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Emily W. Tow, Ph.D.

Emily W. Tow

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering

MH 334


Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, MIT, 2017
S.M., Mechanical Engineering, MIT, 2014
S.B., Mechanical Engineering, MIT, 2012

Select Courses Taught

Quantitative Engineering Analysis I & II
Transport Phenomena


Water reuse and desalination
Water-energy-food nexus
Heat transfer


ITRI-Rosenfeld Postdoctoral Fellowship
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
Winner of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's "More Water, Less Concentrate" Challenge
Meredith Kamm Memorial Award for Excellence in a Woman Graduate Student


Emily Tow is a mechanical engineer and visual artist. Her engineering research addresses sustainability through the study of transport phenomena at the water–energy–food nexus. Currently, Emily’s research focuses on understanding membrane fouling and improving energy efficiency in water reuse and desalination. She has more than 15 peer-reviewed publications and patents in the fields of heat transfer and water treatment. Emily is also a lighthearted visual artist who works with the experience and outcomes of repetition using various media, including soft sculpture, ceramics, drawing, and mural painting. Prior to joining the Olin faculty in 2019, Emily received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and was an ITRI-Rosenfeld Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley Lab.

Select Publications

E. W. Tow and J. H. Lienhard, “Unpacking compaction: Effect of hydraulic pressure on alginate fouling,” Journal of Membrane Science, 544: 221-233, 2017.
E. W. Tow, M. M. Rencken, and J. H. Lienhard, “In situ visualization of organic fouling and cleaning mechanisms in reverse osmosis and forward osmosis,” Desalination, 399: 138-147, 2016.
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