submitted for publication

An adjoint Green's function approach for thermoacoustic instabilities in a duct with mean flow

J. Wei; S. Arabi; J. O. Pralits; A. Bottaro & M. A. Heckl
Journal of Sound and Vibration, 2024


Thermoacoustic instability, a crucial concern in power generation and aeroengine industries, arises due to feedback between the acoustic field and the heat released in a burner, causing self-sustained oscillations. This work introduces a powerful framework for modeling and predicting thermoacoustic instabilities based on an adjoint Green's function (AGF) approach. The versatility of the AGF approach is demonstrated by applying it to a Rijke tube and a quarter-wave resonator with different acoustic boundary conditions. The control parameters include the heat source position, the heater power, and the tube length. The thermoacoustic system examined is one-dimensional and it includes a steady uniform mean flow and a nonlinear heat source characterized by an amplitude-dependent time-delay heat release model. The results reveal that the AGF approach successfully captures the limit cycles, triggering phenomena, hysteresis, and Hopf bifurcations observed in experiments. It is shown that increasing the mean flow velocity is generally stabilizing, with a modification of the bistability characteristics of the system.

Engineered small-diameter vascular prostheses: a study in bioreactor

P.F. Ferrari, G. De Negri Atanasio, J.O. Pralits, D. Di Lisa, L. Pastorino, D. Palombo & P. Perego
Biomaterials Science, 2024


Vascular tissue engineering endeavors to design, fabricate, and validate biodegradable and bioabsorbable small-diameter vascular scaffolds engineered with bioactive molecules, capable of meeting the challenges imposed by commercial vascular prostheses. A comprehensive investigation of these engineered scaffolds in bioreactor is deemed essential as a prerequisite before any in vivo experimentation in order to get information regarding their behavior under physiological conditions and predict the biological activities they will possess. This study focuses on an innovative electrospun scaffold made of poly(caprolactone) and poly(glycerol sebacate), integrating quercetin, able to modulate inflammation, and gelatin, necessary to reduce permeability. A custom-made bioreactor was used to assess the performances of the scaffolds maintained under different pressure regimes, covering the human physiological pressure range. As results, the 3D microfibrous architecture was notably influenced by the release of bioactives, maintaining the adequate properties needed for the in vivo regeneration and scaffolds showed mechanical properties similar to human native artery. Release of gelatin was adequate to avoid blood leakage and useful to make the material porous during the testing period, whereas the amount of released quercetin was useful to counteract the post-surgery inflammation. This study showcases the successful validation of an engineered scaffold in a bioreactor, enabling to consider it as a promising candidate for vascular substitutes in in vivo applications. Our approach represents a significant leap forward in the field of vascular tissue engineering, offering a multifaceted solution to the complex challenges associated with small-diameter vascular prostheses.

journal publications, books and magazines

Stability of turbine-like boundary layers under variable Reynolds number and pressure gradient

Dotto, Luzzi, Verdoya, Simoni, Hanifi & Pralits
Physics of Fluids, Vol. 36, 034116, doi 10.1063/5.0188024, 2024


The free-stream turbulence induced transition occurring in turbine-like flows is investigated employing linear stability theory and compared with experimental data. Measurements were performed over a flat plate in a test section allowing for the Reynolds number and pressure gradient variation. A test matrix spanning three different Reynolds and four different pressure gradients under high turbulence intensity was investigated to model conditions typically occurring on turbomachinery low-pressure turbine blades. Pressure measurements and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurements were used to characterize the base flow on a wall-normal plane. Additionally, PIV allowed to detect the spanwise wave number of streaky structures on a wall-parallel plane. A boundary layer solver was first employed to compute base flows from the flat plate leading edge. Successively, a linear stability analysis was performed on the numerical base flows using an adjoint optimization method, and the optimal disturbances were compared with experimental data. Overall, good agreement is found between the linear stability results and the experimentally surveyed perturbations in the transitional region. The sensitivity of the disturbance transient spatial growth is assessed as a function of the spanwise wavenumber, the initial and the final location where the energy of perturbation is maximized. Interestingly, the optimal initial position that maximizes the energy growth of disturbances is close to the geometrical throat of the test section, where minimum pressure occurs for all flow conditions.

On rotor-stator emulsification in the turbulent inertial regime: Experiments towards a robust correlation for the droplet size

Campardelli, De Negri Atanasio, Carotenuto, Griffo, Nabil Ahmed, Corrales González, Tuju, Wei, Mazzino & Pralits
Langmuir, Vol 39 (50), pp. 18518–1852 2023
[abstract] [article]


The Sauter mean diameter, d32, is a representative parameter in emulsions that indicates the averaged size of oil droplets once the emulsion becomes stable. Several mathematical and physical approaches have been employed in the literature to seek expressions for d32 under different conditions. The present work sheds light on this rich literature, and emphasizes that characterization of emulsions is still a fertile field for investigation. In this paper, a new Π-theorem-based model to predict the normalized Sauter mean diameter for the specific case of rotor-stator emulsification is sought by applying a multiple regression analysis on experimental data of oil-in-water (O-W) emulsions produced using three different oils: paraffin, soybean oil, and isopropyl myristate, at different O-W ratios and rotor speeds. The proposed model quantifies the roles of the viscous, the inertial, and the interfacial tension forces, besides the O-W ratio, in the emulsification process within the turbulent inertial subrange. The developed empirical correlation is then contrasted with relevant literature models for reliability assessment; predictions of the present explicit model are proved to be more accurate for the fluid properties and the experimental conditions under study.

On the comparison between pre- and post-surgery nasal anatomies via computational fluid dynamics

E. Segalerba, G. Dini Ciacci, M. Quadrio & J.O. Pralits
Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology, 2023
[abstract] [article]


Purpose: Nasal breathing difficulties (NBD) are widespread and dif- ficult to diagnose; the failure rate of their surgical corrections is high. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) enables diagnosis of NBD and surgery planning, by comparing a pre-operative (pre-op) situation with the outcome of virtual surgery (post-op). An equivalent comparison is involved when considering distinct anatomies in the search for the functionally normal nose. Currently, this comparison is carried out in more than one way, under the implicit assumption that results are unchanged. The study describes how to set up a meaningful comparison.
Methods: A pre-op anatomy, derived via segmentation from a CT scan, is compared with a post-op anatomy obtained via virtual surgery. State-of-the-art numerical simulations compute the flow for a steady inspiration, under three types of global constraints, derived from the field of turbulent flow control. A constant pressure drop (CPG) between external ambient and throat, a constant flow rate (CFR) through the airways and a constant power input (CPI) from the lungs can be enforced.
Results: A significant difference in the quantities of interest is observed when the type of flow forcing is varied. Global quantities (flow rate, pressure drop, nasal resistance) as well as local ones are affected.
Conclusions: The type of flow forcing affects the outcome of the comparison between pre-op and post-op anatomies. Among the three available forcings, we argue that CPG is the least ade- quate. Arguments favouring either CFR or CPI are presented.

