Research Specialty Area:
Thermal & Fluid Science
The drop tower is a research device used to simulate the weightlessness of outer space. We say that during a test, the experiment experiences 0 g (“zero g”).
The absence of gravity changes the way some materials, especially fluids, behave. Scientifically, it is interesting to be able to simulate the conditions in space and use the brief “free fall” period to increase our understanding of physics.
As a practical (i.e. engineering) matter, understanding how fluids behave in space is very important for fuel and life support systems on satellites, space stations, etc.
The Green Building Research Lab (GBRL) conducts research to improve the sustainability of built environments. Core areas focus on human-building interactions, including the intersection indoor and urban environmental quality, human exposure to air pollution, of building energy use.
The GBRL houses extensive facilities for both fundamental research and applied measurements. This includes equipment for both laboratory and field use under these five fundamental categories:
- Indoor environmental quality measurement and data logging capabilities;
- Computational resources for building energy, internal/external CFD and urban climate modeling;
- Energy performance measurements & logging for equipment and buildings; and
- Fundamental thermal property (conductivity, emissivity, reflectivity, and transmissivity) characterization of building materials.
- Infrared instruments for envelope thermal performance and moisture assessments
Research in the Microscale Laboratory focuses on fundamental fluid mechanics at the microscale, novel materials for microfluidic devices, optical and fluid manipulation of cells, and non-Newtonian fluid mechanics.
Research projects have included velocity measurements at the moving contact line with unprecedented resolution, the development of microfluidic channels with porous silk structures, the study of single cells optically trapped in microfluidic flows, the passive separation of fluids and particles from the increased effects of surfaceforces at the microscale, and rheological studies of polymer solutions.
At Portland State University, the Wind Energy and Turbulence Lab targets to answer questions dealing with fluids in the turbulent regime. A large portion of the efforts has been placed in understanding flows pertaining to wind energy, volcanic eruptions and forests to name a few.
Elucidating mechanisms in the interactions between the flow and these systems allows for the possibility of answering relevant questions as well as understanding these systems as a whole. Flow are scaled and studied in a wind tunnel setting via the use of laser-based techniques.