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Mechanical Engineering

Fluid Mechanics Research Lab

About the Lab

Location: Clement Hall Room 102 & East Stadium Room 235

Coordinators: Ahmad Vasel and Jie Cui

FMRL logoIn the Fluid Mechanics Research Laboratory (FMRL), we develop numerical simulations and analytical models in concert with laboratory and field experiments, seeking to deepen the understanding of fluid mechanics for more accurate prediction and control of flows for engineering applications. More specifically, we specialize in turbulence, vortex dynamics, bubble dynamics, and optimization for energy conversion and storage applications including: (i) aerodynamics of wind turbines, wake loss modeling, wind farm layout optimization, and wind power forecasting; and (ii) aerodynamics of solar PV plants, (iii) marine hydro kinetic devices, (iv) mechanical energy storage technologies (e.g., underwater compressed air energy storage).

Lab Features & Highlights

The FMRL’s equipment list includes: 

  1. Research Wind Tunnel:

    Test Section: 3 m in length, 1.25 m in width, 1.25 in height
    Top Speed: ~ 20 m/s
    Fan: ~ 93 kW (125 hp)
    Traverse: Three-dimensional fully-automated traverse system (stroke length = ~ 1 m in x-, y-, and z-directions)

  2. Education Wind Tunnel: A Small scale educational wind tunnel equipped with load cell and smoke flow visualization facility with top speed of approximately 50 m/s.
  3. Turbulence Measurement: A three-channel TSI IFA 300 Constant Temperature Anemometer with multichannel digitizer; Thermal-Pro Data Acquisition and Analysis software; 1D, 2D, and 3D hot wire sensors and long probe holders
  4. Flow Visualization: An MCT U1000 Color High Speed Camera (AOS) with maximum speed of 500 frame per second and maximum resolution of 2.3 Megapixel (1900 by 1200) used for flow visualization purposes. Multiple lenses and professional lighting are available.
  5. Load Measurement: An ATI Mini85 Load Cell with DAQ and ATI software for measuring aerodynamic and hydrodynamic loads. This sensor measures force and torque in 3 directions (i.e., FX, FY, FZ, TX, TY, TZ) at sampling rate of 1000 Hz.
  6. Fans: FMRL is equipped with several axial, centrifugal, and cross-flow fans that can provide up to 80,000 CFM (~ 38 m3/s). These fans are driven by a broad range of motors up to 125 horsepower. FMRL’s fans facilitate both internal and external flow experiments
  7. Computational Power: To meet our computational needs, we maintain a wide selection of computers divided into two main categories: (1) Local workstations with a variety of essential engineering and research software including ANSYS and Solidworks. (2) 36 non-GPU and 3 GPU nodes of a high-performance computing cluster with 128 GB RAM, 28 Xeon cores, and 200 GB storage, per each node. This facility is shared with other laboratories.

Lab Website

Fluids lab

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