Abstract collage of science-related imagery

Thermal Transport Processes

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived. See PD 23-1406 for the latest version.

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.


The Thermal Transport Processes program is part of the Transport Phenomena cluster, which includes also 1) Combustion and Fire Systems; 2) Fluid Dynamics; and 3) Particulate and Multiphase Processes.

The Thermal Transport Processes (TTP) program supports engineering research projects that lay the foundation for new discoveries in thermal transport phenomena. These projects should either develop new fundamental knowledge or combine existing knowledge in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat and mass transfer to probe new areas of innovation. The program seeks transformative projects with the potential for improving our basic understanding, predictability and application of thermal transport processes. Projects should articulate the contribution(s) to the fundamental knowledge supporting thermal transport processes and state clearly the potential application(s) impact when appropriate. Projects that combine analytical, experimental and numerical efforts, geared toward understanding, modeling and predicting thermal phenomena, are of great interest. Collaborative and interdisciplinary proposals for which the main contribution is in thermal transport processes fundamentals are also encouraged.

Emphasis is placed on research that demonstrates how thermal transport phenomena affect the existence, behavior and dynamics of components and systems. 

Some specific areas of interest include:

  • Convection/Diffusion/Radiation: heat and mass transport in geometrically complex surfaces and structures; development of form-function relationships in thermal processes; constructal thermal design; radiation amplification, controlling, and extinction; interfacial gas-solid and liquid-solid thermal and species driven phenomena.
  • Thermodynamics: thermal-electric energy conversion; battery related thermal issues; power generation and propulsion (proposals including chemical kinetics should be submitted to the Combustion and Fire Systems program, CBET 1407); phase-change and supercritical energy cycles; non-equilibrium thermal processes. 
  • Bio- Heat and Mass Transport: biomimicry; intra- and extra-cellular thermal transport; freeze resistance mechanisms; thermotherapy and thermoregulation; organ conservation (freezing and thawing).
  • Nano-, Micro- and Meso-thermics: scaling up nano heat or coupled nano heat-mass transport processes; utilization of new multi-functional, meta- and graded-materials in thermal transport; nano-texturing and phase-change; multi-scale thermal transport in a process.

Priority is given to insightful investigations of fundamental problems with clearly defined economic, environmental and societal impacts.

NOTE: Proposals dealing mainly with materials synthesis, processing and characterization should be directed to the Materials Engineering and Processing (MEP) program in ENG/CMMI or the Division of Materials Research (DMR) in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) Directorate. Proposals at the interface of computational/mathematical sciences and thermal transport are encouraged, but should be submitted to the Computational and Data-Enabled Science & Engineering (CDS&E) Program.  

Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas may be considered. However, prior to submission, it is recommended that the PI contact the Program Director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.

The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years. The typical award size for a single PI proposal is approximately $110,000 per year. Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation and approval from the Program Director, may be returned without review. Small equipment proposals up to $30,000 will also be considered and may be submitted during the annual proposal submission window.


Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field. Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to project the potential impact on society and/or industry if the research is successful. The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, at a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged. Award duration is five years. The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year. Please see the CAREER URL here for more information. 

Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements: PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of the proposal.

Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate. Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission. Further details are available in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) download found hereGrant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged. Please note that GOALI proposals must be submitted during the annual unsolicited proposal window for each program. More information on GOALI can be found here.

COMPLIANCE: Proposals which are not compliant with the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be returned without review.

Program contacts

Ying Sun
yisun@nsf.gov (703) 292-7443

Awards made through this program

Browse projects funded by this program
Map of recent awards made through this program