Heat transfer, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics play an important role in practically every field of engineering. Still now, current technology includes complex research and development projects on new energy production processes, production of new materials, space exploration, food production, and so on, where thermal and fluid science plays a central role.
Even with continuous advances in numerical analysis, experimental research retains a critical place in thermal and fluid science for the verification of theory and analysis. Most significantly, experimental research retains a preeminent role in advancing the very fundamental phenomena of thermal and fluid science and in determining the performance of many real but complex systems where numerical analysis is not yet possible. Experimental work is costly and time consuming, yet high quality empirical data are essential and experimental work must be done. The design and operation of high technology systems as well as large and complex systems of even moderate technological sophistication rely on “good” data. Accurate experimental data are also essential in identifying directions for further research, especially when dealing with new areas. Experimental work is the underpinning of, and motivation for, new work, both theoretical and practical.
Under these premises, Dr. Ramesh K. Shah and Prof. Ejup Ganic launched the first World Conference on Experimental Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics which was held in Dubrovnik, former Yugoslavia, during September 4-9, 1988. The main aim of the Conference was to put together the state-of-the-art of these disciplines with a special emphasis on experimental work, bringing together experimental researchers and industrialists active in these areas of science and technology.
The success of this first Conference, with about 250 participants from about 28 Countries, encouraged the founders to continue this Conference as a Series. To do that, an Assembly of major worldwide scientists was established, structured with officers and general members selected among most active people in experimental heat transfer, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics: the Assembly of the World Conferences on Experimental Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, AWC.
Following successful conferences in Dubrovnik (1991), Honolulu (1993), Brussels (1997), Thessaloniki (2001), Matsushima (2005), Krakow (2009) and Lisbon (2013), has brought the Ninth World Conference on Experimental Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics (ExHFT-9) to be held in Iguazu Falls (Foz do Iguaçu), Brazil, during 11 to 15 June, 2017.
Parallel to the World Conference, Dr. Ramesh K. Shah and Prof. Ejup Ganic actively worked to launch an archival Journal which could reflect the spirit of the new-born Conference. Thanks to Elsevier, the Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science Journal (ETFS) was first issued in January 1988, contributing to increase the awareness of the importance of experimental work among young scientists and engineers, even in an era of sophisticated numerical analysis and growing and growing use of computers. ETFS is still published by Elsevier with a considerable IF (2.83).
The growing success of this type of Conference, suggested the AWC to launch a Symposium dedicated to engineering turbulence with particular emphasis on engineering-related problems, bringing together researchers, designers, experimentalists, modellers, and numerical analysts from industry, laboratories and academia for a more synergic interactions. The first International Symposium on Engineering Turbulence Modelling and Measurements was organized by Prof. Wolfgang Rodi and held in Dubrovnik in 1990, followed by Florence in 1993, Crete in 1996, Ajaccio in 1999, after that continued by Prof. Rodi outside the umbrella of the AWC.
In 1995, a similar Symposium was organized in Rome by Dr. Gian Piero Celata in 1995 on two-phase flow, the International Symposium on Two-Phase Flow Modelling and Experimentation. The large success of this first Symposium was more and more achieved in the following editions in Pisa during May 1999 and September 2004, organized by Dr. Gian Piero Celata and Prof. Paolo Di Marco.
The AWC also established an international Prize, the Nusselt-Reynolds Prize, to honour and commemorate outstanding contributions by Wilhelm Nusselt and Osborne Reynolds as experimentalists, researchers, educators and authors. The Nusselt-Reynolds Prize is bestowed at every World Conference to scientists and engineers for outstanding scientific and engineering contributions and eminent achievements in the fields of heat transfer, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics through experimental studies and analytical/numerical extension of the measurements, development of experimental techniques, visualization techniques and/or instrumentation, and/or development of design theory (that needs experimental data) and theory based experimental correlations. These contributions should yield a deeper insight into physical phenomena involved or should yield significant technological advances.
Gian Piero Celata