Recent and ongoing research projects
Our group develops numerical methods and data-driven approaches for the prediction and optimization of "messy turbulent flows" relevant to energy and the environment (often multiphase and reacting). A large emphasis is on computational methods for disperse two-phase flows (solid particles suspended in a carrier phase, liquid droplets in gas, or gaseous bubbles in liquid). A main focus of our research involves developing robust and scalable numerical tools to investigate the multiphysics/multiscale phenomena on world-class supercomputing resources. We thank our current and past sponsors: Office of Naval Research (ONR), Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation (NSF), Ford Motor Company, and Link Engineering.

Below is a list of recent and ongoing research projects. A detailed description of research areas by topic can be found here.


Multi-Scale Modeling of Plume-Surface Interactions



The success of future lunar and planetary exploration missions will require predictive simulation tools that capture the complex multiphase dynamics associated with rocket exhaust impingement during touchdown. The objective of this project is to develop advanced physics-based models and numerical algorithms to enable predictive simulations of plume-surface interactions under relevant landing conditions.

Funded by NASA (NSTRF: 2016-2020, SBIR: 2019, CIF: 2017-2020, ESI: 2020-2023)
High-Fidelity Modeling of Particulate Transport and Deposition in Gas Turbine Engines



The ingestion of fine particulates in gas turbine engines represents a key outstanding challenge facing military operations in the 21st century. Exposure to sand, volcanic ash, and dust compromises the durability, performance, and safety of engine turbine components. The objective of this project is to develop the predictive modeling capabilities needed to understand and eventually mitigate erosion by particulate deposition in extreme conditions relevant to next-generation aircraft engines. This will be accomplished through a combination of high-fidelity modeling and uncertainty quantification.

Funded by ONR (YIP: 2019-2022)
Understanding and Modeling Turbulent Reacting Particle-Laden Flows


From the production of biofuels to post-combustion carbon capture, multiphase reactors are at the heart of nearly all energy processes. A lack of understanding how turbulent mixing interacts with the kinetics, mass transfer, and heat transfer across scales has prevented new environmentally acceptable, energy efficient technologies from having real-world impact. The aim of this project is to improve the fundamental understanding of turbulent reacting particle-laden flows, and enable accurate, physics-based models that remain predictive across varying flow regimes.

Funded by NSF (CBET, Particulate & Multiphase Processes: 2019-2024, CBET, Thermal Transport Processes: 2019-2021)
Adjoint-Based Sensitivity of Combustion Systems



The goal of this effort is to establish a systematic approach that combines experimental measurements with first principle-based simulations to (i) provide flow quantities at resolutions beyond what is capable to measure by experiments or simulations alone; (ii) gain new insight into physical processes that can assist in model development; and (iii) inform optimal experimental design decisions (e.g., what to measure and where). New adjoint-based methods are being developed for sensitivity and optimization of turbulent combustion. These methods are being applied to shear coaxial jets that mimic AFRL’s burner configuration to optimize flame characteristics and develop reduced-order models.

Funded by AFRL (subcontract: 2019-2020), DOE (XPACC subcontract: 2016-2019)
Modeling Brake Particulate Emissions



In light of enhanced regulation of particulate emissions from vehicle brake systems in the near future, we seek to develop a standardized particulate emissions testing facility and measurement approach. The goal of this project is to provide an accurate and repeatable measurement of emissions which can be repeated globally both for product development and regulatory compliance purposes. A design of experiment approach is employed, using CFD to predict the flow within a dynamometer enclosure under relevant operating conditions.

Funded by Link Engineering (2018-2019)
Conveying Principles of Fluid Mechanics Through Dance



Kármán Vortex Street is a unique interdisciplinary collaboration in which principles of fluid mechanics are transformed into a dance. Topics in ME 320 (Introduction to Fluid Mechanics) are typically introduced through derivations from first principles. However, fluid mechanics is extremely visual, and the solution to classical fluid mechanics problems are highly aesthetic. Here, dance is used to demonstrate the motion of fluids that the mathematics describes through a physics-constrained dance improvisation.

Sponsored by: University Musical Society, Arts Engine, and Michigan Engineering