Fluid

Laura Bowen | August 29, 2013

When it comes to recreational water sports, simulation can make a dramatic difference in performance. Skimboards are a perfect example of this. These short, thin boards are similar to surfboards without fins and they allow riders to float on the water’s surface and glide. In order to improve the design of the board, one group of researchers relied on hydrodynamics to understand the interaction between water and skimboards.

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Fanny Littmarck | August 27, 2013

Plate heat exchangers have a larger surface with respect to their volume as compared to a conventional shell and tube design, making for an efficient temperature regulation device. As the name infers, these types of heat exchangers consist of layers of corrugated metal forming channels in between. In order to optimize their performance, you need the flow through the channels to be well-distributed. As you can imagine, the flow is very detailed and modeling it can be computationally demanding, if […]

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Alexandra Foley | August 22, 2013

There are many different routes through which drugs and other medications can be delivered into a patient’s body during treatment. These include topographical ointments, pills, vaporizers, and injection systems, among others. Many of these drug delivery systems require an enormous amount of precision when it comes to the location, timing, concentration, and amount of the drug to be administered. This is where simulation can be a big help, as it can allow for the modeling of each of these aspects […]

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Alexandra Foley | August 21, 2013

Solar photovoltaic (PV) cells are semiconductor devices that directly convert solar energy into electricity or voltage using the photovoltaic effect. These PV cells are more commonly known as solar cells, or solar panels, and in 2012 they produced roughly 93 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity — enough energy to power over 20 million homes. Because the cells must be directly exposed to the sun’s rays, they are housed outdoors where the panels are affected by the elements. Therefore, the cells must […]

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Matheus Fernandes | August 9, 2013

Suppose we have a rectangular microchannel containing a laminar flow with Reynolds number Re = 1. Next, let’s randomly distribute suspended particles at the channel’s inlet. Given that there are no external forces acting on these particles, you would intuitively expect that the particles would trace the fluid streamline. However, scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Veryst Engineering would disagree, and their research findings suggest a completely different pattern than what would be expected. The researchers claim that depending […]

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Alexandra Foley | August 8, 2013

When pesticides are used in crops to control pests, their effects on the environment continue even after they have served their purpose. Pesticides can leach into the soil and water sources that both humans and animals depend on, spreading harmful chemicals to the surrounding ecosystem. Over time, their active ingredients are detoxified through different reactions that occur after their release, eventually degrading them into harmless products. Understanding the pesticide runoff patterns and mobility of various pesticides before and after they […]

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Matheus Fernandes | July 31, 2013

When you think of a valve, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Electromagnetic waves, or perhaps, Stokes flow separating charged chemicals in a microchannel system? Maybe neither. The truth is, when researchers try to separate small (in the picoliters region), well-defined sample volumes of chemicals, the dispensing accuracy provided by a mechanical regulator probably won’t suffice. An electrokinetic valve, a type of microfluidic valve, on the other hand, provides the perfect solution by giving researchers the flow […]

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Alexandra Foley | July 23, 2013

There are many different forces that can induce flow in fluids, such as kinetic energy, pressure gradients, concentration gradients, and many more. In natural systems, one effect that can initiate fluid flow in a still fluid is a change in density. This density change will result in a change in the fluid’s buoyancy, thus inciting flow as the denser fluid sinks and the less dense, buoyant, fluid rises. You’re probably most familiar with these changes in density occurring due to […]

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Alexandra Foley | July 10, 2013

The flow of fluid through a porous medium is usually described by Darcy’s Law. However, what if you wanted to look at a combination of fluid flow, heat transfer, and mass transport in a porous medium? Instead of using Darcy’s Law, which calculates an average linear velocity for fluid flow in porous media, the Navier-Stokes equations would be necessary in order to obtain accurate results. In addition, heat convection and conduction, as well as mass transport would need to be […]

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Valerio Marra | July 2, 2013

Of all boats, I find sailboats to be the most fascinating, especially when sails are their only means of propulsion. Kinetic energy is transferred from the wind to the sails, which results in a lift force that balances drag forces and allows the sailboat to move through the water. We are all familiar with the parts of a boat above the waterline: deck, spars, sails, and the rudder used to turn the boat (figure 1c). Not everyone pays attention to […]

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Alexandra Foley | June 17, 2013

The fact that oil and water don’t mix is something that you are probably all familiar with. At one point or another, you’ve most likely noticed what happens when you shake a bottle of say, Italian salad dressing, and the liquids mix momentarily, only to become separated again within seconds as oil bubbles rise to the surface. Creating a simulation describing how these two immiscible fluids interact is a great way to introduce computational fluid dynamics (CFD) applied to two-phase […]

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