Computer researcher goes with the flow … and wins!


22 Jul 2008

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A Mayo-born student has been recognised at international level for his work in the field of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), which has the potential to be used in the development of renewable energy and medical implant technology.

National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway student, Ruairi Nestor (pictured), received the Libersky Prize for the best research paper by a student at the 2008 SPHERIC International Workshop in Lausanne, Switzerland today.

CFD is a set of techniques for accurate computer simulations of the flow of gases and liquids. The technology is central to the design of systems from airliners to medical devices.

Nestor’s work is the latest stage in a project by a team of NUI Galway researchers who are developing new CFD methods with the potential to simulate ever more complex systems.

The research involves the development of mathematical methods which are then built into new software, and is being carried out in the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science.

“The techniques we are developing have the potential to improve the design of flow devices such as artificial heart valves or wave energy converters,” says Nestor, who previously secured an Embark Postgraduate Scholarship operated by the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology.

SPHERIC is a worldwide organisation of academic and industrial research groups working on a ‘mesh-free’ method for the computational simulation of mechanical processes called smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH). Its goal is to foster the spread of this simulation method within Europe and beyond. Originally developed for astrophysics, SPH is now widely used in engineering fluid dynamics.

By Sorcha Corcoran

Pictured: NUI Galway student, Ruairi Nestor, who received the Libersky Prize for the best research paper by a student at the 2008 SPHERIC International Workshop in Lausanne, Switzerland