The dynamics of fluid flows is a key component in many engineering systems and natural phenomena (e.g., combustion engines, aerodynamics, material and food processing, weather). Moreover, the flow dynamics is often controlled by additional physics. This includes turbulence, chemistry, electro-magnetism, fluid-structure interaction, heat and mass transfer, phase changes, non-Newtonian rheology, to mention only a few. The objectives of the MTFC research group are to better understand the physics of such complex systems and to optimize engineering applications using predictive computations.
To achieve these goals, the MTFC research group focuses on the development of physical models and numerical tools that are accurate, robust and efficient for large scale computations. Such models are derived from first principles and numerical methods are developed to discretize and integrate those models into multi-physics flow solvers. Typically, the MTFC research group relies on Direct Numerical Simulations (DNS) and Large-Eddy Simulations (LES) to understand the underlying physics and to develop adequate models that are then used in RANS simulations to optimize engineering systems. A key aspect of this research is the quantification of uncertainties (UQ) and, in particular, the balance of numerical and model errors and environment variability. This research is done in collaboration with the "Uncertainty Analysis in Engineering Systems" (UAES) Research Group.
The interest area of the MTFC research group is very broad, ranging from turbulent combustion in scramjet engines to polymer drag reduction in turbulent incompressible flows. MTFC relies on in-house codes as well as commercial CFD packages.
Air-breathing hypersonic vehicles are envisioned as a means for reliable low-cost access to space. These vehicles are highly integrated systems whose performance depends on complex physics and the interactions between all of their components. At the heart of scramjet operations is the fuel combustion that provides thrust but can also choke the engine if the fuel flow rate is too high. Therefore, predicting accurately the heat release is of paramount importance.
In 1948 Toms discovered experimentally that the addition of a small amount of polymers into a turbulent Newtonian solvent can reduce the skin friction drag on a stationary surface by up to 80%. While dilute polymer solutions are one of the most efficient strategy for drag reduction, the phenomenon is very complex. The exact details as to how minute concentrations of polymer molecules can create large reductions in turbulent drag are still a matter of debate.
American Physical Society:
68th Annual DFD Meeting
through November 24, Boston, USA.