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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 15, 2011

Engineering researchers receive $280,000 to study fluid dynamics

Two University of Iowa College of Engineering researchers have received a $280,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a study of fluid dynamics and, in particular, how fluids move around riverine structures.

Over the next two years, James Buchholz, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, and Thanos Papanicolaou, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Donald E. Bently Faculty Fellow of Engineering and Faculty Research Engineer at IIHR -- Hydroscience & Engineering, will study the interaction between water flow and sediment. For the purposes of the study, sediment is defined as pieces of naturally occurring material broken down by natural processes such as erosion.

The researchers hope the information gathered from the research will provide engineers, river managers and other professionals with valuable tools to help them preserve natural resources and wildlife habitat.

“I’m excited to do this work. It’s important to understand how everything is connected and how the study of biology and its physical properties can work together,” said Buchholz, also an IIHR -- Hydroscience & Engineering assistant research engineer.

Two graduate students studying civil engineering -- Seyed Mohammad Hajimirzaie, a third-year graduate student, and Achilles Tsakiris, a second-year doctoral student, will partner with Buchholz and Papanicolaou. They hope to learn what causes certain water patterns to form and whether obstacles, such as boulders, are a factor. The results may help river managers control erosion.

All the research will be conducted within the IIHR -- Hydroscience & Engineering building on the UI campus using a state-of-the-art laboratory flume. The project is formally titled “The Role of Relative Submergence on Flow-Obstacle Interaction: Implication to Sediment Transport.”

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,; Tiffany Hung, writer