Multiphase Flow Simulations That Answer Real-World Problems

Hannah Hull
September, 2022

Some experiments are too dangerous or costly to perform with real materials, so creating realistic simulations to test new hypotheses is immeasurably helpful for the scientific community. Dr. Mark Sussman is an FSU professor and researcher who designs algorithms for multiphase flow simulations. Sussman and his colleagues are currently simulating solutions for topics such as hurricane strength, turbine engine overheating and cryogenic fuel for space travel.

Multiphase flow simulations map out the fluid mechanics of solids, liquids and gasses at the different phases they progress through. By placing virtual fluids in a computerized box, Sussman uses his algorithms to predict how the fluids behave in different circumstances. Issues of large physical scale, such as hurricanes, present a challenge to researchers trying to scale it down to a molecular level. This means capturing all of the natural phenomena surrounding these complex questions is key to an accurate simulation, which requires supercomputing resources such as the RCC High Performance Computing Cluster.

“Experiment is the best way to answer these problems,” states Sussman. “I think simulation has its place—and definitely the more powerful the computer the better—so we're using the [RCC] supercomputer for this.”

These direct numerical simulations require many grid points to create an accurate model of the fluid predictions. The RCC’s ability to run 10-20 jobs simultaneously per node speeds up the process of creating these simulations.

“These are hard problems, but I like to think that by studying these problems it might inspire someone to look at [them] and come up with a good idea I haven't even thought about.”