Advisor: Professor M. Ani Hsieh
During the Summer of 2014, I had the opportunity to participate in research at the Scalable Autonomous Systems Lab at Drexel University. Specifically, I worked on the ongoing project of Distributed Tracking of Geophysical Flows by Robot Teams.
In particular, my projected addressed the generation of controllable ocean-like flows in a laboratory setting. Geophysical fluid dynamics is the study of natural fluid flows on large physical scales, such as oceans, rivers, and the atmosphere. Geophysical flows are stochastic and aperiodic, but are known to exhibit coherent structures. In ocean flows, these time-dependent coherent structures, Lagrangian coherent structures (LCS) divide the flow into dynamically distinct regions (Haller and Yuan, 2000). LCS thus provides important global information regarding the dynamics and transport of such environments. For two-dimensional (2D) flows, ridges of locally maximal finite-time Lyapunov exponent (FTLE) values correspond to a good approximation of LCS (Shadden, et al., 2005).
Building upon previous work, we attempt to show that a low Reynolds number experimental flow tank is capable of producing repeatable and controllable coherent structures in 2D by analyzing surface flows using FTLE and Dynamic Mode Decomposition (DMD). Specifically, we consider the scenario where flow is generated by motors placed such that rotation occurs at a set distance under the surface.
I presented my results during the annual Sigma Xi Summer Research poster session at Swarthmore College: Presentation Poster