Optimization of patient positioning for improved healing after corneal transplantation

Bennett, Alberti, Quadrio & Pralits
Journal of Biomechanics, 2023
[abstract] [article]


Corneal transplantation is the only solution which avoids loss of vision, when endothelial cells are dramatically lost. The surgery involves injecting gas into the anterior chamber of the eye, to create a bubble that pushes onto the donor cornea (graft), achieving sutureless adherence to the host cornea. During the postoperative period, patient positioning affects the bubble. To improve healing, we study the shape of the gas-bubble interface throughout the postoperative period, by numerically solving the equations of fluid motion. Patient-specific anterior chambers (ACs) of variable anterior chamber depths (ACD) are considered, for either phakic (with natural lens) and pseudophakic (with artificial lens) eyes. For each AC, gas-graft coverage is computed for different gas fill and patient positioning. The results show that the influence of positioning is negligible, regardless of gas filling, as long as the ACD is small. However, when the ACD value increases, patient positioning becomes important, especially for pseudophakic ACs. The difference between best and worst patient positioning over time, for each AC, is negligible for small ACD but significant for larger ACD, especially for pseudophakic eyes, where guidelines for optimal positioning become essential. Finally, mapping of the bubble position highlights the importance of patient positioning for an even gas-graft coverage.

Effects of Upstream Wakes on the Boundary Layer Over a Low-Pressure Turbine Blade

L. De Vincentiis, K. Ðurović, D. Lengani, D. Simoni, J.O. Pralits, D.S. Henningson & A. Hanifi
Journal of Turbomachinery, 2023
[abstract] [pdf]


In the present work, the evolution of the boundary layer over a low-pressure turbine blade is studied using direct numerical simulations, with the aim of investigating the unsteady flow field induced by the rotor-stator interaction. The freestream flow is characterized by the high level of freestream turbulence and periodically impinging wakes. As in the experiments, the wakes are shed by moving bars modeling the rotor blades and placed upstream of the turbine blades. To include the presence of the wake without employing an ad-hoc model, we simulate both the moving bars and the stationary blades in their respective frames of reference and the coupling of the two domains is done through appropriate boundary conditions. The presence of the wake mainly affects the development of the boundary layer on the suction side of the blade. In particular, the flow separation in the rear part of the blade is suppressed. Moreover, the presence of the wake introduces alternating regions in the streamwise direction of high- and low-velocity fluctuations inside the boundary layer. These fluctuations are responsible for significant variations of the shear stress. The analysis of the velocity fields allows the characterization of the streaky structures forced in the boundary layer by turbulence carried by upstream wakes. The breakdown events are observed once positive streamwise velocity fluctuations reach the end of the blade. Both the fluctuations induced by the migration of the wake in the blade passage and the presence of the streaks contribute to high values of the disturbance velocity inside the boundary layer with respect to a steady inflow case. The amplification of the boundary layer disturbances associated with different spanwise wavenumbers has been computed. It was found that the migration of the wake in the blade passage stands for the most part of the perturbations with zero spanwise wavenumber. The non-zero wavenumbers are found to be amplified in the rear part of the blade at the boundary between the low- and high-speed regions associated with the wakes.

A simple mathematical model of retinal reattachment after scleral buckling

Kheirandish, Repetto, Romano, Alishahi, Golneshan, Abouali & Pralits
Journal of Fluids and Structures, 2022
[abstract] [pdf]


Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) is a dangerous pathological condition that can lead to blindness and requires surgical treatment. Scleral buckling is a surgical technique that has been in use for many years to repair RRD. It consists in the application of a piece of silicone on the outer surface of the sclera, that pushes the eye wall inwards and modifies its curvature in correspondence of the retinal tear. It is observed that this facilitates retinal reattachment. Various authors speculated that basic principles of fluid mechanics can be invoked to explain the reattachment process, though a convincing explanation of the mechanics underlying the process is still elusive. In this study, we propose an idealized two-dimensional model of a detached retina surrounded by liquefied vitreous and study its dynamics secondary to eye movements. This is done using an immersed boundary numerical code. The retinal flaps are modeled as slender one-dimensional elastic bodies, one extremity of which is clamped on the retinal wall. For simplicity we model the retina as a rigid, flat wall. We account for the presence of scleral buckling by inserting a wall bump underneath the detached filaments. We show that the dynamics of the detached filaments is very complicated and that the presence of a buckle significantly contributes to reduce the time averaged distance between the detached filaments and the wall, thus facilitating reattachment. The mechanisms involved are inherently associated with the dynamics of the filament.

A procedure for computing the spot production rate in transitional boundary layers

Dellacasagrande, Lengani, Simoni, Pralits, Durovic, Hanifi & Henningson
Experiments in Fluids, Vol. 63, doi 10.10.1007/s00348-022-03485-8, 2022
[abstract] [article]


The present work describes a method for the computation of the nucleation rate of turbulent spots in transitional boundary layers from particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements. Different detection functions for turbulent events recognition were first tested and validated using data from direct numerical simulation, and this latter describes a flat-plate boundary layer under zero pressure gradient. The comparison with a previously defined function adopted in the literature, which is based on the local spanwise wall-shear stress, clearly highlights the possibility of accurately predicting the statistical evolution of transition even when the near-wall velocity field is not directly available from the measurements. The present procedure was systematically applied to PIV data collected in a wall-parallel measuring plane located inside a flat plate boundary layer evolving under variable Reynolds number, adverse pressure gradient (APG) and free-stream turbulence. The results presented in this work show that the present method allows capturing the statistical response of the transition process to the modification of the inlet flow conditions. The location of the maximum spot nucleation is shown to move upstream when increasing all the main flow parameters. Additionally, the transition region becomes shorter for higher Re and APG, whereas the turbulence level variation gives the opposite trend. The effects of the main flow parameters on the coefficients defining the analytic distribution of the nucleation rate and their link to the momentum thickness Reynolds number at the point of transition are discussed in the paper.

Unsteadiness and resolution effects in experimentally verified simulations of a spray drying process

Pralits, Atzori, Colli, Pettinato, Drago & Perego
Powder Technology, 2022
[abstract] [article]


In this work, time-resolved three-dimensional numerical simulations supported by laboratory experiments aim to provide complementary information in the study of the spray drying process, revealing pivotal details about the flow and particles dynamics, useful for process optimization. A drying model was implemented in the OpenFOAM open-source code and large-eddy simulations (LES) of the flow were performed on a BUCHI Mini-spray dryer using real working conditions and input parameters. The governing equations of the fluid flow were solved in a computational domain based on the complete three-dimensional geometry of the drying chamber in a Eulerian framework, while the two-stage droplet drying kinetics were solved in a Lagrangian framework. Experimental tests were carried out to collect information and to verify the model using calcium carbonate. The total product lost due to wall contamination is in relatively good agreement between the experimental and numerical results. This work involved simulating a realistic number of particles (10000 particles/s), higher than those commonly used. The simulation allowed to describe the average strong recirculation in the drying chamber and how it affected the particle distribution. This flow model explains the wide spread of the residence time of the particles, which was the most significant variable to influence the drying process when the temperature is mostly uniform in the domain. This study demonstrated that the simulation combined to experimental can be used to gain insight into how flow characteristics affect product quality, helping design new devices and products with greater efficiency.

