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Duncan, James

James Duncan
Wilson Elkins Professor (2013-2015)
Keystone Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
3118 Glenn L. Martin Hall, Bldg 088
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Research Interests 

  • Experimental and theoretical/numerical investigations of fluid flows
  • Breaking water waves
  • Growing and collapsing bubbles interacting with compliant boundaries
  • Turbulent boundary layers interacting with compliant walls
  • Quantitative flow visualization


Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1979

Honors and Awards 

  • Fellow, American Physical Society
  • 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

Professional Memberships and Service 

  • Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Associate Editor 2010-present
  • 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

Selected Publications 


  • 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.

Related News 

Five Mechanical Engineering Graduate Students Named Future Faculty Fellows
Clark School program prepares graduate students for future academic career. January 24, 2018

Mechanical Engineering Professors Receive DURIP Awards
Two professors win awards to support new research instrumentation. March 9, 2016

Duncan Completes Chairmanship Track, APS Division of Fluid Dynamics
Mechanical Engineering Professor James Duncan completes APS DFD Chairmanship Track, will serve as Past Chair. January 20, 2016

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. May 6, 2015

Duncan Receives Wilson H. Elkins Professorship
Mechanical Engineering Professor James Duncan awarded professorship to expand research in hydrodynamics. September 4, 2013

Clark School Faculty Win DoD Awards
DURIP awards are for research instrumentation towards defense research. March 13, 2009

STS Program Has New Director
Betsy Mendelsohn to lead Science, Technology and Society Program for College Park Scholars. May 18, 2007

ME PhD Student James Diorio Awarded ARCS Fellowship
Diorio is advised by Professor of Mechanical Engineering James Duncan. March 15, 2006

Mechanical Engineering at Maryland Hosts Tsunami Science Forum
Forum Part of Greater Campus Tsunami Relief Day February 10, 2005

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. February 15, 2004

James Duncan Named 2004-2005 Distinguished Scholar-Teacher
Outstanding Scholarly Achievement and Accomplishments Recognized. December 15, 2003

Professors Duncan, Schmidt Win Clark School Faculty Awards
These awards will be presented at the Clark School's Commencement on Friday, May 23, 2003. April 15, 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. February 15, 2003

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. September 15, 2002