Richard A. Wirtz

Richard A. Wirtz
Foundation Professor Emeritus
ASME Fellow

Ph.D. 1971, MS 1968, Rutgers University
BSME 1966, Newark College of Engineering

Phone: (775) 784-6714
Fax: (775) 784-1701
Office: Palmer Engineering, Room 201B

Research/outreach areas

  • Forced and natural convection processes; thermal control in electronic packaging
  • Porous media heat exchangers; heat transfer augmentation
  • Phase-change heat transfer.

Relevant past experience

  • Head of Mechanical Engineering Dept.; Co-founder and Principal of Sierra-Nevada Research & Development, Inc.; Professor at Clarkson University.
  • Research supported by: the Gas Research Institute, I.B.M. Corp, INTEL Corp., the Missile Defense Agency, NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, UN Industrial Development Organization, and the U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Awards and Honors

  • Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • UNR Foundation Professorship
  • Lemelson Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • ASME Heat Transfer Division K-16 Committee Clock Award
  • ASME Electronic Packaging Division Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Thermal Management of Microelectronics Equipment and Systems
  • Associate Editor, ASME Journal of Electronic Packaging (1992-1996)

Career Overview

R.A. Wirtz received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1971. He joined the University of Nevada, Reno faculty as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 1986 and served as Chairman of the Department from 1986 through 1992. Prior to that (1970-1985) he was on the faculty at Clarkson University. He is founder (in 1995) of Sierra-Nevada Research and Development, Inc., a company specializing in thermally related product, process and intellectual property development and marketing. He has over thirty-eight years experience in heat transfer research and development: forced and natural convection processes, thermal control in electronic packaging, heat transfer augmentation, porous media heat transfer, phase change heat transfer and, nuclear waste storage and transportation. He is experienced with infrared imagery, laser velocimetry, Mach-Zehnder and holographic interferometry, image analysis and all aspects of thermometry and heat flux measurements.  He is the editor of three volumes and author of two handbook chapters on thermal control in electronics; he owns a patent on nuclear waste disposal; and, he has approximately 80 peer reviewed technical publications.