On the receptivity of low-pressure turbine blades to external disturbances

Lengani, Simoni, Pralits, Durovic, De Vincentiis, Hanifi & Henningson
Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2022
[abstract] [article]


In the present work, the laminar-turbulent transition of the flow evolving around a low-pressure turbine blade has been investigated. Direct numerical simulations have been carried out for two different free-stream turbulence intensity levels (FSTI) to investigatethe role of free-stream oscillations on the evolution of the blade boundary layer. Emphasisis posed on identifying the mechanisms driving the formation and breakup of coherent structures in the high FSTI case and how these processes are affected by the leading-edge receptivity and/or by the continuous forcing in the blade passage. Proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) has been adopted to provide a clear statistical representation of the shape of the structures. Extended POD projections provided temporal and spanwise correlations that allowed us to identify dominant temporal structures and spanwise wavelengths in the transition process.The extended POD analysis shows that the structures on the pressure side are not related to what happens in the leading edge. The results on the suction side shows that leading edge and passage bases correlate with coherent structures responsible for the transition. However, the most energetic mode of the passage basis is strongly related tothe most amplified wavelength in the boundary layer and to breakup events leading to transition. Modes with a smaller spanwise wavelength belong to the band predicted by the optimal disturbance theory, they amplify with a smaller gain in the rear suction side, and they show the highest degree of correlation between the passage region and the rear suction side.

An Effective Mesh Deformation Approach for Hull Shape Design by Optimization

Villa, Furcas, Pralits, Vernengo & Gaggero
Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 2021
[abstract] [pdf]


A method for the morphing of surface/volume meshes suitable to be used in hydrodynamic shape optimization is proposed. Built in the OpenFOAM environment, it relies on a Laplace equation that propagates the modifications of the surface boundaries, realized by applying a Free-Form Deformation to a Subdivision Surface description of the geometry, into the computational volume mesh initially built through a combination of BlockMesh with cfMesh. The feasibility and robustness of this mesh morphing technique, used as a computationally efficient pre-processing tool, is demonstrated in the case of the resistance minimization of the DTC hull. All the hull variations generated within a relatively large design space were efficiently and successfully realized, i.e. without mesh inconsistencies and quality issues, only by deforming the initial mesh of the reference geometry. Coupled with a surrogate model approach, a significant reduction of the calm water resistance, in the extent of 10%, has been achieved in a reasonable computational time.

On the stability of the boundary layer at the bottom of propagating surface waves

Blondeaux, Pralits & Vittori
Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2021
[abstract] [article]


This study contributes to an improved understanding of the stability of the boundary layer generated at the bottom of a propagating surface wave characterized by a small but finite amplitude such that the steady streaming, which is superimposed to the main oscillatory flow, assumes significant values. A linear stability analysis of the laminar flow is made to determine the conditions leading to transition and turbulence appearance. The Reynolds number of the phenomenon is assumed to be large and a ’momentary’ criterion of stability is used. The results show that, at a given location, the laminar regime becomes unstable when the flow close to the bottom reverses its direction from the onshore to the offshore direction and the Reynolds number exceeds a first critical value Rδ,c1 which depends on the local water depth and the characteristics (period and amplitude) of the propagating surface wave. However, close to the critical condition, the flow is expected to relaminarize during the other phases of the cycle. Only when the Reynolds number is increased, turbulence tends to pervade a significant part of the wave cycle and to appear also after the passage of the wave trough when the flow close to the bottom reverses from the offshore to the onshore direction. When the Reynolds number is further increased and becomes larger than a second ’threshold’ value, the growth rate of the perturbations becomes positive over the entire wave period and turbulence is always present. The obtained results, along with the results described in Blondeaux & Vittori (2021), provide the existence of the four different flow regimes in the boundary layer under propagating surface waves: the laminar regime, the disturbed laminar regime, the intermittently turbulent regime and the fully developed turbulent regime.

Statistical characterization of free-stream turbulence induced transition under variable Reynolds number, free-stream turbulence and pressure gradient

Dellacasagrande, Lengani, Pralits, Simoni, Durovic, Hanifi & Henningson
Physics of fluids, Vol. 33(9), doi 10.1063/5.0063948, 2021
[abstract] [pdf]


In this work, the free-stream turbulence (FST) induced transition of a flat plate boundary layer is studied using particle image velocimetry (PIV) under variable Reynolds number (𝑅𝑒), FST intensity and adverse pressure gradient (APG). The streak spacing and the probability density function (PDF) of turbulent spot nucleation are computed for all cases. The quadrant analysis of fluctuating velocity is also performed in the transitional and the fully turbulent boundary layer. The streak spacing is shown to be constant in the transition region once 16 scaled with the turbulent displacement and momentum thickness, with resulting values of around 3 and 5, respectively. Nucleation events are shown to occur near the position where the dimensionless streak spacing reaches such a constant value. The FST intensity has the greatest influence on the location where most of nucleation events occur. Additionally, the PDF of spot nucleation becomes narrower at higher APG, while FST has the opposite effect. A common distribution of all the PDFs is provided as a function of a similarity variable accounting for streak spacing, shape factor of the boundary layer and FST intensity. Finally, the quadrant analysis shows that streamwise fluctuations dominate near the wall, whereas turbulence becomes more isotropic towards the edge of the boundary layer. At the highest Re and APG, positive and negative streamwise velocity fluctuations have the same probability at the mid-transition location. In the turbulent boundary layer, 𝑅𝑒 and APG promote the clockwise rotation of the joint PDF of fluctuating velocities, whereas FST has lower effects.

Free-stream turbulence induced boundary-layer transition in low-pressure turbines

Ðurović, De Vincentiis, Simoni, Lengani, Pralits, Henningson & Hanifi
Journal of Turbomachinery, 2021 (online), pp 1-15
[abstract] [pdf]


The aerodynamic efficiency of turbomachinery blades is pro- foundly affected by the occurrence of laminar-turbulent transi- tion in the boundary layer since skin friction and losses rise for the turbulent state. Depending on the free-stream turbulence level, we can identify different paths towards a turbulent state. The present study uses direct numerical simulation as the pri- mary tool to investigate the flow behaviour of the low-pressure turbine blade. The computational set-up was designed to follow the experiments by Lengani & Simoni [1]. In the simulations, the flow past only one blade is computed, with periodic boundary conditions in the cross-flow directions to account for the cascade. Isotropic homogeneous free-stream turbulence is prescribed at the inlet. The free-stream turbulence is prescribed as a superpo- sition of Fourier modes with a random phase shift. Two levels of the free-stream turbulence intensity were simulated (Tu = 0.19% and 5.2%), with the integral length scale being 0.167c, at the leading edge. We observed that in case of low free-stream turbu- lence on the suction side, the Kelvin–Helmholz instability dom- inated the transition process and full-span vortices were shed from the separation bubble. Transition on the suction side pro- ceeded more rapidly in the high-turbulence case, where streaks broke down into turbulent spots and caused bypass transition. On the pressure side, we have identified the appearance of longi- tudinal vortical structures, where increasing the turbulence level gives rise to more longitudinal structures. We note that these vortical structures are not produced by Görtler instability.

