Elementary channel flows with surprising responses: (i) Biofilms and flow and (ii) Trapping of bubbles in stagnation point flows

Event Date: April 22, 2014
Speaker: Dr. Howard Stone
Speaker Affiliation: Princeton University
Time: 9:00 - 10:20 a.m.
Location: FRNY G140

Abstract:  In this talk I describe two distinct problems that we have studied where seemingly modest variations in an elementary channel flow produce new effects. First, we investigate some influences of flow on biofilms. In particular, we identify the formation of biofilm streamers, which are filaments of biofilm extended along the central region of a channel flow, and show how these filaments are capable of causing catastrophic disruption and clogging of industrial, environmental and medical flow systems. We present a mathematical model to rationalize the rapid growth of the streamer. As we shall show, clogging occurs from the "inside-out" rather than form the "outside-in". Second we consider flow in a T-junction, which is perhaps the most common element in many piping systems. The flows are laminar but have high Reynolds numbers, typically Re=100-1000. It seems obvious that any particles in the fluid that enter the T-junction will leave following the one of the two main flow channels. Nevertheless, we report experiments that document that bubbles and other low density objects can be trapped at the bifurcation. The trapping leads to the steady accumulation of bubbles that can form stable chain-like aggregates in the presence, for example, of surfactants, or give rise to a growth due to coalescence. Our three-dimensional numerical simulations rationalize the mechanism behind this phenomenon.


Bio:  Professor Howard A. Stone received the Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of California at Davis in 1982 and the PhD in Chemical Engineering from Caltech in 1988. Following a postdoctoral year in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge, in 1989 Howard joined the faculty of the (now) School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, where he eventually became the Vicky Joseph Professor of Engineering and Applied Mathematics. In July 2009 Howard moved to Princeton University where he is Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Professor Stone's research interests are in fluid dynamics, especially as they arise in research and applications at the interface of engineering, chemistry, physics, and biology.  He received the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), and is past Chair of the Division of Fluid Dynamics of the APS. He is currently on the editorial or advisory boards of New Journal of Physics, Physics of Fluids, Langmuir, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Soft Matter, and is co-editor the (new) Soft Matter Book Series. He is the first recipient of the G.K. Batchelor Prize in Fluid Dynamics, which was awarded in August 2008. In 2009 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. In 2011 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.