One of our water tanks, used to measure hydraulic jump

One of our water tanks, used to measure hydraulic jump

The Centre for Wind, Waves and Water covers a wide range of research initiatives related to fluid mechanics. Our key research mainly focuses on:

Wind Engineering
  • Wind load on structures
  • Aerodynamics of structures
  • Pollutant dispersion in urban environments
  • Pedestrian wind comfort
  • Wind energy
  • Aerodynamic design of buildings
  • Turbulent boundary layers

Thermo-Fluid Mechanics
  • Buoyancy driven flows
  • Natural convection boundary layers
  • Gravity currents
  • Heat transfer enhancement

Sustainable Building Technologies
  • Natural ventilation
  • Solar chimney design optimisation
  • Water wall performance
  • Night-time ventilation
  • Other solar thermal technologies

Environmental Flows
  • Exchange and mixing in reservoirs
  • Nutrients and pollutants transport
  • Oxygenation and destratification systems
  • Fluid biological interactions

Environmental Modelling
  • Hydraulics and hydrology
  • Soil biogeochemistry
  • Sediment-microorganism-water interaction
  • Soil-plant-atmosphere interaction
  • Climate, water, and soil change

Coastal Engineering
  • Wave power generation
  • Sediment transport and scour

Research Projects

Australian Research Council (ARC) Funded Projects

Discovery Project 2010-2012
Title: Enhancing natural convection heat transfer using a single horizontal non-metallic fin
Investigators: Chengwang Lei and John Patterson
Description: This project develops the basis for a simple design to improve the energy efficiency of natural convection heat exchangers. The research exploits the interaction between two flows to trigger turbulence, which results in an increase of heat transfer rate.

Discovery Project 2012-2014
Title: Flow and transport in the nearshore regions of lakes and reservoirs
Investigators:  John Patterson and Sally MacIntyre
Description: In the near shore regions of lakes and reservoirs, the decreasing depth approaching the shore results in relative warming by solar radiation in the shallower part which drives a circulation up the bottom slope and out along the surface, Further, any residual radiation that reaches the bed is re-emitted as a heat flux, which gives rise to an instability and rising plumes. These effects contribute to the transport of pollutants from the near shore to the central parts. The opposite effect occurs with night time cooling. This research is aimed at quantifying this effect through analytical, computational and experimental investigations, and the interpretation of field data.

Discovery Project 2013-2015
Title: Conjugate natural convection boundary layers
Investigators:  Steven Armfield, Michael Kirkpatrick, Chengwang Lei, Wenxian Lin and John Patterson
Description: Conjugate natural convection systems occur when a conducting vertical wall separates fluids at different temperatures (that is at a window separating the interior of a room from the outside or when a container of fluid is placed in a refrigerator). This project provides accurate predictions of such flows together with scaling relations.

Discovery Project 2014-2016
Title: A multi-scale theory of unsaturated porous media under extreme loading
Investigators:  Luming Shen, Giang Nguyen, Abbas El Zein and Federico Maggi
Description: The goal of this project was to develop a novel experimentally-validated theory for describing dynamic response of unsaturated porous media subject to extreme loading. The outcomes targeted the mining and petroleum industries, and the safety of critical civil infrastructure against natural or man-made disasters such as earthquakes and explosions.

Other Projects

2012 USYD Major Equipment Scheme
Title: Corrosion of concrete
Investigators: Gianluca Ranzi and Federico Maggi
Description: The project aim is to: (i) evaluate the effect of environmental chemicals and biological agents on the durability and performance of structural components; (ii) determining the impact of different degradation levels of structural components on the environment and biological life; and (iii) investigating new methodologies to produce biologically-induced self-healing to prevent and repair durability failures and reduce environmental impact. The proposed facility consists of a cyclic corrosion test chamber, three temperature-controlled bath tanks and one multi-parameter water quality meter.

