Talking to Turbulence
Beverley McKeon, Professor of Aeronautics and Associate Director of GALCIT, and her colleagues have developed a new and improved way of looking at the composition of turbulence near walls, the type of flow that dominates our everyday life. "This kind of turbulence is responsible for a large amount of the fuel that is burned to move humans, freight, and fluids such as water, oil, and natural gas, around the world," Professor Mckeon describes. They have devised a new method of looking at wall turbulence by reformulating the equations that govern the motion of fluids—called the Navier-Stokes equations—into an infinite set of smaller, simpler subequations, or "blocks," with the characteristic that they can be simply added together to introduce more complexity and eventually get back to the full equations. [Caltech Release]
Ian Jacobi Receives 2013 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award
Ian Jacobi, a graduate student working with Professor Beverley McKeon, is the recipient of the 2013 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. Dr. Jacobi has studied the effect of roughness-based forcing on the turbulent boundary layer and investigated means by which macroscopic perturbation of the boundary layer can be used to control the small-scale flow physics important for the reduction of viscous drag. He is continuing his studies in fluid mechanics as a post-doctoral scholar at Princeton University, where he is exploring drag reduction from the perspective of low-Reynolds number micro-fluidic devices. The Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award is given to an EAS graduate student in hydrodynamics who has distinguished himself or herself in research.
Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award
Caltech's Unique Wind Projects Move Forward
John O. Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, has big plans for a high school in San Pedro, military bases in California, and a small village on Bristol Bay, Alaska. "We have been able to demonstrate that using wind turbines that are 30 feet tall, as opposed to 300 feet tall, could generate sufficient power for wind-farm applications," Dabiri says. "One of the areas where these smaller turbines can have an immediate impact is in the military." The Office of Naval Research is funding a three-year project by Dabiri's group to test the smaller vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) and to further develop software tools to determine their optimal placement. "We believe that these smaller turbines provide the opportunity to generate renewable power while being complementary to the ongoing activities at the base," Dabiri explains. [Learn More]