Undercurrent: The Alden Blog

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Industrial fluid dynamics insights


Computational Fluid Dynamics: Examining Guinness Bubbles
We know we aren’t the first to ponder the phenomenon of watching bubbles sink when a pint of Guinness is poured. Is it magic within the stout that causes this defiance again the laws of physics? Or is there something else going on with this tasty elixir? And really, what good is keeping all our scientific knowledge bottled up if we can’t pop the top off it and apply it to more social pursuits? In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, we did just that. Bubbles are the circulation engine More studies than you realize have been conducted about the sinking bubble phenomenon that occurs within a freshly poured pint of Guinness. In one recent study, three Irish mathematicians investigated the shape of the glass. In their flow simulations, they found the rise or fall of the bubbles is directly related to the shape of the glass into which the beer is poured. A glass with a smaller base (like a stout glass) is going to result in a higher bubble density near the middle, causing entrained bubbles ...

Fluid Dynamics Hobbies IV: Archery
For many employees at Alden, fluid dynamics is part of their life outside the office--in the sports they choose for their free time.  In many cases, a sport was what came first and later helped inform a career choice in fluids and fluid flow.  This ongoing series features some of the various and unique ways our employees spend some of their non-working hours and how CFD and fluid flow analysis is being used to improve techniques used in those sports.   Part IV: Archery - Duncan Phyfe   Duncan Phyfe, a senior CFD engineer at Alden, started enjoying archery thanks to his mother.  She was one of the riflery coaches at Choate-Rosemary Hall prep school.  When the school needed an archery instructor, they assumed she could do it, since she already knew how to get one type of projectile to hit a target!  So Duncan has been shooting arrows since he was about 6 years old.   When Duncan was 10 years old, he started attending The World Archery Center (TWAC), and that is when he started to learn the physics and aerodynamics of archery. ...

Fluid Dynamics Hobbies III: Whitewater Kayaking
You might never know when one seemingly minor decision could change your life. One summer weekend, just before entering my third year in the Civil & Environmental Engineering program at Tufts, I found myself on a whitewater kayaking class for beginners run by volunteer instructors with the Appalachian Mountain Club. A friend recruited me to join at the last minute; they needed more new “boaters” to reach their minimum capacity. Some combination of perfect weather, good company, and new challenges that weekend got me hooked on the sport. The more time I spent on the river, the more folks I met who had degrees and careers related to hydrology or engineering. That would eventually include me, too – my love for this hobby & fluid dynamics led me to work here at Alden. When I returned to school in the fall, I took my first fluid dynamics course. The coursework and the new hobby complemented each other – spending time in a boat made it easier for me to understand certain fluid mechanics topics. One of those topics is ...

Fluid Dynamics Hobbies II: Sailing
For many employees at Alden, fluid dynamics is part of their life outside the office--in the sports they choose for their free time.  In many cases, a sport was what came first and later helped inform a career choice in fluids and fluid flow.  This ongoing series will feature some of the various and unique ways our employees spend some of their non-working hours and how CFD and fluid flow analysis is being used to improve techniques used in those sports. Part II: Sailing - Dave Schowalter and Kimbal & Becca Hall Sailing is all about using fluid dynamic forces to propel and control a boat.  There is the fluid dynamics of the water against the rudder and the keel or centerboard, which allows the skipper to steer the boat and and to sail upwind.  Then there is the aerodynamics of the wind against the sails, and maximizing the lift on the sails.  As with an airplane, balancing the fluid dynamics forces is a key element to boat design and making a boat responsive and easily controllable. At least three current Alden ...

Fluid Dynamics Hobbies Part I: Synchronized Swimming
For many employees at Alden, fluid dynamics is part of their life outside the office--in the sports they choose for their free time.  In many cases, a sport was what came first and later helped inform a career choice in fluids and fluid flow.  This new and ongoing series will feature some of the various and unique ways our employees spend some of their non-working hours and how CFD and fluid flow analysis is being used to improve techniques used in those sports. Part 1 - Synchronized Swimming - Amie Humphrey Facendola I have loved swimming and being in or on the water since I was very young.  I was fortunate enough to join the local synchronized swimming team in my early teens and the sport has played a significant role in my life.  I competed with the Synchro-Maids of Central Massachusetts for 6 years in middle/high school and again as a masters swimmer for 4 years after college. A love of water is the reason I chose the concentration of civil and environmental engineering in college and was one reason ...