Tackling Complex Flow Problems via Numerical Simulation

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Dean's Lecture:

Tackling Complex Flow Problems via Numerical Simulation: From Jumping Fish and Heart Valves to River Flooding and Wind Energy


Fotis Sotiropoulos Dean, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Stony Brook University


The fluid mechanics problems at the center of many of these challenges are often so complex that simulation-based research is the only viable approach for tackling them. Examples range from disease-promoting blood-flow patterns in the human heart and bio-inspired swimming robots to extreme flooding in waterways and harnessing renewable energy from wind, currents, and waves. Accurate numerical simulation of such flows poses a formidable challenge to even the most advanced computational methods available today. Dean Sotiropoulos will discuss the advances he has made in developing a powerful computational framework, the Virtual Flow Simulator (VFS), which can: handle arbitrarily complex geometries encountered in real-life applications; simulate fluid-structure interaction for rigid and flexible bodies; account for two-phase flows and free surface effects; and carry out coherent-structure-resolving simulations of turbulent flows in arbitrarily complex domains with dynamically evolving boundaries. The ability of the method to yield striking new insights into the physics of a broad range of real-life problems will be demonstrated by discussing applications in aquatic biology, cardiovascular engineering, turbulence and transport processes in natural waterways, and wind and marine and hydrokinetic energy. He will also touch upon future grand challenges and opportunities for simulation-based fluid mechanics research.


Fotis Sotiropoulos

Fotis Sotiropoulos serves as Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and SUNY Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering at Stony Brook University. Before joining Stony Brook, he was the James L. Record Professor of Civil Engineering; Director of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory; and Director of the EOLOS wind energy research consortium at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (2006-2015). Prior to that, he was on the faculty of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, with a joint appointment in the G. W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering (1995-2005).  His research focuses on simulation-based engineering science for tackling complex, societally relevant fluid mechanics problems in energy, environment and human-health applications. He has authored more than 190 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters and his research results have been featured on the cover of several prestigious journals. His laurels include the 2019 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Hydrology Days Borland Lecture in Hydraulics, the 2017 Hunter Rouse Hydraulic Engineering Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), a 2014 distinguished lecture of the Mortimer and Raymond Sackler Institute of Advanced Studies at Tel Aviv University, and a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation.  Sotiropoulos is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and has twice won the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Gallery of Fluid Motion (2009, 2011).

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