The goal of this project is the study of a multiscale challenge of fluid mechanics, polymer dynamics in flow, one that spans from molecular to macroscale. In spite of decades of research on the dynamics of single polymers in flow, polymer drag reduction, early turbulence, and more recently elastic turbulence, a comprehensive and predictive knowledge of polymer-polymer and polymer-flow interactions still elude us. Consequently, industrial applications of polymers' abilities to control turbulence, heat transfer in single or multiphase flows, or enhancing mixing at microscopic scales have yet to exploit the full potential of polymer dynamics.
It is proposed to develop an interdisciplinary research program around multiscale numerical algorithms developed to address the shortcomings of current numerical approaches used for viscoelastic fluids in turbulent, or turbulent-like, flows. The intellectual merit of the proposal is to study an area of fluid mechanics with many remaining open questions that pertains to the fundamental properties of turbulent transport and mixing. The broader impacts of the proposed research are (1) to advance the state of the art of predictive theories and models of polymer dynamics in flow, (2) to contribute to the general knowledge of turbulence control and mixing, (3) to demonstrate the benefits of the proposed research in turbulence drag control, heat transfer manipulation and mixing applied to practical problems.
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