2012 USYD International Program Development Scheme Award
Title: Global Soil Carbon Dynamics
Investigators: Federico Maggi, Celine Pallud (University of California, Berkeley), William J. Riley (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
Description: With increasing population, and food, fiber, and water demand, land displacement for agriculture can lead to serious threats to soil nitrogen and carbon balance. In addition, the effect of land conversion and global soil change in response to climatic factors and anthropogenic forcing have large uncertainties in current land-surface models. The project aimed at proposing a modern approach to describe the dynamics of soil organic compounds and understand the long-term offset caused by increasing anthropogenic pressure.

2013 Biopower Pty Ltd supported research (ongoing since 2013)
Title: Experiments on a damped pitching cylinder in waves
Investigators: John Patterson, Tim Finnigan (Biopower), Francois Flocard (Biopower)
Description: Damped pitching cylinders represent a certain class of ocean wave energy converter. Previous research has shown that such systems exhibit ‘point-absorber’ behavior in intermediate depth wave conditions. For practical reasons, it is desirable to consider such systems for wave conditions approaching, or within, the shallow water regime. This project involves laboratory experiments on a model wave energy converter across a range of depths spanning intermediate to shallow water. 

2013 Australian Mathematical Science Institute (AMSI)
Title: Particle Removal Efficiency from Stormwater
Investigators: Federico Maggi, Leo Crasti (Water Technologies Pty Ltd)
Description: The aim of this project is to investigate the mechanisms that are responsible for the filtration of particles smaller than the screen aperture and to develop a method of modelling this unforeseen filtration potential.  Experiments and mathematical modelling will be used to identify the optimal functioning of the Tumblemate in that concern with flow rates, screen characteristics, and sediment type and concentration.

2013 FEIT Major Equipment Scheme
Title: FluidMaster System for 2D PIV and tracer LIF Temperature Measurements
Investigators: John Patterson and Chengwang Lei
Description: The purpose of this project was to establish a combined Planar Laser Induced Fluoresence (PLIF) and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) system in the Convection Lab for simultaneously mapping temperature and velocity fields. A two-colour PLIF and two-dimensional planar PIV were proposed.

2014 USYD International Research Collaboration Award
Title: Linking carbon exchange fluxes across the soil, canopy and atmosphere continuum
Investigators: Federico Maggi, Silvano Fares (National Research Council for Agriculture, CRA, Rome, Italy)
Description: The overall aims were: (1) develop the first mechanistic modelling framework that integrates the physical, chemical and biological processes responsible for soil C turnover and physiological C emission from plant canopy; and (2) validate the integrated model with experimental data available from the research sites in Mediterranean climates. The proposed soil-plant-atmosphere mechanistic model is unique for its mechanistic nature and the depth of process representation.

2015 USYD International Research Collaboration Award
Title: Schlieren image-based quantitative temperature measurement in natural convection boundary layers
Investigators: Chengwang Lei and Qian Wang (Shanghai Jiao Tong University)
Description: Resolving the temperature structures in natural convection boundary layers is important as they determine the rate of heat and mass transfer in many domestic and industrial processes. Direct temperature measurement in thermal boundary layers is very challenging due to the small thicknesses of thermal boundary layers. The purpose of this project is to develop a totally non-intrusive quantitative technique for mapping two-dimensional temperature fields in thermal boundary layers.

2015 Faculty Staff Grant
Title: Role of entrainment in spreading pollutants in urban flows
Investigators: Kapil Chauhan
Description: Pollutant dispersion in urban boundary layer flows will be investigated through wind tunnel experiments. The tunnel floor will be covered with 3D printed roughness designed to simulate suburban and city landscapes with a plume of fog (tracer) to resemble the release of a pollutant. An array of parameters such as plume height, volume of fog released, temperature, and wind profile will be tested. Imaging techniques will provide quantitative estimates for the spread and concentration of tracer at downstream locations. The results will be of value to dispersion modelling in atmospheric flow simulations and provide insights into entrainment over rough surfaces.

PhD and MPhil Opportunities