacting with compliant boundaries, turbulent boundary layers flows interacting with compliant walls and free surfaces, and fluid-structure interactions.  


  • ENME 331, Fundamental of Fluid Mechanics
  • ENES 221, Dynamics
  • ENME 640, Introduction to Fluid Mechanics
  • ENME 642, Hydrodynamics


  • Experimental study on spray in the atmospheric surface layer by raindrops impacting water surface, X. Liu, X. Zhang, Q. Zheng and J. H. Duncan, accepted for publication in Journal of Fluid Mechanics, April 16, 2024.


  • Comparison between Shadow Imaging and in-line Holography for Measuring Droplet Size Distributions, M. A. Erinin, B. N ́eel, M. Mazzatenta, James H. Duncan and L. Deike, Experiments in Fluids, Vol. 65, No. 5, Article Number 96, 2023, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00348-023-03633-8.

  • Plunging Breakers - Part 1. Analysis of an Ensemble of Wave Profiles. M. A. Erinin, X. Liu, S. D. Wang, C. Liu & J. H. Duncan, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 967, 25 July 2023, A35, https://doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2023.379 Open Access.

  • Plunging Breakers - Part 2. Droplet Generation. M. A. Erinin, S. D. Wang, X. Liu, C. Liu & J. H. Duncan. Accepted for publication at Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 967, 25 July 2023, A36, https://doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2023.378 Open Access.

  • The Effects of Surfactants on Plunging Breakers M. A. Erinin, C. Liu, X. Liu,   W. Mostert, L. Deike, &J. H. Duncan,  Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 972 , 10 October 2023 , R5,  https://doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2023.721 Open Access.


  • The Controlled Impact of Elastic Plates on A Quiescent Water Surface, A. Wang, K. P. Wong∗, M. Yu, K. T. Kiger and J. H. Duncan, J.Fluid Mech., Vol. 939, A4, 2022, https://doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2022.154

  • High-Speed, Large Dynamic Range Spectral Domain Interrogation of Fiber-Optic Fabry-Perot Interferometric Sensors, K. P. Wong∗, S. E.-Y. Lee∗, A. Wang, K. T. Kiger, J. H. Duncan and M. Yu, Applied Optics, Vol. 61, Issue 16, pp. 4670-4677, 2022, https://doi.org/10.1364/AO.458196.


  • High-speed interrogation of multiplexed fiber Bragg grating sensors for monitoring dynamic strain responses during a flexible plate impact on a water surface, K. P. Wong∗, H.-T. Kim∗, A. Wang, K. T. Kiger, J. H. Duncan and M. Yu, Smart Materials and Structures, Vol. 29, No. 12, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-665X/abc23a.
  • Air Entrainment and Surface Fluctuations in a Turbulent Ship Hull Boundary Layer, N. Masnadi∗, M. A. Erinin∗, N. Washuta∗, F. Nasiri, E. Balaras and J. H. Duncan, J. Ship Research, Vol. 64, No. 2, June 2020, pp. 185-201, https://doi.org/10.5957/jsr.2020.64.2.185.


  • The Oblique Impact of a Flexible Plate on a Quiescent Water Surface, A. Wang, H. Kim, K. P. Wong, M. Yu, K. T. Kiger and J. H. Duncan, J. Ship Research, 63(3), 154-164, 2019. https://doi.org/10.5957/JOSR.10180093.
  • The Controlled Vertical Impact of a Moderately Inclined Flat Plate on a Quiescent Water Surface, A. Wang and J. H. Duncan, J. Fluid Mech., 879, 468-511, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2019.630.
  • Spray Generation by a Plunging Breaker, M. A. Erinin, S. D. Wang, R. Liu, D. Towle, X. Liu and J. H. Duncan, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 46. Issue 14, pp. 8244-8251, 2019.  doi:10.1029/2019GL082831.  Featured on GRL cover (Vol. 46, Issue 14), Eos Buzz, Eos Research Spotlight (doi:10.1029/2019EO129873), and phys.org.


