The proposed CAREER project is focused on the computational investigation of the fluid physics in cases where fluid flow interacts with the solid in contact with the fluid. This research area is known as Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI), and it is an area of vigorous research in the past few years. The goal of this research is to explore swimming and propulsion in aquatic environments, cardiovascular flows, as well as energy harvesting with wind turbines, by first developing accurate simulation techniques and then exploring the conditions that lead to energy efficiency. Educational activities that promote STEM to students, teachers and the public are also proposed.
The PI proposes to address two issues in FSI, one is a numerical issue that refers to the rigorous selection of an appropriate preconditioner for simulating FSI problems, while the second is a physics issue related to the physics of flow around solids. The discovery of robust preconditioners, as proposed here, can affect the development of Computational Fluid Dynamics technologies for other problems, where computations in parallel are needed. The physics to be investigated are focused on the hypothesis put forth by the PI that a leading-edge-vortex (LEV) is formed in aquatic swimming, and that this LEV can be stabilized or controlled. A stable LEV leads to energy savings. There is also an extensive outreach and education plan that includes the operation of a YouTube channel, activities for professional development of local teachers and outreach activities to the Buffalo Museum of Science.