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Fluid Dynamics

Research at Cornell in fluid-structure interactions has focused on resonances of low-mass and low-damping systems and has highlighted novel aspects of the resonant response of structural systems as a function of flow velocity. Fluid-structure interactions of biological interest (e.g., leaf dynamics) are also currently under investigation. Chemical reactions can occur in fluid flows on all scales. At Cornell we have ongoing research in a wide range of flows, ranging from microscale liquid flows for biochemical assays to turbulent reactive flows applied primarily to turbulent combustion. Multiphase flows offer a number of exciting research challenges and applications. Two-way coupling between fluid flow and particles increases both computational and experimental complexity, but such studies allow for fundamental understanding of particle interaction with turbulence, granular flows, and fluidization.

Computational fluid dynamics

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is the branch of fluid mechanics devoted to the development and application of computer-based tools to solve the partial differential equations describing fluid flow. The field of CFD includes those aspects of numerical analysis and computer science relevant to the numerical solution of partial differential equations and mesh generation, the development of physically-based models for those phenomena that cannot be computed directly, and the application of these tools to important problems in fluid mechanics and fluids

Vortex Dynamics and Fluid-Structure Interactions

Fluid-structure interactions are of current interest due to the interest in extremely low-mass and/or low-damping structures. Research in this area involves study of the dynamics of structures, which are induced to vibrate and resonate due to the pressure field coming from the wake vortices behind the structure. The fluid-structure interaction is most dramatic when there is a resonance between the fluid vortex frequency and the structural natural frequency.

Turbulence

Billowing smoke stacks, cumulous clouds and waterfalls are visible everyday examples of turbulent flows. Though less visible, turbulent flows are ubiquitous in our transportation systems, process industries and natural environment (the atmosphere, oceans, rivers and even stars). In contrast to laminar flows–exemplified by honey pouring from a jar–turbulent flows have inherent instabilities leading to chaotic, three-dimensional unsteady motions with a large range of scales. A bumpy aircraft flight may be caused by eddies of atmospheric turbulence which are larger than the aircraft, whereas the drag on the wing and fuselage are caused by eddy motions smaller that a millimeter.

Reacting Flows

Chemical reactions can occur in fluid flows on all scales. At Cornell we have ongoing research in a wide range of flows, ranging from microscale liquid flows for biochemical assays to turbulent reactive flows applied primarily to turbulent combustion.  Many biochemical assays are most effectively performed in microscale systems due to the rapid diffusion times, small reagent requirements, and facile integration afforded by such systems. Our work includes detailed study of binding assay kinetic rates and their control in microsystems.

Fluid-Particle Interactions, Granular Flows, Fluidization

Multiphase flows offer a number of exciting research challenges and applications. Two-way coupling between fluid flow and particles increases both computational and experimental complexity, but such studies allow for fundamental understanding of particle interaction with turbulence, granular flows, and fluidization.

Aerodynamics and Aeroacoustics

Current research in aerodynamics and aeroacoustics focus on the effects of fluid flow on aircraft and aircraft performance and stability.  Some of our aerodynamic work has focused on vortex-pair interactions. Vortex pair instabilities are important to the break-up of aircraft trailing vortices, which are a hazard to other maneuvering aircraft.

Micro, Nano, and Biofluidics

Micro-and Nanofluidics describe fluidic regimes defined by the length scale of the flow channels, the techniques for making the devices, and the dominant physics. Microfluidics typically implies flow through channels between 100 nm-100 microns in microfabricated silicon, glass, or polymer systems.  The physics of microfluidic systems are well-described by continuum theory, but the changes in length scale make surface tension and electrokinetic effects important and inertial forces unimportant. Because microfabricated devices can be made with a variety of complex geometries, a number of novel fluidic phenomena can be explored.

Research Area Faculty

  Name Department Contact
jtb47.jpg Butcher, Jonathan T.
Associate Professor, Associate Director of BME, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Biomedical Engineering 304 Weill Hall
607 255-3575
lc246.jpg Collins, Lance R.
Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering, Professor
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 242 Carpenter Hall
607 255-9679
od57.jpg Desjardins, Olivier
Associate Professor
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 305 Upson Hall
607 255-4100
pjd38.jpg Diamessis, Peter J.
Associate Professor
Civil and Environmental Engineering 105 Hollister Hall
607 255-1719
de54.jpg Erickson, David Carl
Sibley College Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 369 Upson Hall
607 255-4861
bk88.jpg Kirby, Brian J.
Professor
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 377 Kimball Hall
myl3.jpg Louge, Michel Yves
Professor
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 351 Upson Hall
607 255-4193
as2833.jpg Singh, Ankur
Assistant Professor
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering 389 Kimball Hall
607 255-2194
phs7.jpg Steen, Paul H.
Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Engineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 346 Olin Hall
607 255-4749
zw24.jpg Wang, Z. Jane
Professor
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 323 Thurston Hall
607 255-5354
zw16.jpg Warhaft, Zellman
Professor Emeritus
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 317 Upson Hall
607 255-3898
cw26.jpg Williamson, Charles H. K.
Willis H. Carrier Professor of Engineering
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 321 Upson Hall
607 255-9115
kz33.jpg Zhang, Max
Associate Professor
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 345 Upson Hall
607 254-5402