  • The impact of a deep-water plunging breaker on a wall with its bottom edge close to the mean water surface, A. Wang, C. M.Ikeda, J.H.Duncan, D.,P. Lathrop, M. J. Cooker and A. M. Fullerton,  J. Fluid Mech., Vol. 843, pp. 680-721, https://do.org/10.1017/jfm.2018.109, 2018.


  • A model of radar backscatter of rain-generated stalks on the ocean surface, X. Liu, Q. Zheng, R. Liu, M. Sletten and J. H. Duncan,  IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and  Remote Sensing, Vol. 55, Issue 2, pp. 767-776, https://doi.org/10.1109/TGRS.2016.2614897,  2017.
  • The Generation of Gravity-Capillary Solitary Waves by a Pressure Source Moving at a Trans-critical Speed, M. Masnadi∗ and J. H. Duncan, J. Fluid Mech., Vol. 810, Pp. 448-474, https://doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2016.658, 2017
  • Observations of Gravity-Capillary Lump Interactions, N. Masnadi, and J. H. Duncan, J. Fluid Mech., Vol. 814, https://doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2017.50, 2017.


  • A study of radar backscattering from water surface in response to rainfall, X. Liu, Q. Zheng, R. Liu, D. Wang, J. H. Duncan and S. J. Huang, J. Geophys. Res. - Oceans, Vol. 121, Issue 3, pp. 1546-1562, http://doi.org/10.1002/2015JC010975, 2016.

    • The pressure field of Imploding lightbulbs, M. Czechanowski, C. Ikeda and J. H. Duncan, Experiments in Fluids, Vol. 56, Issue 3, DOI: 10.1007/s00348-015-1913-y, 2015.


    • C. M. Ikeda, J. Wilkerling and J. H. Duncan, “The Implosion of Cylindrical Shell Structures in a High-Pressure Water Environment”, Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. Series A, Vol. 469, 20130443, 2013


    • Kiger, K. T.; Duncan, J. H., “Air-Entrainment Mechanisms in Plunging Jets and Breaking Waves”, Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 44, pp. 563-596, 2012.


    • Maxeiner, E., Shakeri, M., Duncan, J. H., "A Parametric Study of Breaking Bow Waves using a 2D+T Technique”, Journal of Fluid Mechanics,  Vol. 687,   pp. 540-570,  2011.

    • Gomez-Ledesma, R., Kiger, K. T., Duncan, J. H. “The Impact of a Translating Plunging Jet on a Pool of the Same Liquid”, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 680   pp.  5-30, 2011. 

    • Diorio, J. D., Cho, Y., Duncan, J. H. and Akylas, T., “Resonantly Forced Gravity-Capillary Lumps on Deep Water. Part 1. Experiments”, Journal of Fluid Mechanics,  Vol. 672, pp. 268-287, 2011.

    • Cho, Y., Diorio, J. D., Akylas, T.,  and Duncan, J. H. “Resonantly Forced Gravity-Capillary Lumps on Deep Water. Part 2. Theoretical Model”,  Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol.  672, pp. 288-306, 2011.


    • J. D. Diorio, Y. Cho, J. H. Duncan, and T. R. Akylas,  "Resonantly forced gravity--capillary lumps on deep water. Part 1. Experiments," Journal of Fluid Mechanics, November, 2010.

    • Y. Cho,  J. D. Diorio, T. R. Akylas, and J. H. Duncan, "Resonantly forced gravity--capillary lumps on deep water. Part 2. Theory," Journal of Fluid Mechanics,November, 2010.


    • Diorio, J. D., Cho, Y., Duncan, J. H. and Akylas, T., “Gravity-Capillary Lumps Generated by a Moving Pressure Source, Physical Review Letters, Vol. 201, Issue 21, Article Number: 214502, 2009.

    • J. Diorio, X. Liu and J. H. Duncan, "An Experimental Investigation of Incipient Spilling Breaking," Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 633, pp. 271-283, 2009.

    • Shakeri, M., Tavakolinejad, M., and  Duncan, J. H., “An Experimental Investigation of Divergent Bow Waves Simulated by a Two-Dimensional plus Time Technique”,  Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 634, pp. 217-243, 2009.

