Our research focus on a wide range of applications of environmental fluid dynamics. We use both observations and modeling to understand turbulence, particle-fluid interactions, and transport phenomena. Our primary research subjects are within water resources, including natural water bodies and engineered water systems. We also collaborate with scientists and physicians to study broader fluid problems.  

Current research topics:

Transport of Carp Eggs in Large Rivers
Invasive carps often spawn in high turbulence areas of rivers.  The eggs are initially small and dense, which requires substantial turbulence to keep them suspended. While drifting downstream, they increase their volume by taking on large amount of water and approach a near-neutrally buoyant density (slightly heavier than water) before hatching. In large rivers, highly three dimensional turbulence are present. Along with the current in the rivers, they dominate the location, timing of the dispersion of carp eggs in rivers, which serves the critical role in survival of these eggs.
Funded by the USGS Aquatic Invasive Species program, we are investigating the effect of turbulence on the egg drift in a unique reach of Missouri River, where a series of channel-training structures and bedforms are present (see upper left figure).  We are collaborating with USGS scientists on using observations and modeling to quantify the fine-scale turbulent structures and their influence on the dispersion of egg particles in water. 
Dynamics of Underwater Gas Blowouts 
Underwater gas leaking or blowout are threats to offshore safety. A large "eye of fire" was likely caused by the methane leaking on July 3rd, 2021 in the Gulf of Mexico. Funded by the MU Research Council and now supported by the NAS Gulf Research Program, we are investigating the dynamics of underwater gas blowout from its orifice to the surface using a laboratory experiment and modeling. 
We use shadow imaging to obtain the information of high speed gas jets (nominal Mach number > 1) that are released from a horizontally orientated gas orifice (see top panel figure). We are able to quantify the trajectory of gas bubbles and the radius of gas/water fountain when they reach to the water surface. 
The lower panel figure shows an example of cross-sectional void fraction calculation from the images. The void fraction map provides quantitative information about the trajectory of release gas and the volume distribution of gas in the water column and the size of fountain when they reach the surface. We will also be able to calculate bubble size distribution as a function of released gas volume so that we can predict how much gas are dissolved in the water, and how much gas can reach to the water surface in such accidents.