Flow through porous media: from subsurface flows to drug transport in tissue

Funded by industry

Polymer surfactant flooding porous media porous media porous media
porous media Microemulsion

We have developed high performance computational tools to resolve transport of complex fluids and multiphase flows through porous media using conservative level-set and distributed Lagrange multiplier approaches. This computational tool is capable of capturing the interplay of buoyancy, capillary effects, and heterogeneity in porous media as well as particulate and complex fluids. 

Particle-laden flows

Funded by NSF, DOE and industry

Squirmers between walls Particles in stratified fluids
Deformation of droplet in particulate flow Collision of a sphere onto a wall

The motion of solid particles in a fluid plays an important role in sedimentation, crystal growth, suspension rheology, and microfluidic devices such as those used in mechanical cell lysis. We have developed computational methods to explore colliding particles in Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids.

Multiphase flows: jets, drops

Funded by industry

Jet breakup
Polymer jet breakup Bubble in a surfactant solution

Understanding the instability and breakup of jets is important for a wide variety of applications including inkjet printing and spraying of fertilizers and paint. Such fluids can be viscoelastic and the jetting/breakup process involves a delicate interplay of capillary, viscous, inertial and elastic stresses. We explore the physical processes that control different phases of the temporal evolution in the jet profile and breakup.

Settling particles and swimming microorganisms in stratified fluids

Funded by NSF

Stratlet Biogenic mixing in stratified fluid
Gyrotactic bioconvection at pycnoclines Gyrotactic bioconvection at pycnoclines

Many aquatic environments are characterized by regions where water density varies over depth, often due to temperature or salinity gradients. These ‘pycnoclines’ are associated with intense biological activity and can affect carbon fluxes by slowing the descent of particles. Despite this, the fundamental fluid dynamics of settling and swimming in a stratified fluid have remained largely unexplored. We take first strides into this area by rationalizing the effects of stratification by conducting a broad, in-depth investigation on the fundamental hydrodynamics of small organisms, settling particles, and rising drops. These results demonstrate an unexpected effect of buoyancy, potentially affecting a broad range of abundant processes at pycnoclines in oceans and lakes.

Interaction of microbes with surrounding fluids

Funded by NSF and CTSI

The interaction of motile microorganisms and surrounding fluids is of importance in a variety of biological and environmental phenomena including the development of biofilms, colonization of microbes in human and animal bodies, and formation of marine algal blooms. Ambient fluid flow is pervasive in microbial environments and can have profound effects on the motility of microbes, affecting fundamental microbial processes such as their ability to take up nutrients and colonize surfaces. We explore the role of properties of the surrounding fluid on the spatial distribution of motile microorganisms, their collective behavior, and the corresponding flow structures.

Collective motion in viscoelastic fluid Collective motion in viscoelastic fluid
microfluidic device biofilm formation in vortical flow
Swimmer in viscoelastic fluid Swimmer in shearthinning viscoelastic fluid

Conferences we attend

APS-DFD: American Physical Society – Division of Fluid Dynamics

SES: Society of Engineering Science

SOR: The Society of Rheology Annual Meeting

USNC/TAM: U.S. National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics

IUTAM: International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics

APS March meetings: Soft Matter and Division of Polymer Physics

ASME Annual Meeting

AIChE Annual Meeting

Acknowledgement of support

Sources of support