Prof. Tobias Schneider awarded ERC Consolidator Grant

© A. Herzog / EPFL

© A. Herzog / EPFL

Professor Tobias Schneider from EPFL’s School of Engineering, has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant for his project “PERTURB”. These highly prestigious grants are designed to support outstanding researchers who have a solid track record and a top-notch research project.

For his project “PERTURB”, he will work on using periodic orbits to quantitatively describe and control 3D fluid turbulence. “Fluid turbulence is key in many engineering problems but its understanding is incomplete. Having more control over turbulent flows would lead to significant efficiencies for industrial applications”, said the tenure-track assistant professor who runs the Emergent Complexity in Physical Systems Laboratory (ECPS) from the Institute of Mechanical Engineering. “Turbulent flows have fascinated researchers for a long time and turbulent fluid flows motivated much of the development of nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory in the 20th century. We combine nonlinear dynamics concepts with modern computational tools. Taking advantage of the ever increasing power of modern high-performance computers we develop novel algorithms to construct the fundamental building blocks underlying turbulent dynamics. These building blocks are special solutions of the nonlinear flow equations that cannot be found by flow simulations or experiments but allow to quantitatively describe turbulence with all its properties”.

Technically, Schneider will construct large sets of unstable non-chaotic and time-periodic solutions of the Navier-Stokes equations. Using periodic orbit theory, these periodic solutions will provide a quantitative description of turbulence similar to a statistical mechanics description of thermalized equilibrium systems.

The grant Prof. Tobias Schneider will receive provides him and his team with the resources necessary to make significant progress towards a mechanistic description of turbulence “The better we understand the mechanism underlying fluid turbulence, the better we can control flows. Fundamental understanding is thus not to the only goal, but eventually we want to use our fundamental understanding to control turbulences in practically relevant applications”.