Professor Maziar Hemati Receives 2020 NSF Career Award

Professor Maziar Hemati was presented with the National Science Foundation CAREER award in the fluid dynamics program on January 1. The award aims to support junior faculty members who embody the role of ideal teacher-scholars through the integration of education and research while supporting the mission of their organization, and provides $500,000 over five years.

Professor Hemati researches the modeling, analysis, and control of fluid flows. The four main areas of his research are turbulent transition prediction and control for drag reduction, mutli- sensor fusion for advanced flow diagnostics, aerodynamic separation control for safe and agile flight, and machine learning for hydrodynamic perception in underwater robots. 

Hemati’s award will fund research on, “Controlling nonlinear flow interactions to suppress transition to turbulence,” which focuses on the study of complex (nonlinear) flow interactions that will suppress laminar transition to turbulence and achieve drag reduction. Computer simulations of a channel flow incorporating only wall-based sensing and actuation of the flow will be used to demonstrate the delays in transition.  

Turbulent flows exhibit higher levels of skin-friction drag than more orderly laminar flows. So, the ability to maintain a laminar flow and prevent a transition to turbulence has great potential to improve efficiency in a wide range of systems, ranging from aircraft to barges to automobiles. Hemati and his team plan to use feedback control to achieve transition suppression. Sensor measurements can be used to detect changes in the flow, then fluidic actuators can be used to optimally inject or remove momentum from the flow. By using theory and principles from the robust control community, Hemati’s work will model and control the complex process of transition in an efficient and reliable manner.