Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering Seminar


Computational Fluid Mechanics Challenges at the Intersection of Biology,


Prof. Fotis Sotiropoulos


University of Minnesota


Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 11:00:00 AM


MRDC Building, Room 4211


Dr. Ari Glezer


Computational Fluid Mechanics Challenges at the Intersection of Biology, Environment & Renewable Energy Fotis Sotiropoulos Director and James L. Record Professor St. Anthony Falls Laboratory and Dept. of Civil Engineering University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN The need for restoring the Nationís degrading waterways coupled with the increasing demand for clean and renewable energy from wind and water resources have given rise to numerous challenging fluid mechanics problems residing at the intersection between biology with environmental and energy related engineering applications. Simulation-based research is in many cases the only viable approach for tackling such problems, which pose a formidable challenge to even the most advanced numerical methods available today. Flows of interest take place in arbitrarily complex multi-connected domains with moving, rigid or flexible immersed bodies interacting with the flow (fluid/structure interaction); involve physical phenomena coupled across disparate scales; occur over a broad range of Reynolds numbers and flow regimes; and are dominated by coherent vortical structures. This talk will present a novel and versatile computational fluid dynamics framework for simulating such flows that integrates immersed boundary methods with curvilinear, overset grids, features accurate and robust fluidstructure interaction algorithms, and is capable of carrying out coherent-structure-resolving simulations of turbulent flows in arbitrarily complex domains with dynamically evolving boundaries. The potential of the method will be demonstrated by discussing applications to study: 1) the hydrodynamics of aquatic swimming; 2) turbulence in natural streams; and 3) hydrokinetic and wind turbine flows. Future grand challenges and opportunities for tackling a wide range of fluid mechanics problems in the energy/environment nexus via simulation-based research will also be discussed.


Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos received his Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens in 1986, a masterís degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Penn State University in 1989, and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1991. From 1991 to 1995 he worked at the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research (University of Iowa) initially as a post-doctoral researcher and later as an assistant research scientist. In 1995 he joined the faculty of the Georgia Institute of Technology (School of Civil and Environmental Engineering) where he became Professor in 2005. Since 2002, he also held a joint faculty appointment with the G. W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. In January 2006, Fotis Sotiropoulos moved to the University of Minnesota to become the director of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory and professor in the department of Civil Engineering. In 2008 he was appointed to the James L. Record chair of Civil Engineering. As of January 2010 he also serves as the director of the University of Minnesota led wind energy research consortium established at the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory by the US Department of Energy. His research is aimed at developing high-resolution computational techniques for studying a wide range of cross-disciplinary fluid mechanics problems in environmental, aquatic swimming, renewable energy, and cardiovascular applications. His work is sponsored by the NSF, DOE, NIH, the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, and private industry. Professor Sotiropoulos is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the recipient of a NSF Career award and has also been invited twice by the National Academy of Engineering to participate in Frontiers of Engineering symposia. He is serving as an associate editor for the ASCE Journal of Hydraulic Engineering and is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow.