Vortical structures are the building blocks of fluid flows. They are generated by swimming fish, off of airplane wings, and even in the human heart. Investigating the dynamic behavior of single vortices, or vortex-vortex interactions, is important in order to understand fluid flows in general.
We investigate biologically inspired propulsion techniques in order to find and design novel engineering solutions. Our paradigm is that numerical simulation and optimization tools are a great lens for uncovering the best possible swimming gaits & shapes for a particular engineering goal.
Shape-shifting materials respond to environmental stimuli such as temperature, light, and concentration, and enable the material programming of complex shapes. We are interested in the inverse-problem: how to find the design rules so that an initial structure morphs into a specified target shape.