Tim Colonius

Tim Colonius

Frank and Ora Lee Marble Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Degrees and Appointments

B.S., University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), 1987; M.S., Stanford University, 1988; Ph.D., 1994. Assistant Professor, Caltech, 1994-2000; Associate Professor, 2000-05; Professor, 2005-16; Marble Professor, 2017-.


Research Group Matters
Mikaela Laite
262 Gates-Thomas Laboratory
(626) 395-4128

Research Group Website » Personal Website »

Research Overview

Acoustic waves, especially high-intensity ultrasound and shock waves, are used for medical imaging and, increasingly, in manipulation of cells, tissue, and urinary calculi. They are used to treat kidney stone disease, plantar fasciitis, and bone nonunion, and are being investigated as a technique to ablate cancer tumors and mediate drug delivery. In many applications, acoustic waves interact with bubbles whose presence can either mediate the desired mechanical stresses and strains, or lead to collateral damage. Professor Colonius' interdisciplinary research group, uses theory and large-scale numerical simulations to study the dynamics and interaction of ultrasound and shock waves with inhomogeneous materials and bubbles, and to predict and optimize the local stresses and strains generated by insonification. They work with other engineers, scientists, and medical professionals to translate the fundamental mechanics into improvements in the design and clinical application of shockwave lithotripters.

List of Research Areas

Fluid dynamics: global instabilities, cavitation and bubble dynamics, aerodynamic sound. Control: closed-loop flow control and reduced-order modeling. Biomedical fluid dynamics: shock-waves, lithotripsy and ultrasound. Numerical methods: interface capturing, immersed-boundary methods, high-order-accurate methods, and nonreflecting boundary conditions.