The role of endogenous proteins on the emulsification of Silicone oils used in vitreoretinal surgery

Nepita, Repetto, Pralits, Romano, Ravera, Santini & Liggieri
BioMed Research, 2020
[abstract] [pdf]


Background: Aim of the work is to achieve a chemico-physical characterisation of the interfacial properties between Silicone oils (SOs) and aqueous solutions, in the presence of surfactant biomolecules, possibly responsible for emulsion formation after vitrectomy. Methods: The interfacial tension (IT) and the interfacial dilational viscoelasticity (DV) were measured for the interface between SO (Siluron1000) and serum proteins (albumin and γ-globulins) at various concentrations in a Dulbecco alkaline buffer. Similar measurements were conducted on whole human blood serum (WHBS) solutions. The equilibrium IT value is relevant for the onset of emulsification and the DV influences the stability of an emulsion, once formed. The study is complemented by preliminary emulsification tests. Results: When proteins are dissolved in the aqueous solution, the rheological properties of the interface change. The IT decreases significantly for physiologically protein concentrations and the DV modulus achieves high values, even for small proteins concentrations. The emulsification tests confirm that, in the presence of proteins, emulsions are stable on the time scale of months. Conclusions: The measured values of IT in the presence of serum proteins are compatible with the promotion of droplets formation, which, in addition, are expected to be stable against coalescence, owing to the large values of the DV modulus. This is confirmed by the emulsification tests. Adsorption of biomolecules at the interface with the SO is, therefore, likely to play an important role in the generation of an emulsion. These findings are relevant to identify strategies to avoid or control the formation of emulsions in eyes.

La CFD come strumento predittivo in ambito sportivo per definire i Regolamenti Tecnici del futuro

Giachi, Guerrero & Pralits
In: Analisi e Calcolo, numero 96, Gen./Feb. 2020
ISSN 1128-3874

Gas-graft coverage after DMEK: a clinically validated numerical study

Pralits, Alberti & Cabrerizo
Translational Vision Science & Technology, Vol. 8(6), pp 1-14, 2019
[abstract] [pdf] [link]


Purpose: Optimal surgical use of gas in Descemets membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) is currently unknown. We investigate how positioning, gas fill and anterior chamber size influence bubble configuration and graft coverage.
Methods: We use a mathematical model to study the bubble shape and graft coverage in eyes of varying anterior chamber depths (ACD). The governing equations are solved numerically using the open source software OpenFOAM. Numerical results are validated clinically so that clinical gas fill measures can be correlated to numerical results providing gas-graft coverage information otherwise clinically inaccessible.
Results: In a phakic eye (ACD = 2.65 mm) with a gas fill of 35%, graft contact ranges 35%-38% depending on positioning and increases to 85%-92% with a 70% fill. In con- trast, positioning of a pseudophakic eye (ACD = 4.35) with a gas fill of 35% results in graft contact ranges 8%-52%, increasing to 63%-94% with a 70% fill. We present cover- age of grafts as a function of parameters that are available to aid clinicians with effective gas use. The differences between air and SF6 results are negligible. Interestingly, a very thin central patch of aqueous humour within the gas bubble is found in some cases.
Conclusions: Graft coverage in phakic eyes (ACD ≤ 3 mm) is dominated by the gas fill and less sensitive to patient positioning. In pseudophakic eyes with larger values of ACD, the graft coverage depends both on gas fill and patient positioning with positioning even more important as ACD increases.

Mathematical Models of Aqueous Production, Flow and Drainage

Dvoriashyna, Pralits, Tweedy & Repetto
In: Ocular Fluid Dynamics. Anatomy, Physiology, Imaging Techniques, and Mathematical Modeling , Springer-Birkhauser, New York, 2019
Editors: G. Guidoboni, A. Harris, R. Sacco.
ISBN 9783030258856

A mathematical model of corneal metabolism in the presence of an iris-fixated phakic intraocular lens

Davvalo Khongar, Pralits, Cheng, Pinsky, Soleri & Repetto
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci., Vol. 60, 2311-2320, 2019
[abstract] [pdf]


Purpose: Corneal endothelial cell loss is one of the possible complications associated with the phakic iris-fixated intraocular lenses (PIOL) implantation. We postulate that this might be connected to the alteration of corneal metabolism secondary to the lens implantation.
Methods: A mathematical model of transport and consumption/production of metabolic species in the cornea is proposed, coupled with a model of aqueous flow and transport of metabolic species in the anterior chamber.
Results: Results are presented both for open and closed eyelids. We show that in the presence of a PIOL glucose availability at the corneal endothelium decreases significantly during sleeping.
Conclusions: Implantation of a PIOL significantly affects nutrient transport processes to the corneal endothelium especially during sleeping. It must still be verified whether this finding has a clinical relevance.

Bulbous bow shape optimization using an open-source framework

Guerrero, Cominetti, Pralits & Villa
Mathematical and Computational Applications, Vol. 23(60), pp 1-25, 2018
[abstract] [pdf]


Shape optimization is a very time-consuming and expensive task, especially if experimental tests need to be performed. To overcome the challenges of geometry optimization, the industry is increasingly relying on numerical simulations. This kind of problems typically involves the interaction of three main applications: a solid modeler or shape morpher, a multi-physics solver, and an optimizer. In this manuscript, we present a shape optimization framework entirely based on open-source tools, where we take an initial geometry, and we manipulate it using the MiMMO library, the multi-physics simulations are performed using OpenFOAM, and the optimization loop is controlled with Dakota. To demonstrate the usability and flexibility of the proposed framework, we test it in a practical case related to the naval industry, where we aim at optimizing the shape of a bulbous bow in order to minimize the hydrodynamic resistance. To tackle this problem, we first validate the solver and calibrate the numerical model using a reference geometry for which experimental data are available. After having found the ideal mesh and solver parameters, we setup the optimization loop. As design variables, we consider the protrusion and immersion of the bulbous bow, and we use Surrogate- Based Optimization to minimize the hydrodynamic resistance. Additionally, we highlight the logic behind the choices made, we give a few guidelines on how to deal with some problematic issues encountered during the optimization loop (e.g., sampling, interpolation techniques, infilling, the effect of numerical noise), and we compare the output of the meta-model with the outcome of high-fidelity simulations.

