Dr. Daniel Maynes decided to major in Mechanical Engineering through what he called “a process of elimination,” because he liked Chemistry, Math, Physics and did not like subjects like history. Maynes had narrowed down his focus to Engineering, Physics or Math before he left for his mission.
While on his mission, Maynes met a Mechanical Engineering Professor from the University of Arkansas. “He showed me around his lab, and I thought what he did was really interesting and cool.”
When Maynes came back from his mission he was still deciding what type of engineering he wanted to go into. He had decided on engineering over physics because they did “more applied things, more real things, less theoretical, less abstract things and that appealed to me.”
Although Maynes was not completely aware of what Mechanical Engineers did, he knew they worked in design and with energy and power plants that was all fascinating to him. “I knew they were the ones who designed and built rockets and I always wanted to be a rocket scientist,” Maynes said.
During his time at Snow College, some of his classmates would call him “Dr. Dan” because he was good at explaining the information to his friends. He then started thinking about becoming a professor for the first time.
“Being a professor is awesome. For the first ten years of my job I could hardly believe they paid me, because I liked it so much. It was really so enjoyable, I loved every aspect. I love teaching, I love research, I love being in the lab, I love being with young people and seeing the light go on” Maynes said.
Apart from teaching students, Maynes is working on his research. “I do research in all things related to Fluid Mechanics” Maynes said. Fluid Mechanics is the study of flowing fluids, how liquids and gases flow past and through different substances. This field of study grabbed Maynes’s interest because it is one of the most challenging fields of engineering because it involves a medium that is intangible and is constantly flowing.
“I was really drawn towards fluid mechanics because it has to do with how airplanes fly and rockets fly and energy production in power plants; it’s all related to those things. You can’t do anything in your life without interacting with fluids” Maynes said.
Fluid Mechanics gives a new perspective on how the world works, and how we interact with the fluids around us.
For about the past 13 years, Maynes has been working on Superhydrophobic surfaces. Which are surfaces that “are ultra-water resistant and repellent.” Water droplets bounce off of these surfaces, and they alter fluid mechanics, heat transfer and friction are examples of what is altered.
Superhydrophobic surfaces are beneficial for surfaces you always want clean, like glass. When glass is superhydrophobic it never needs to be cleaned, because it is self-cleaning. Solar panels also benefit greatly because they will stay clean from the dust and elements. Planes also will benefit from this study of research because it can prevent “wing-tip icing” which is what happens when ice builds on the wings of the airplane, causing the airplane to lose lift and fall, but if the wings are superhydrophobic, the build of ice will be immensely decreased.
Decrease in drag can also be solutioned through superhydrophobic surfaces such as a submarine or the bottom of a boat. Right now, companies have started to develop sprays that can make something superhydrophobic.
Currently, Maynes is working on “improving the efficiency of condensers.” Condensers are a part of a power plant, and there is water vapor there that affects the condensers. But when they are superhydrophobic, it will increase the efficiency of the overall power plant.
For fun Maynes enjoys rock climbing, cycling, hiking, fly fishing, and being out in nature with his family. “I love the Tetons and the WindRiver Mountains, but hiking in Canada was really cool...Peru was cool, but it wasn’t Canada.” Maynes said in regards to his favorite places to hike.
Something that Maynes wants his students to know is that, “I was never the smartest kid, I was never the most gifted academically, but I learned early on that hard work is a great equalizer. And so if you are willing to deal with being uncomfortable and do hard things then you can be just as successful as someone who may be naturally more gifted in a particular area. I have found that to be true over and over and over. I believe in that, students should know that I believe in hard work and that hard work brings success.”