Mission and Vision


This PIRE center focuses on multiphase flows and technologies and brings together two U.S. universitites with six French and five Japanese institutions. Multiphase flows are flowing streams of fluids that are mixtures of liquids with other liquid, gases, and/or solids; examples include oil and water with surfactants as in oil spills (liquid/liquid), bubbles of air in glass melts (liquid/gas), or slurries of suspensions in drug formulations (liquid/solid). Multiphase flows and their control play a vital role in many key technologies impacting the world economy, such as metallurgy, mineralogy, materials processing, devices for biological applications, and the automobile, pharmaceutical, aerospace, and energy industries. This project will advance materials engineering by investingating critical research challenges in multilphase flows – understanding and prediction the patterens, instabilities, and turbulence that arise – to develop and optimize materials and processes for industry. The PIRE team will integrate the results from across a related sets of experiments, including study of patterned flows and microfluidic mixing to improve micro-chip immunological assays; use of microactuators and microsensors to study instabilities and turbulence in multiphase systems, use of microgravity conditions to examine the role of fluid instabilities, experimental and computational study of dynamic flow of elongated particles/fibers, and expansion of current models of dispersed turbulent flow via large-scale simulation.

International collaboration is essential to advancing our understanding of multiphase flows. Complex and multi-phase flow research requires high speed computation and high-level laboratory experimentation in which all three PIRE partner countries have substantial complementary resources. The University of Florida (UF) is internationally recognized for its programs in multiphase thermo-fluid mechanics and flow control. Both Japan and France sustain strong research emphases in thermal-fluid mechanics with key centers of excellence in multiphase flow. Japan emphasizes technology in areas such as materials science, microgravity science, bioassays and aeropropulsion while France emphasizes technology in nuclear energy, environment, bio-sensors, and flow control. This award leverages strong existing research collaborations and reciprocated access for U.S. scientists and students to facilities and expertise not available in the U.S. The international collaboration will also help industries in all three countries to engage highly-trained personnel in fields involving applications of multiphase science and technologies.

The strength of this PIRE’s educational program is its plan to train U.S. students as global professionals with versatility in professional abilities and attitudes that make them competitive in the global marketplace. U.S. graduate students will be supported to work in an international setting with foreign collaborators and advisors, functioning and communicating in a multi-cultural atmosphere. Unique educational opportunities include industry-relevant short courses, training in cutting-edge research, cultural awareness workshops, and international symposia and conferences. Internships in industrial research laboratories will give them access to networking opportunities with industry within an international context. Active recruitment of students from underrepresented groups will contribute to diversifying and internationalizing the body of U.S. students earning STEM graduate degrees. A certificate program in Multiphase Science and Technology will be developed and offered through online distance learning modules, thus making it available to international partners and their students, interested students at other U.S. universities, and as continuing education for industrial partners. U.S. researchers will also build skill sets needed for research in international contexts via cross-collaboration with international partners and co-advising foreign students.  The project’s chief outcome is



This PIRE project will have significant institutional impacts. It will strengthen and internationalize research networks that address complicated multiphase technological problems. The vision is to build up an international engineering research center of excellence in complex fluids and multiphase flows with partnerships between international industry and academe that yield long-term benefit to the U.S. economy. Such partnerships will also encourage industry participation in education, international research cooperation, and student internships. The partner institutions are committed to exploring joint and dual degree programs, which would further internationalize the U.S. institutions and enrich collaborative opportunities for future students and faculty alike. Through these multifaceted initiatives and activities, this PIRE project will serve as a model for both U.S. and international partner institutions as they work to internationalize their own research and education portfolios.