Jewell’s Bunton receives NSF grant


Dr. Patrick Bunton, William Jewell College professor of physics, will start a three-year project in fluid dynamics thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

The nearly $180,000 grant from the NSF’s Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems will fund a project titled “Fluid Instabilities in Sediment-laden Stratified Fluids in Hele-Shaw Cells.” The project will suspend a layer of fresh water containing controlled sediment above a layer of salt water in a narrow gap between two vertical glass plates. Using this experiment setup, flow instabilities will be observed and imaged with sensitive equipment. Combining the experimental observations with computations also performed at Jewell will improve the understanding of how particle sedimentation triggers instabilities, as well as how to predict when and what instabilities occur. 

This project additionally offers undergraduate research opportunities in fluid dynamics, with potential applications in pollution transport, filtration, hydraulic fracturing, and transport of viruses and bacteria.