CAREER: Multiscale Turbulent Flow Interaction with Flexible Branched Trees for Storm Impact Research (044110)

Project Status: Current



The PI's primary career goal is to develop a research and education program to understand the role of flexibility versus shape in the fluid-structure interaction (FSI) of multiscale systems such as cardiovascular, respiratory, biological and complex aerospace systems. A key problem in this category is the multiscale interaction of a tree canopy and turbulent boundary wherein large-scale coherent flow structures are formed that are ultimately critical in the global biogeochemical cycles and climate change. Despite progress in extracting and quantifying these coherent structures, there are still significant open questions about their formation and connection to the canopy architecture and tree characteristics. Along with addressing these issues, the main research objective of this CAREER proposal is to systematically investigate the flow interaction with flexible fractal trees to delineate the effects of reconfiguration and adaptive broadband dynamic characteristics of multiscale structures on the formation of organized flow fields. New multiscale numerical and analytical techniques will be used to connect the flow interaction with foliage of leaves and the turbulent flow dynamics around a flexible branched tree with the formation, shape, and dynamics of large coherent flow structures. An expected outcome of this research effort is an explanation for the puzzling observations of the spatial and temporal characteristics of coherent structures over canopies and enhanced predictions of these structures in detrimental weather conditions such as wind storms. The main educational objective is to boost the multidisciplinary education of students in the field of Mechanical Engineering and increase the retention rate of minority students through hands-on education and training. A tightly integrated outreach program will be developed to increase public knowledge about the fluid dynamics of wind in canopies and its role in storms. Also, nature-inspired FSI examples and live demos will be used to encourage the young generation to pursue science and engineering.