Research Themes

The PIRE center’s research and education alliance focuses on the science and technology of multi-phase flows and their control. As described below, France and Japan have strong and sustained efforts in thermal-fluid mechanics. Japan’s investment has stressed technology-based research such as materials science, microgravity science and aero propulsion while France, which has traditionally stressed fundamental science, has recently emphasized technology in the fields of nuclear energy, environment, drug delivery, bio-sensors and flow control.


The first area of joint research is in the field of micro-fluidics where applications abound in bio-sensors. Micro-fluidics and control of micro-mixing at the University of Florida under the direction of Hugh Fan along with the bio sensor laboratories of the Univ of Tokyo, where the expertise on chip-based sensing will be provided, will generate a synergistic environment for the advancement of biosensor and biological assays applications.

The second area of joint research is on flow control in multiphase fluids and flow separation instability. This effort is led by Lou Cattafesta and Prof F. Alvi of Florida State University in collaboration with partners from Tohoku University, Japan and University of Poitiers, France. The key reasons for this collaboration are the direct application to microfluidics and flow separation in aerospace and automotive technologies. The international laboratories will provide much needed support via plasma and pneumatic control laboratories and wind tunnel diagnostics. The Florida Center for Advanced Aero Propulsion (FCAAP) will leverage the efforts of the investigators.

A third area of joint research is in particulate and suspension fluids science and technology. This research is headed by J. Curtis and J. Butler in collaboration with the Univ. de Provence in France and Japanese scientists at Kyoto University. The key technology areas range from flow dynamics in general processing environments such as mineralogy, pharmaceuticals, and energy industries to microfluidic applications. The complex and multi-phase flow aspects involve high speed computations and experiments in which all three partner countries have substantial resources. The outstanding facilities of the partner country laboratories for suspension flow visualization in France and controlled electric charged particulates in Kyoto will be crucial for both parties to tackle particle fluid interaction problems.

The fourth field is in interfacial instabilities and in turbulence of multi-phase flows.  International collaborators will come from France and Japan. Japanese laboratories will provide microgravity facilities such as parabolic flights to determine the effect of interfacial forces. These problems connect to space enabling technologies. The French collaborations will take place with the Institut de Mecanique des Fluides (IMFT) in Toulouse, the University Paris 11 and University Lille, where experiments will range from turbulent structures with particles to pattern formation in phase change processes in micro geometries.  Partnering the investigators, R. Narayanan and S. Balachandar, with these institutes will provide much needed experimental confirmation of nonlinear theories.