A simple mathematical model of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment

Natali, Repetto, Tweedy, Williamson & Pralits
Journal of Fluids and Structures Vol. 82, pp 245-257, 2018
[abstract] [pdf] Natali, Repetto, Tweedy, Williamson & Pralits


The conditions under which rhegmatogenous retinal detachment occurs are poorly understood, which hampers the success rates of surgery. Fluid dy- namical effects play a major role, and in this paper we analyse the tendency for the retina to detach further in both the case of a free flap giant reti- nal tear (GRT) and in the case of a retinal hole (RH). For this purpose we use a mathematical model to investigate the interaction between the fluid flow and the detached retina during saccadic eye movements. The governing equations are solved numerically using a code developed ad hoc. An idealised two-dimensional geometry is used and realistic values of almost all governing parameters used are taken from the literature. For the cases of both GRT and a RH we investigate the tendency for the detachment to progress, analysing different lengths of the detached retina, different attachment angles and, in the case of a RH, different hole diameters. We find that in both cases in- creasing the length of the detached retina increases the tendency for further detachment, while in the case of a hole, changing its diameter has little or no effect. We also find the existence of an attachment angle that maximises the tendency to detach, and the model indicates that RHs are more prone to de- tach further than GRTs. In spite of the fact that the model is highly idealised the results agree qualitatively well with the available clinical evidence.

A study of the mechanical forces on aphakic iris-fixated intraocular lenses

Davvalo Khongar, Pralits, Soleri, Romano & Repetto
Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 2018
[abstract] [pdf]


Iris–fixated aphakic intraocular lenses (IFIOL) are used in cataract surgery, when more common intraocular lenses cannot be adopted because of the absence of capsular bag support. These lenses can be implanted either on the posterior or the anterior surface of the iris. In this work we study whether one of these options is preferable over the other from the mechanical point of view. In particular, we focus on the forces that the IFIOL transmits to the iris, which are associated with the risk of lens dislocation. We study the problem numerically and consider aqueous flow induced by saccadic rotations in the cases of an IFIOL in the anterior and posterior side of the iris. The IFIOL considered is the Artisan Aphakia +30.0 D lens (IFIOL) produced by Ophtec BV. We perform the simulations in OpenFOAM. We find that the forces transmitted by the aphakic IFIOL to the iris are significantly higher in the case of posterior implantation. This suggests that lens implantation on the posterior surface of the iris might be associated with a higher risk of lens dislocation, when an inadequate amount of iris tissue is enclavated during implantation.

Effect of an iris-fixated intraocular lens on corneal metabolism: a numerical study

Davvalo Khongar, Pralits, Cheng, Pinsky, Soleri & Repetto
Journal for Modeling in Ophthalmology Vol. 2, pp 97-101, 2018
[abstract] [pdf]


One of the possible risks associated with the implant of iris-fixated phakic intraocular lenses (pIOL) is loss of corneal endothelial cells. We hypothesize that this might be due to alterations in corneal metabolism secondary to the lens implantation. To verify the feasibility of this assumption, we propose a mathematical model of the transport and di usion of metabolic species in the anterior chamber and the cornea, coupled to a model of aqueous flow. Results are obtained both with and without the pIOL in the case of closed eyelids. The results suggest that glucose availability may be significantly reduced at the corneal endothelium. However, it must still be verified whether this finding has clinical relevance.

The effect of serum proteins on dynamic interfacial properties of silicone oils in vitrectomized eyes

Nepita, Liggieri, Santini, Ravera, Romano, Pralits & Repetto
Journal for Modeling in Ophthalmology Vol. 2, pp 52-57, 2018
[abstract] [pdf]


The formation and stability of emulsions in vitrectomized eyes is linked to the properties of the silicone oil-aqueous humor interface, in particular the surface tension. In the presence of natural surfactants, such as serum and plasma, the value of the surface tension is likely to change, but little quantitative information is presently available. To this end, we perform accurate experiments measuring the interfacial properties of the Siluron 1000 (Fluoron GmbH, Ulm, Germany) silicone oil with an aqueous solution in the presence of endogenous-like proteins. It is found that the surface tension is significantly reduced when physiologically realistic concentrations are used. Moreover, the values obtained for the dilational viscoelastic modulus are compatible with the formation of stable emulsions.

Full-order optimal compensators for flow control: the multi-input case

Semeraro & Pralits
Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics, 2018
[abstract] [pdf]


Flow control has been the subject of numerous experimental and theoretical works. In this numerical study, we analyse full-order, optimal controllers for large dynamical systems in presence of multiple actuators and sen- sors. We start from the original technique proposed by Bewley, Luchini & Pralits, Meccanica, 2016, the adjoint of the direct-adjoint (ADA) algorithm. The algorithm is iterative and allows bypassing the solution of the algebraic Riccati equation associated with the optimal control problems, typically unfeasible for large systems. We extend ADA into a more generalized framework that includes the design of multi-input, coupled controllers and robust controllers based on the H∞ framework. The full-order controllers do not require any preliminary step of model reduction or low-order approximation: this feature allows to pre-assess the optimal performances of an actuated flow without relying on any estimation process or further hypothesis. We show that the algorithm outperforms analogous technique, in terms of convergence performances considering two numerical cases: a distributed system and the linearized Kuramoto-Sivashinsky equation, mimicking a full three-dimensional control setup. For the ADA algorithm we find excellent scalability with the number of inputs (actuators) in terms of convergence to the solution, making the method a viable way for full-order controller design in complex settings.

Erratum to: Preliminary design of a small-sized flapping UAV: I. Aerodynamic performance and static longitudinal stability

Guerrero, Pacioselli, Pralits, Negrello, Silvestri, Lucifredi, & Bottaro
Meccanica Vol. 51(6), pp 6-6, 2017


It has come to the attention of the authors that the aforementioned paper contains a typing error in Equation 3. Instead of reading(Formula Presented.)Equation 3 should read:(Formula Presented.).

Flow in the anterior chamber of the eye with an implanted iris-fixated artificial lens

Tweedy, Pralits, Repetto & Soleri
Mathematical Medicine & Biology Vol. 00, pp 1-23, 2017
[abstract] [pdf] [abstract]


Flow in the anterior chamber of the eye oc- curs in response to the production and drainage of aque- ous humor and also due to buoyancy effects produced y thermal gradients. Phakic intraocular lenses (pIOLs) are inserted in the eyes of patients to correct refractive errors. Their presence has a dramatic effect on the cir- culation of the aqueous humor, resulting a very different flow in the anterior chamber, the effects of which have not been extensively investigated. In this article we use a simplified mathematical model to analyse the flow, in order to assess the effect of the implanted lens on the pressure drop required to drive the flow and also the wall shear stress experienced by the corneal endothelial cells and the cells of the iris. A high pressure drop could result in an increased risk of glaucoma, whilst raised shear stress on the cornea could result in a reduction in the density of endothelial cells there and on the iris it could result in the detachment of pigment cells, which block the outflow of the eye, also leading to glaucoma. Our results show that, although the presence of the lens causes significant differences in the flow topology and direction, the typical magnitudes of the shear stress are not significantly changed from the natural case.

