Experimental Investigation of Collision Statistics of Aerosols

a particle tracking instrument that looks like a soccer ball.

Our one-of-a-kind "Soccer Ball" homogeneous isotropic turbulence flow facility with laser tomographic particle tracking instrument

Highly motivated students will assist in novel research into the statistics of aerosols in a unique flow-chamber through experiments using state-of-the-art high-speed lasers, high-speed tomography, and development of laboratory apparatus.

Project description

The study of turbulence-enhanced inertial particle collision in isotropic turbulence could improve our understanding and modeling of many particle-laden turbulent flows in nature. For example, it has recently been widely accepted that turbulence is a major factor of driving the extremely rapid growth of water droplets in the atmosphere with radius in the "size gap", from 10 to 50 microns, for which the well-known droplet growth mechanisms, condensation and gravitational collision-coalescence could explain.

In this research, we are pushing the boundaries of what is experimentally measurable in the most basic turbulent flow, isotropic turbulence, in order to uncover new phenomena that drives collisions of particles in turbulence. This requires the development of experimental tools to observe the position and motion of particles in the turbulent flow at extremely close separation distances, down to near-contact. Further, experiments must be performed at well-planned particle and turbulence conditions to describe the mechanisms under interrogation.

Currently, we are investigating the effects of hydrodynamics on particle collision in turbulence, a mechanism only observable near-contact, which drastically affects the propensity for particle collisions, in collaboration with Duke University.

Project outcome

By participating in this project, the assistant will acquire training in a hands-on laboratory setting by assisting in the development and carry-out of experiments, as well as being trained in critical thinking and the scientific method to potentially develop a research project of their own.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment About a semester (3-5 months)
Start time Spring (January/February), Summer (May/June)
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration Individual student project
Benefits Opportunity to apply for Zimmer Scholarship
Who is eligible
Engineering majors in their sophomore, junior, or senior year

Core partners

  • Adam Hammond, PhD candidate

Project mentor

Hui Meng


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Phone: (716) 645-9173

Email: huimeng@buffalo.edu

Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Read publications that this research is built upon: 
    • Holographic defection imaging measurement of electric charge on aerosol particles
    • Particle-pair relative velocity measurement in high-Reynolds-number homogeneous and isotropic turbulence using 4-frame particle tracking velocimetry
    • Experimental and numerical investigation of inertial particle clustering in isotropic turbulence


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering