Seminars People Information Computing Research
Dynamics of Interfaces in Viscoelastic Fluids
P.I.s: Donald Gaver (Biomedical Engineering), Daniel DeKee (Chemical Engineering), Ali El-Afif (CCS), Ricardo Cortez (Mathematics).
The focus of this project is the simulation of the deformation and motion of interfaces in viscoelastic fluids. The interface may be the surface of bubbles that form in chemical processes used in materials processing and are key in determining the material's shape, strength and purity. The interface may also represent the air-liquid boundary on the thin lining that coats the interior surface of mammalian lung airways.

The key component is the visco-elasticity of the surrounding fluid and the dynamics of substance concentrations (such as surfactant) on the interface. The goal of this research is to develop theories and computer simulations of interfacial behavior in situations that include non-Newtonian fluids and complex surfactant uptake kinetics. Most related research to date has been carried out with Newtonian fluids and idealized models of surfactant transport. The investigators associated with this project are Dr. Donald Gaver (Biomedical Engineering), Dr. Daniel DeKee (Chemical Engineering) and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Ali El-Afif. Dr. Gaver is an expert in physicochemical hydrodynamics, in particular surfactant dynamics, transport in pulmonary airways and computational methods for these problems.

Dr. DeKee is an expert in rheological flows and experimental work on bubble dynamics. Some of his conjectures derived from experiments will be investigated numerically as part of this project. The topic of Dr. El-Afif's Ph.D. dissertation was theoretical and computational analysis of solvent diffusion in concentrated polymer solutions, which is the perfect background for the successful completion of this project.

The mathematical formulation of the problem is complex, and computational simulations are at an early stage. However, the combination of expertise by Tulane faculty with Dr. El-Afif is already producing significant advances after just a few weeks. The results of the computer simulations will require the analysis of three-dimensional shapes and concentration levels on intricate surfaces as well as the full deformation and coalescence of bubbles. This delicate analysis necessitates the use of high-definition graphics and image processing.

Tulane Tulane University
201 Lindy Boggs Center
Computational Science
6823 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504)862-8391 ccs@tulane.edu