Global stability and control of the confined turbulent flow past a thick flat plate

Carini, Airiau, Debien, Léon & Pralits
Physics of Fluids Vol. 29, pp 024102, 2017
[abstract] [pdf]


This article investigates the structural stability and sensitivity properties of the confined turbulent wake behind an elongated D-shaped cylinder of aspect-ratio 10 at Re = 32000. The stability analysis is performed by linearising the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations around the numerically computed and the experimentally measured mean flows. We found that the vortex-shedding frequency is very well captured by the leading unstable global mode, espe- cially when the additional turbulent diffusion is modelled in the stability equations by means of a frozen eddy-viscosity approach. The sensitivity maps derived from the computed and the measured mean flows are then compared, showing a good qualitative agreement. The careful inspection of their spatial structure highlights that the highest sensitivity is attained not only across the recirculation bubble but also at the body blunt-edge, where tiny pockets of maximum re- ceptivity are found. The impact of the turbulent diffusion on the obtained results is investigated. Finally, we show how the knowledge of the unstable adjoint global mode of the linearised mean-flow dynamics can be exploited to design an active feedback control of the unsteady turbulent wake, which leads, under the adopted numerical framework, to completely suppress its low-frequency oscillation.

Stability of the flow in a plane microchannel with one or two superhydrophobic walls

Pralits, Alinovi & Bottaro
Physical Review Fluids Vol. 2, pp. 013901, 2017
[abstract] [pdf]


The modal and nonmodal linear stability of the flow in a microchannel with either one or both walls coated with a superhydrophobic material is studied. The topography of the bounding wall(s) has the shape of elongated micro-ridges with arbitrary alignment with respect to the direction of the mean pressure gradient. The superhydrophobic walls are modelled using the Navier slip condition through a slip-tensor, and the results depend parametrically on the slip-length and orientation angle of the ridges. The stability analysis is carried out in the temporal framework; the modal analysis is performed by solving a generalized eigenvalue problem, and the nonmodal, optimal perturbation analysis is done with an adjoint optimisation approach. We show theoretically and verify numerically that Squire’s theorem does not apply in the present settings, despite the fact that Squire modes are found to be always damped. The most notable result is the appearance of a streamwise wall-vortex mode at very low Reynolds numbers when the ridges are sufficiently inclined with respect to the mean pressure gradient, in the case of a single superhydrophobic wall. When two walls are rendered water repellent, the exponential growth of the instability results from either a two-dimensional or a three-dimensional Orr-Sommerfeld mode, depending on the ridges orientation and amplitude. Nonmodal results for either one or two superhydrophobic wall(s) display but a mild modification of the no-slip case.

Equilibrium shape of the aqueous humor-vitreous substitute interface in vitrectomized eyes

Isakova, Pralits, Romano, Beenakker, Shamonin & Repetto
Journal for Modeling in Ophthalmology Vol. 3, pp 31-46, 2017
[abstract] [pdf]


Purpose: To predict the shape of the interface between aqueous humor and a tamponade, gas or silicone oil (SO), in vitrectomized eyes. To quantify the tamponated retinal surface for various eye shapes, from emmetropic to highly myopic eyes.
Methods: We use a mathematical model to determine the equilibrium shape of the interface between the two fluids. The model is based on the VOF (volume of fluids) method. The governing equations are solved numerically using the free software OpenFOAM. We apply the model both to the case of idealized, yet realistic, geometries of emmetropic and myopic eyes and to a real geometry reconstructed from MRI images of the vitreous chamber.
Results: The numerical model allows us to compute the equilibrium shape of the inter face between the aqueous humor and the tamponade fluid. From this we can compute the portion of the retinal surface which is effectively tamponated by the fluid. We compare the tamponating ability of gases and SOs. We also compare the tamponating effect in emmetropic and myopic eyes by computing both tamponated area and angular coverage.
Conclusions: The numerical results show that gases have better tamponating properties than SOs. We also show that, for a given filling ratio the percentage of tamponated retinal surface area is smaller in myopic eyes. The method is valuable for clinical purposes, 30 especially in patients with pathological eye shapes, to predict the area of the retina that 31 will be tamponated for a given amount of injected tamponade fluid.

Aqueous flow in the presence of a perforated iris-fixated intraocular lens

Davvalo Khongar, Pralits, Soleri & Repetto
Meccanica, S.I. advances in biomechanics: from foundations to applications Vol. 52, pp 577-586, 2015, 2017


The aim of this study is to investigate the characteristics of the aqueous humor flow in the anterior chamber of the eye in the presence of a perforated, phakic, iris-fixated intraocular lens (pIOL). Such pIOLs are implanted in the anterior chamber, in front of the iris and they therefore interfere with aqueous motion. The aim of this work is to investigate whether a perforation in the body of the pIOL can improve its fluid dynamics performance. Numerical simulations are conducted using the free computational fluid dynamics program OpenFOAM. The aqueous humor is modeled as a Newtonian incompressible fluid and, when temperature effects are considered, the Navier-Stokes equations are coupled to the energy equation, using Boussinesq’s approach to account for fluid density changes associated temperature variations. The pressure drop across the anterior chamber is calculated considering perforations in the pIOL of various sizes and also studying the extreme case in which the passage between the iris and the pIOL gets plugged, thus leaving the hole in the pIOL as the only possible pathway for aqueous flow. The study shows that the presence of a hole in the pIOL can only have a significant role on the pressure in the eye if the normal aqueous flow in the region between the pIOL and the iris gets blocked.

Methods for solution of large optimal control problems that bypass open-loop model reduction

Bewley, Luchini & Pralits
Meccanica Vol. 51, pp 2997-3014, 2016
[abstract] [pdf] [springer pdf]


Three algorithms for efficient solution of op- timal control problems for high-dimensional systems are presented. Each bypasses the intermediate (and, unnecessary) step of open-loop model reduction. Each also bypasses the solution of the full Riccati equation corresponding to the LQR problem, which is numeri- cally intractable for large n. Motivation for this effort comes from the field of model-based flow control, where open-loop model reduction often fails to capture the dynamics of interest (governed by the Navier-Stokes equation). Our Minimum Control Energy method is a simplified expression for the well-known minimum- energy stabilizing control feedback that depends only on the left eigenvectors corresponding to the unstable eigenvalues of the system matrix A. Our Adjoint of the Direct-Adjoint method is based on the repeated itera- tive computation of the adjoint of a forward problem, itself defined to be the direct-adjoint vector pair asso- ciated with the LQR problem. Our Oppositely-Shifted Subspace Iteration method is based on our new sub- space iteration method for computing the Schur vectors corresponding, notably, to the m ≪ n central eigenval- ues (near the imaginary axis) of the Hamiltonian ma- trix related to the Riccati equation of interest. These three approaches are compared to the classical Chan- drasekhar’s method for approximate solution of large Riccati equations on a representative control problem.

Stabilizing effect of porosity on a flapping filament

Natali, Pralits, Mazzino & Bagheri
J. Fluid Struct. Vol. 61, pp 362-375, 2016
[abstract] [pdf]


A new way of handling, simultaneously, porosity and bending resistance of a massive filament is proposed. Our strategy extends the previous methods where porosity was taken into account in the absence of bending resistance of the structure and overcomes related numerical issues. The new strategy has been exploited to investigate how porosity affects the stability of slender elastic objects exposed to a uniform stream. To understand under which conditions porosity becomes important, we propose a simple resonance mechanism between a properly defined characteristic porous time-scale and the standard characteristic hydrodynamic time-scale. The resonance condition results in a critical value for the porosity above which porosity is important for the resulting filament flapping regime, otherwise its role can be considered of little importance. Our estimation for the critical value of the porosity is in fairly good agreement with our DNS results. The computations also allow us to quantitatively establish the stabilizing role of porosity in the flapping regimes.

