1. GRAVITY CURRENT FLOW: Gravity currents, horizontal flows driven by small density differences, are ubiquitous in the natural and man-made environment. (Sea breeze fronts and saline wedges in estuaries offer two common examples). An important goal of my research is to characterize the properties of gravity currents (e.g. their speed, shape) based on the corresponding initial conditions using numerical, experimental and/or theoretical modeling. I am also interested in the dynamics of internal gravity waves (waves that travel inside a continuously stratified fluid) and convection from point and distributed sources. (More info).
2. LOW ENERGY BUILDING VENTILATION: Strategies for ventilating modern buildings without expensive, energy-intensive equipment are being rapidly developed, but many of the fundamental theoretical issues underlying this technology remain unresolved. In particular, it is unclear how to best optimize system performance given that real buildings have a complicated internal geometry and are forced by a combination of internal (e.g. space heaters/AC units) and external (e.g. solar radiation, wind shear) factors. Expanding on work done during my Ph.D. at Univ. of California -- San Diego, I plan in future to examine these issues using a combination of theory and lab- or full-scale experiment. (More info).
Please note that I am presently unable to take on new students in the area of low energy building ventilation.
3. TRAFFIC MODELING: As with fluid mechanics, a fruitful avenue for understanding traffic flow is to model the stream of particles (in this case vehicles) as a continuum. One may thereby borrow ideas and analytical techniques familiar from shallow water theory and gasdynamics in understanding, for example, the complicated behavior of "phantom jams," which arise in the absence of bottlenecks and lane closures. This information may in turn be incorporated in sophisticated traffic control algorithms that seek to maximize the throughput efficiency of modern roadways. (More info).
4. THE FLUID MECHANICS OF PLASTRON RESPIRATION BY AQUATIC INSECTS: Using tools familiar to engineers e.g. Laplace's and Bernoulli's equations, one can gain particular insights into the phenomenon of plastron respiration, which allows select species of insects to breathe underwater without benefit of gills. In extreme cases (e.g. Neoplea striola, a back swimmer found in New England), insects can remain submerged for long periods of time, i.e. several months or more. Research in this area is inherently multidisciplinary requiring a combination of mechanics, chemistry and biology. (More info).
SCHOLARHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR PROSPECTIVE GRADUATE STUDENTS AND POST-DOCS:
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR PROSPECTIVE GRADUATE STUDENTS: