Prof. David P. Schmidt
Associate Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
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Fluid Dynamics at UMass

Power is fundamental to the existance of modern society. Without power, you couldn't be reading this web page, for example. However, the environmental consequences of our current methods of power generation are unsustainable. I seek to improve the performance and reduce the emissions of modern power systems by better understanding of the fuel/air mixing.

My areas of research include sprays, cavitation, and other multiphase flows. These studies combine the intellectual challenge of multiple phenomena interacting at multiple scales, and provide the long-term benefits to society of cleaner and more efficient power. For diesel and jet engines, the spray quality has a tremendous impact on the emissions. I also simulate sprays in rockets, where we have great difficulty predicting and controlling the combustion process.

Diesel fuel injection is especially interesting because it combines cavitation with sprays. The fuel injector nozzles are usually cavitating, as they move at speeds approaching Mach 1. This cavitation process enhances the liquid atomization, but makes the connection between the nozzles and the spray very complicated.

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