Weakly nonlinear optimal perturbations

Pralits, Bottaro & Cherubini
J. Fluid Mech. Vol. 785, pp 135-151, 2015
[abstract] [pdf]


A simple approach is described for computing spatially extended, weakly nonlinear optimal disturbances, suitable for maintaining a disturbance-regeneration cycle in a simple shear flow. Weakly nonlinear optimals, computed over a short time interval for the expansion used to remain tenable, are oblique waves which display a shorter streamwise and a longer spanwise wavelength than their linear counterparts. Threshold values of the initial excitation energy, separating the region of damped waves from that where disturbances grow without bounds, are found. Weakly nonlinear optimal solutions of varying initial amplitudes are then fed as initial conditions into direct numerical simulations of the Navier–Stokes equations and it is shown that the weakly nonlinear model permits the identification of flow states which cause rapid breakdown to turbulence.

Preliminary Design of a Small-Sized Flapping UAV. I. Aerodynamic Performance and Static Longitudinal Stability

Guerrero, Pacioselli, Pralits, Negrello, Silvestri, Lucifredi, & Bottaro
Meccanica DOI 10.1007/s11012-015-0298-6, 2015
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. The preliminary design of a biologically inspired flapping UAV is presented. Starting from a set of initial design specifications, namely: weight, maximum flapping frequency and minimum hand-launch velocity of the model, a parametric numerical study of the proposed avian model is conducted in terms of the aerodynamic performance and longitudinal static stability in gliding and flapping conditions. The model shape, size and flight conditions are chosen to approximate those of a gull. The wing kinematics is selected after conducting an extensive parametric study, starting from the simplest flapping pattern and progressively adding more degrees of freedom and control parameters until reaching a functional and realistic wing kinematics. The results give us an initial insight of the aerodynamic performance and longitudinal static stability of a biomimetic flapping UAV, designed at minimum flight velocity and maximum flapping frequency.

Numerical simulations of flow and mass transport processes in the anterior chamber in the presence of an iris-fixated intraocular lens

Repetto, Davvalo Khongar, Pralits, Siggers, & Soleri
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. Vol. 56(7), pp 1898, 2015 (Meeting Abstract June 2015)


Purpose: In this study we investigated how implantation of iris-fixated intraocular lenses (IOLs) affects aqueous humor flow characteristics and mass transport processes in the anterior chamber. Specifically, we studied changes in the wall shear stress distribution and oxygen/nutrient availability on the cornea, after lens implantation.
Methods: We adopted a mathematical model to study aqueous flow and oxygen/nutrient concentration distribution in the anterior chamber in the presence of an iris-fixated IOL. Numerical solutions on idealized but realistic geometries were obtained employing the open source software OpenFOAM. The validity of the numerical results were confirmed by analytical solutions obtained through a simplified model based on the lubrication theory. We considered various mechanisms that generate aqueous flow in the anterior chamber and focused, in particular, on the production/drainage flow and the thermal flow generated by a temperature gradient across the anterior chamber.
Results: The model provides a detailed description of the velocity, pressure and concentration distribution in the anterior chamber, both in the presence and absence of the IOL. Results show that changes in fluid pressure after implantation of the IOL are negligible. Wall shear stress distribution and mass transport processes in the anterior chamber are significantly modified by the presence of the IOL. However, the maximum wall shear stress on the cornea does not grow after IOL implantation.
Conclusions: The study sheds some light on the changes induced by implantation of an iris-fixated IOL on fluid flow and mass transport in the anterior chamber, an information that would be difficult to obtain without making use of a mathematical model. Results suggest that changes in the wall shear stress, albeit significant, are unlikely to be the cause of the complications associated with the use of iris-fixated IOLs.

Phakic iris-fixated intraocular lens placement in the anterior chamber: effects on aqueous flow

Repetto, Pralits, Siggers, & Soleri
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. Vol. 56(5), pp 3061-3068, 2015


Purpose: Phakic intraocular lenses (pIOLs) are used for correcting vision; in this study we investigate some of the possible effects of an iris-fixated pIOL. We assess whether fluid dynamical changes associated with pIOL placement could give rise to clinical problems. In particular, we focus on modifications of the wall shear stress (WSS) on the cornea and iris, which could be responsible for endothelial and pigment cell loss, respectively, and also on the possible increase of the intraocular pressure (IOP), which is known to correlate with the incidence of secondary glaucoma.
Methods: We use a mathematical model to study fluid flow in the anterior chamber in the presence of a pIOL. The governing equations are solved numerically using the open source software OpenFOAM. We use an idealized standard geometry for the anterior chamber and a realistic geometrical description of the pIOL.
Results: We consider separately the main mechanisms that produce fluid flow in the anterior chamber. The numerical simulations allow us to obtain a detailed description of the velocity and pressure distribution in the anterior chamber in the presence of a pIOL. Results show that implantation of the pIOL significantly modifies the fluid dynamics of the anterior chamber. However, lens implantation has negligible influence on the intraocular pressure, does not produce a significant increase of the shear stress on the cornea, while the stress on the iris, although increased, is not large enough to cause detachment of cells from this tissue.
Conclusions: We conclude that alterations in the fluid dynamics in the anterior chamber as a result of lens implantation are unlikely to be the cause of medical complications associated with their use.

Controllo attivo di moti fluidi

Meccanica dei fluidi, Cengel & Cimbala, McGraw-Hill Education (Italy), ISBN 9788838668845, pp 430-431, 2015
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. Il testo si propone di presentare le equazioni e i principi fondamentali della meccanica dei fluidi, e mostrare esempi di molte e diverse applicazioni a problemi pratici di ingegneria per fornire agli studenti esempi di come la meccanica dei fluidi venga usata nella pratica ingegneristica. Tra gli obiettivi c'è anche la comprensione intuitiva della meccanica dei fluidi enfatizzandone la fisica, attraverso l'uso di immagini che aiutino a comprenderla. Novità della terza edizione sono il capitolo 14 Introduzione alla fluidodinamica computazionale e l'introduzione di alcuni box applicativi scritti da guest author.

Fluidodinamica della camera anteriore dell'occhio

Repetto & Pralits
Meccanica dei fluidi, Cengel & Cimbala, McGraw-Hill Education (Italy), ISBN 9788838668845, pp 400-401, 2015
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. Il testo si propone di presentare le equazioni e i principi fondamentali della meccanica dei fluidi, e mostrare esempi di molte e diverse applicazioni a problemi pratici di ingegneria per fornire agli studenti esempi di come la meccanica dei fluidi venga usata nella pratica ingegneristica. Tra gli obiettivi c'è anche la comprensione intuitiva della meccanica dei fluidi enfatizzandone la fisica, attraverso l'uso di immagini che aiutino a comprenderla. Novità della terza edizione sono il capitolo 14 Introduzione alla fluidodinamica computazionale e l'introduzione di alcuni box applicativi scritti da guest author.

