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Transport of particles, drops, and small organisms in density stratified fluids

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

2:30pm – 3:45pm

Virtual via zoom (register by clicking here), Virginia Tech Campus

Arezoo Ardekani

Mechanical Engineering

Purdue University


Many aquatic environments are characterized by regions where water density varies over depth often due to temperature or salinity gradients. These 'pycnoclines' are associated with intense biological activity and can affect carbon fluxes by slowing the descent of particles. We explore the effects of stratification on the fundamental hydrodynamics of settling particles, rising drops, and small organisms. Our results show that the presence of vertical density gradients in the water column can substantially affect the settling dynamics of a particle, interaction between a pair of particles, and settling rates and microstructure of suspension of particles. We further demonstrate an unexpected effect of buoyancy, potentially affecting a broad range of processes at pycnoclines in oceans and lakes. In particular, stratification has a major effect on the flow field, energy expenditure, and nutrient uptake of small organisms.


Arezoo Ardekani is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. She graduated from Sharif University of Technology with her bachelor's in 2003, and subsequently received her master's and PhD from the University of California Irvine in 2005 and 2009, respectively. She joined the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue in 2014. A Fellow of ASME (2020), Arezoo has received the Arthur B. Metzner Early Career Award from the Society of Rheology (2020), the Society of Engineering Science Young Investigator Medal (2020), and the Sigma Xi Mid-career Research Award (2020). Honored with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from president Obama (2016), Arezoo has also received an NSF CAREER Award (2012), the Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Award (2009), the Zonta International Amelia Earhart Award (2008) and the Society of Women Engineers Award (2007).