Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (01/29/2014) – The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award to Michele Guala, assistant professor of civil engineering at the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, for novel research on mechanisms to manipulate meandering fluid flows and the resulting erosion and deposition of sediments on the streambed and bank. The 5 year, $408,180 project, funds theoretical and experimental research on meandering flow dynamics for application in river and stream restoration efforts and in marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy installations.
Building upon the concepts of Geophysical Flow Control (GFC), an approach for manipulating large scale turbulent flows to achieve a desired flow objective, Guala aims to identify the triggers that magnify and mitigate meanders in natural flow environments. The project includes a series of experiments utilizing the research facilities of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, including flumes with erodible bottom walls, planar jets, and wind and marine and hydrokinetic turbines. Laboratory experiments will provide important baseline information and validation of GFC concepts. Outcomes from the project are anticipated to support restoration efforts in rivers and streams by guiding the use of mechanisms to manipulate and manage erosion and deposition. Additionally, the project will contribute significantly toward methods for mitigating any potential impacts of the use of underwater turbines for marine and hydrokinetic energy production.
Additionally, Guala seeks to engage a community of scholars of different ages around the exploration of GFC techniques. Activities will include development of a movable GFC experimental table to provide audiences a hands-on understanding of the mechanisms which affect meandering flows, facilitation of laboratory and field experiments controlled virtually by researchers across the globe, and the creation of an interactive website and learning portal. Utilizing these tools, individuals across a broad spectrum of ages and backgrounds in the US and abroad can participate in the analysis and discussion of sustainable river restoration practices and water power projects.
CAREER Awards are the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards given to early career faculty members who seamlessly integrate high-quality research and educational excellence in their work. Learn more at http://www.nsf.gov/funding.