Flow Physics and Engineering Lab
Donghyun You (Mechanical Engineering)
Fluids are substances that flow like liquid or gas and can be found all around us in our daily lives. They take wide-ranging forms, from the wind that blows and air dynamics surrounding a car to the wake a ship makes in passing or the blood that pulses through the human body. Indeed, fluids play an essential role in a myriad of functions, including but not limited to the fields of automobiles, airplanes, wind power generation, manufacturing, meteorology and biology.
The Flow Physics and Engineering Lab led by Professor DongHyun You at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, POSTECH, analyzes the physical properties of fluids through computer simulations and experiments and applies the outcomes to resolve engineering issues. Research on how to fabricate more aerodynamic air-powered airplanes or how to improve blood circulation is all related with fluid mechanics which ultimately aims to fully understand the innerworkings of fluids.
Some of the endeavors of the Lab have been to predict red blood cell movement in blood and study turbines that are mounted on generators and propulsion systems. Recently, researchers at the Lab have been working to enable wind power generators to manipulate the angle of the blades or the angle to which they face the wind to align with the direction or velocity of the wind. To this end, a programmable wind tunnel was fabricated from 100 computer fans to create the precise flow of wind the researchers sought to achieve. “This is the only such equipment available in Korea, and there are only two wind tunnels of comparable size in the world”, Professor You proudly commented.
Another area of research combines artificial neural network technology with computational analysis and experimentation. The aim here is to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to predict the unidentified fluids that will flow in the future. “A drone becomes useless if there is a strong gust of wind or in the midst of extreme weather conditions. If we are able to predict the flow of fluidic air, it can be applied to numerous industrial sectors”, Professor You mentioned. The Lab has harnessed AI technology to interpret data on historical typhoons to predict the course and intensity of incoming typhoons.
The reason for Professor You’s particular interest in fluid mechanics is due to the fact that there is one single governing equation in the field of fluid mechanics. “While fluid mechanics is the most well-established discipline, its inability to solve the governing equation, which is one of the seven unsolved problems in mathematics, has provided us no alternative to computational analysis or experimentation”, Professor You stated. In fact, Professor You believes that the application of an artificial neural network known for its strength in identifying nonlinear problems will, to a certain extent, contribute to finding solutions to this unsolved problem.
Head of Lab
Mechanical Engineering Laboratories Building 306