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Fluid Mechanics Research

  1. Sep 7, 2008 #1
    Hello. I would like to know where is fluid mechanics (computational and experimental) research going to be in the future? Is it growing? What areas in fluids have the greatest (in terms of importance) unsolved problems? (ie. I want to know what is being funded and by whom)

    I have access to experts in non-newtownian fluids, turbulence research, microfluidics, aerospace, CFD. I really want to stay focused in the fluids area. I'm a beginner in research and currently I am doing CFD study on a combustion related topic. And previously, in undergrad, I spent a year looking at melt flow behavior of plastics. I just want to know if I pursue a PhD in the future, what particular niche in fluids would I find myself with the potential to get grants and funding to pursue research (whether it be through a post-doc scholarships, professorship, government lab or industry)?

    I would welcome any advice or even alternative viewpoints on how I should look at PhD studies.

    And if it makes any difference, I am in Canada. I would very much like to stay here but I recognize that there are some countries that may have a group of experts on one particular area of fluids and they would be the places to pursue that avenue of research.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 7, 2008 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    From my perspective, the money right now is in turbulence/mixing flows and in multiphase flow. There's a lot of commercial applications for both, so there is a lot of money available for scientific topics.

    In the future, why limit yourself to fluids? think more generally- condensed matter, soft matter especially, liquid crystals/polymers, etc. There will be a lot of money in oil recovery for a while. Material transport and processing: foods, medicinal products, paints, chemical engineering stuff like that- all kinds of places to improve processes. Possibly work in wind or hydroelectric power, but I don't know the major bottlenecks in the technology. Depending how long view you think, smart/dynamic materials and self-assembled structures could be interesting as well.
     
  4. Sep 8, 2008 #3

    Andy Resnick

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    I forgot a couple other applications- thin films and coatings are also important commerical processes, and there is likely to be a lot of work in those. What do your 'experts in non-newtownian fluids, turbulence research, microfluidics, aerospace, CFD' say?
     
  5. Sep 9, 2008 #4
    Thanks for the reply. It gives me something to think about. I'm in mechanical engineering. So I'm not into all that process-side stuff that chem-E's do.
    A lot of the things you mentioned I see here in my department as well. Lots of work on coatings, sprays, droplet phenomena as well.

    I'm curious about some of the medical related fluids problems. Is hemodynamics big?
    I've also seen some money for lab-on-a-chip research.

    All I know is that the alternative fuels research I am in has a lot of money right now. Whether that stays true five years from now is a different story. And thats the kind of picture I am looking for, the future outlook.
     
  6. Sep 9, 2008 #5

    stewartcs

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    It may help to look at some different university websites (ME and AE departmental sites). They typically have information on what the different researchers at that university are working on.

    CS
     
  7. Sep 10, 2008 #6

    Andy Resnick

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    The biomedical industry is huge- hemodynamics in particular is, in my experience, a clinical application and there's a practical disconnect between the basic science (relationship of wall shear to athrosclerosis, for example) and clinical treatment. I'm not sure what current state of the art is. I am studying the role of fluid flow in biological processes, and I think it's a large field just beginning to come into its own. There's a lot of basic science applications- many organ systems, several disease states, organism development, inflammatory responses, etc. and a lot of technological developments: perfusion chambers, screening, lab-on-a-chip applications are indeed huge right now. Microfluidics is key to these applications.
     
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