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Satish Karra

Satish Karra

Phone (505) 606-1894


  • Computational Physics and Applied Mathematics
  • Numerical modeling
  • Coupled multi-physics simulations
  • Multiscale-multiphase-multicomponent subsurface reactive flows
  • Earth and Space Sciences
  • Subsurface flow and transport
  • Computer and Computational Sciences
  • High performance computing
  • Earth and Space Sciences
  • Nuclear Engineering and Technology
  • Nuclear waste disposition


Karra's research is focused on modeling of flow and transport in deformable porous media. He is primarily interested in continuum-scale modeling aspects related to coupled processes (flow, transport and deformation) of porous media. Specific modeling aspects include: a) developing thermodynamically consistent constitutive models, b) developing analytical methods to solve reduced-order models of the coupled processes to gain physical insight, c) developing robust numerical algorithms for these coupled processes, and d) performing realistic simulations involving these coupled processes using high-performance computing.

His current research is being applied to LANL's efforts in subsurface applications such as Arctic hydrology, hydraulic fracturing, used fuel disposition, enhanced geothermal systems, carbon sequestration and contaminant transport.

He is one of the core-developers of PFLOTRAN (http://www.pflotran.org) and currently leads LANL's capability developments in PFLOTRAN.


Doctor of Philosophy, Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University,  2011.

Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 2007.

Bachelor of Technology, Mechanical Engineering (with a minor in Industrial Engineering), Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India, 2005.


LANL Positions

Staff Scientist (2013-present)

Postdoctoral Research Associate (2011-2013)



Argonne Training Program on Extreme-Scale Computing (ATPESC) Scholar, 2013.

Honorable Mention Award, Postdoc Research Day, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2012. 

Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 2010.

Mechanical Engineering Graduate Fellowship, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 2005–06.

Graduate Pool Graduate Fellowship, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, 2005–06.

Prathibha Scholarship, State Government of Andhra Pradesh, India, 2001–05. 



Peer-reviewed journals

S. Karra, S. Painter and P.C. Lichtner, Three-phase numerical model for subsurface hydrology in permafrost-affected regions. The Cryosphere Discussion 8(1), 149-185 (2014).

 S. Painter and S. Karra, Constitutive model for unfrozen water content in subfreezing unsaturated soils Vadoze Zone Journal, 13(4) (2014).

S. Karra, Modeling the diffusion of a fluid through viscoelastic polyimides. Mechanics of Materials 66:120-133 (2013).

 K.C. Lewis, S. Karra and S. Kelkar, A model for tracking fronts of stress-induced permeability enhancement. Transport in Porous Media 99:17–35 (2013).

S. Karra and K. R. Rajagopal. A model for degradation of polyimide due to oxidation. Mechanics of Time-dependent Materials 16(3): 329-342, 2012. DOI: 10.1007/s11043-011-9165-6 

S. Karra and K. R. Rajagopal. Degradation and healing of a generalized neo-Hookean solid due to infusion of a fluid. Mechanics of Time-dependent Materials 16(1):85-104, 2012. DOI: 10.1007/s11043-011-9142-0

S. Karra, V. Prusa and K. R. Rajagopal. On Maxwell fluid with relaxation time and viscosity depending on the pressure. International Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics 46(6):819-827, 2011. DOI:10.1016/j.ijnonlinmec.2011.02.013

S. Karra and K. R. Rajagopal. Modeling the non-linear viscoelastic response of high temperature polyimides. Mechanics of Materials 43(1):54-61, 2011. DOI: 10.1016/j.mechmat.2010.09.006 

C. Bridges, S. Karra and K. R. Rajagopal. On modeling the response of synovial fluid: unsteady flow of a shear-thinning, chemically-reacting fluid mixture. Computers & Mathematics with Applications 60(8):2333-2349, 2010. DOI: 10.1016/j.camwa.2010.08.027 

S. Karra and A. R. Srinivasa. Simulation of the electrospinning process. International Journal of Applied Mechanics and Engineering 14(1):175-188, 2009.

S. Karra and K. R. Rajagopal. A thermodynamic framework to develop rate-type fluid models without instantaneous elasticity. Acta Mechanica 205(1-4):105-119, 2009. DOI: 10.1007/s00707-009-0167-2 

S. Karra and K. R. Rajagopal. Development of three dimensional constitutive theories based on lower dimensional experimental data. Applications of Mathematics 54(2):147-176, 2009. DOI: 10.1007/s10492-009-0010-z

A. Narasimhan and S. Karra. An inverse heat transfer method to provide near-isothermal surface for disc heaters used in microlithography. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 49(23):4624-4632, 2006. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2006.04.019 

In press/under review

S. Kelkar, K. Lewis, S. Karra, G. Zyvoloski, S. Rapaka, H. Viswanathan, P.K. Mishra, S. Chu, D. Coblentz and R. Pawar, Modeling coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical processes in subsurface geological media using the simulator FEHM (2013). LA-UR-13-21444, in press.

Book Chapters

P.C. Lichtner and S. Karra, Modeling multiscale-multiphase-multicomponent reactive flows in porous Media: application to CO2 sequestration and enhanced geothermal energy using PFLOTRAN, book chapter in Computational Models for CO2 Sequestration and Compressed Air Energy Storage, Taylor & Francis/CRC press (2014).



P.C. Lichtner, G.E. Hammond, C. Lu, S. Karra, G. Bisht, B. Andre, R.T. Mills and J. Kumar, PFLOTRAN v2.0: A massively parallel reactive flow and transport code for describing surface and subsurface processes LA-CC-09-047.

PFLOTRAN is an open source, state-of-the-art massively parallel subsurface flow and reactive transport code. PFLOTRAN solves a system of generally nonlinear partial differential equations describing multiphase, multicomponent and multiscale reactive flow and transport in porous materials.

Website: http://www.pflotran.org

Public Bitbucket repository: https://bitbucket.org/pflotran/pflotran-dev/wiki/Home