    • Shakeri, M., Maxeiner, E.; Fu, T. and Duncan, J. H., “An Experimental Examination of the 2D+T Approximation”, Journal of Ship Research, Vol. 53, Issue 2, pp. 59-67, 2009.

Maryland Engineers Awarded Grants to Address Humanity's Grand Challenges

Twelve projects led by or involving Maryland Engineering faculty have been awarded funding through the Grand Challenges Grants Program, the largest and most comprehensive program of its kind ever introduced at the University of Maryland.

Kiger Named Distinguished Scholar-Teacher

Mechanical engineering professor recognized for his achievements in research and pedagogy.

Huertas Cerdeira Joins UMD Mechanical Engineering Faculty

The department’s newest hire specializes in robotics and fluid mechanics.

Student Researchers Recognized with Wylie Dissertation Fellowships

Fourteen Clark School students pursuing their Ph.D.s in engineering have been awarded Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowships by the University of Maryland Graduate School.

DeVoe Awarded Elkins Professorship

UMD professor to develop new technology for studying individual cell behavior.

Maryland Engineers Receive Coronavirus Research Seed Fund Awards

The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a torrent of creativity from researchers eager to help society through this difficult passage.

UMD Research in Sea Spray Formation Featured on the Cover of Geophysical Research Letters

New research exploring sea spray formation shows three distinct areas where spray droplets occur.

Burgers Program Features Topics in Turbulence

Graduate students from 30 universities and 7 countries come to College Park.

Five Mechanical Engineering Graduate Students Named Future Faculty Fellows

Clark School program prepares graduate students for future academic career.

Bruck Named a UMD Distinguished Scholar-Teacher

Professor Hugh Bruck named one of six Distinguished Scholar-Teachers for the 2016-2017 school year.

Mechanical Engineering Professors Receive DURIP Awards

Two professors win awards to support new research instrumentation.

Duncan Completes Chairmanship Track, APS Division of Fluid Dynamics

Mechanical Engineering Professor James Duncan completes APS DFD Chairmanship Track, will serve as Past Chair.

Alumna Receives Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program Award

Alumna Christine Ikeda receives $510,000 grant to improve high-speed watercraft designs that reduce weight and improve efficiency.

Duncan Receives Wilson H. Elkins Professorship

Mechanical Engineering Professor James Duncan awarded professorship to expand research in hydrodynamics.

Robotics Team Mentored by UMD Students Advances to FIRST Championship Competition

Clark School of Engineering undergrads help middle and high school students prepare, compete.

Clark School Faculty Win DoD Awards

DURIP awards are for research instrumentation towards defense research.

STS Program Has New Director

Betsy Mendelsohn to lead Science, Technology and Society Program for College Park Scholars.

Mechanical Engineering Recognizes Faculty Accomplishments

Edward B. Magrab honored at reception recognizing distinguished service to campus and department.

ME PhD Student James Diorio Awarded ARCS Fellowship

Diorio is advised by Professor of Mechanical Engineering James Duncan.

Mechanical Engineering at Maryland Hosts Tsunami Science Forum

Forum Part of Greater Campus Tsunami Relief Day

Professors Wallace, Duncan Elected to Ameican Physical Society Division Executive Committee

This division is the principal professional organization for over five-thousand fluid dynamicists in the U.S. and abroad.

James Duncan Named 2004-2005 Distinguished Scholar-Teacher

Outstanding Scholarly Achievement and Accomplishments Recognized.

ME Teams Take First, Third Place in Business Plan Competition

Terplicators, which netted $20,000 by winning the competition, is developing next-generation mold design software solutions.

Professors Duncan, Schmidt Win Clark School Faculty Awards

These awards will be presented at the Clark School's Commencement on Friday, May 23, 2003.

Professor James Duncan Discovers Effects of Surfactant in Ocean Waves

Their findings were published in the January 30, 2003 issue of the journal Nature.

Duncan Named Director of Science, Technology, and Society Program

Professor James Duncan has been named Director STS Program, taking the reins from Professor James Wallace.

American Physical Society (APS)