Year of selection 2009
Institution Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Predicting how mayonnaise will spread on an inclined surface is extremely difficult. This may not seem of serious concern to you, but it actually illustrates our imperfect knowledge of the physics of complex fluid flows, which also applies to debris flows, torrential floods and snow avalanches.
To learn more about these processes, Dr. Sébastien Wiederseiner is carrying out laboratory experiments using mixtures of fluids and beads and analyzing them with advanced visualization methods. He is studying how heterogeneous mixtures behave—a matter of intense debate. The answer to this question is crucial for the development of predictive models, which are to date based on speculative theories. The aim of Dr. Wiederseiner is to develop more relevant models that may be used by local authorities in charge of land settlement in potentially hazardous areas.
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