Reilly Professor of Fluid Mechanics
Fluid mechanics of small-scale flows (drops and ink jets); surfactant and polymer effects; electro-separations & analysis; pattern formation; computation (finite elements); high-speed visualization
- B.S. Massachusetts Insititute of Technology, 1978
- Ph.D University of Minnesota, 1984
Motivated by applications in ink jet printing, separations, production of emulsions, dispersions, and double-emulsions, and drop-wise manufacturing, Prof. Basaran's research involves the use of a balanced approach based on computation, theory, and experiment to attack a number of fundamental issues that lie at the heart of such practical problems. Currently, the research is organized along the following key themes.
- Analysis of pinch-off singularities. Scaling theories, high-accuracy computation, and ultra high-speed visualization are being used to probe the fluid physics of interface breakup in situations where drops contain surfactant or polymer, the fluid surrounding the drop is dynamically active, and electric fields may be present.
- Microfluidics. Computation and experimentation are being used to develop and probe the fundamental fluid physics of novel drop-on-demand (DOD) ink jet printing methodologies, two-fluid microfluidic drop generators, and capillary switches. Analysis of electrically-driven separations and analysis phenomena that take advantage of small drops produced in such devices is of particular interest.
- Dripping or leaky faucets. When a sequence of drops is formed from a nozzle, the underlying dynamics can be highly nonlinear and even chaotic. Uncovering such complex dripping phenomena has both fundamental and practical consequences, and is therefore actively pursued in our program.
- Drop impact. The collision of drops with solid surfaces and other drops is also of great interest in many scientific and technological areas. We are currently pursuing situations of interest in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products.
- Pattern formation. We are investigating through theory (domain perturbation analysis), computation and experiment the formation of micro- and nano-scale patterns by using externally applied electric fields.
- Computations. Although we are currently involved in a number of activities, a dominant objective is to develop strategies for combining finite element computations with other methods to create fast but accurate hybrid algorithms.
- Experiments. Developing and implementing ultra high-speed imaging tools is one of the main activities that is currently occupying the bulk of our attention. Whereas most high-speed imaging approaches commonly used entail capturing multiple images at rates of 10,000 to 100,000 frames per second but at reduced resolution , we use ultra high-speed imaging and capture multiple images at rates up to 100 million frames per second at full resolution. Ongoing efforts include increasing the number of frames captured by ten-fold while still achieving in excess of million frames per second and improving spatial resolution.