Three-dimensional stability, receptivity and sensitivity of non-Newtonian flows inside open cavities

Citro, Giannetti, & Pralits
Fluid Dynamics Research Vol. 47, no. 015503, 2015
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. We investigate the stability properties of flows over an open square cavity for fluids with shear-dependent viscosity. The analysis is carried out in the context of linear theory using a normal-mode decomposition. The incompressible Cauchy equations, with a Carreau viscosity model, are discretized with a finite-element method. The characteristics of direct and adjoint eigenmodes are analyzed and discussed in order to understand the receptivity features of the flow. Furthermore, we identify the regions of the flow more sensitive to a spatially localized feedbacks by building a spatial map obtained from the product between the direct and the adjoint eigenfunctions. The analysis shows that the first global linear instability of the steady flow is a steady or unsteady three-dimensional bifurcation depending on the value of the power-law index n. The instability mechanism is always located inside the cavity and the linear stability results suggest a strong connection with the classical lid-driven cavity problem.

Feedback control of vortex shedding using a full-order optimal compensator

Carini, Pralits, & Luchini
J. Fluids Struct. Vol. 53, pp 15-25, 2015
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. In the present study a linear feedback control strategy is derived and used to suppress the cylinder vortex shed- ding at low Reynolds numbers. The classical small-gain solution of the optimal control and estimation problems is exploited in order to design a full-dimensional stabilizing compensator of the linearized Navier-Stokes equations, thus bypassing the open-loop model reduction of the fluid plant. Both feedback and observer gains are efficiently computed based solely on the knowledge of the unstable adjoint and direct global modes, respectively. In our control setup, the actuation is realized by means of unsteady angular rotations of the cylinder surface while a single velocity sensor located along the symmetry line is employed for the state estimation. For Re = 50 the derived compensator is shown to be able to drive the flow from the natural limit cycle to the unstable steady state which is finally restored. Then the sensitivity of the control performance to sensor placement and Reynolds number is investigated. For selected locations of the sensor the derived compensator is able to delay the onset of vortex shedding up to Re = 59 which compares well with the threshold found by other authors both in numerical (Re ≈ 60) and experimental investigations (Re ≈ 58) using linear feedback control strategies.

A model for the linear stability of the interface between aqueous humor and vitreous substitutes after vitreoretinal surgery

Isakova, Pralits, Repetto, & Romano
Physics of Fluids Vol. 26, pp. 124101, 2014
[abstract] [pdf]
Featured as Research Highlights on the Physics of Fluids web site.


Abstract. We consider the motion of two immiscible viscous fluids induced by periodic oscilla- tions of a flat solid surface along its plane. The interface between the two fluids is parallel to the solid wall; one fluid occupies the region between the wall and the in- terface and the other extends from the interface to infinity. We study numerically the linear stability of the interface with respect to two-dimensional perturbations using the normal mode analysis and assuming quasi-steady flow conditions. The analysis is motivated by the need of understanding the behavior of vitreous substitutes inserted in the vitreous chamber of the eye after vitrectomy. This is a common surgical pro- cedure adopted to treat retinal detachments, whereby the vitreous humor is removed from the eye and replaced by fluids immiscible with water. Owing to their hydropho- bic nature vitreous substitutes coexist in the vitreous chamber with a certain amount of aqueous humor (the fluid produced in the anterior part of the eye) and, typically, a thin layer of aqueous separates the tamponade fluid from the retina. A common problem with this treatment is that, in some cases, the interface between the two fluids breaks down and this might eventually lead to the generation of an emulsion. It is believed that mechanics plays an important role in this process but the problem remains very poorly understood. We find that instability of the interface is possible in a range of parameters that is relevant for the problem that motivated the present analysis. This suggests that shear instability is likely a possible mechanism triggering the onset of vitreous substitutes–aqueous interface instability.

Mechanical models of the dynamics of vitreous substitutes

Isakova, Pralits, Repetto, & Romano
BioMed Research International Vol. (2014), Article ID 672926, 10 pages, 2014
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. In the present paper we discuss some aspects of the fluid dynamics of vitreous substitutes in the vitreous chamber, focussing on the flow induced by rotations of the eye bulb. We use simple, yet not trivial, theoretical models to highlight mechanical concepts which are of great relevance to understand the behaviour of vitreous substitutes in the vitreous chamber and also to identify ideal properties for vitreous replacement fluids. We first consider the dependency of the maximum shear stress on the retina on the viscosity of the fluid, and also discuss the differences between the motion of purely viscous and viscoelastic fluids. We then investigate how the wall shear stress changes if a thin layer of aqueous is present in the vitreous chamber, separating the retina from the vitreous replacement fluid. In relation to this, we also discuss results from a theoretical model that predicts the stability conditions of the interface between aqueous and a vitreous substitute. We discuss the implications of this model results to understand the mechanisms leading to the formation of an emulsion in the vitreous chamber.

Achieving uniform concentration by optimised dosage in a microchannel

Mussetti, Pralits, & Mazzino
Meccanica Vol. 49, pp 2543-2547, 2014
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. Mixing control in microchannels is a problem of paramount importance in a variety of situations ranging from applications in chemistry and biochemistry to fundamental research in fluid mechanics and transport. The main problem to solve is related to the fact that purely hydrodynamic fluid instabilities are inhibited due to negligible inertia of microchannel flow. Since mixing times or distances con be very long, strategies are required to enhance mixing in microdevices. Two different approaches are commonly used to induce mixing, according to their active or passive character. Active micromixers use the disturbance generated by an external time-dependent field for the mixing process, eg., pressure gradient, electric fields and sound. Those methods are often difficult because of the tiny scales involved and they also pose several problems from a manufacturing point of view. Passive micromixer do not require external energy, the mixing process relies entirely on diffusion or chaotic advection. In the first approach, the molecular diffusion is enhanced by increasing the contact surface and decreasing the mixing path. In the second, the geometrical structure of the microchannel is projected to trigger Lagrangian chaos (and thus mixing via eddy-diffusivity mechanisms). Suitable non-Newtonian fluid solutions often provide an alternative valid answer to trigger mixing exploiting elastic instabilities in the limit of very small Reynolds numbers or, eventually, turbulence. Our aim here is to show how, exploiting state-of-the-art control/optimization techniques, the mixing efficiency of a passive scalar quantity emitted in a microchannel can be easily enhanced by a time-dependent injection in punctual and multi-source configuration. The technique is active but does not require any time-dependent variation of the emission source position. The system is especially suitable for noncontinuous mixing and, at the same time, for dosing with a minimal emitted substance.

A minimal model for zero-inertia instabilities in shear-dominated non-Newtonian flows

Boi, Mazzino, & Pralits
Phys. Rev. E. Vol. 88, 033007, 2013
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. The emergence of fluid instabilities in the relevant limit of zero fluid inertia (i.e. zero Reynolds numbers) has been investigated for the well-known Kolmogorov flow. The finite-time shear-induced order-disorder transition of the non-Newtonian micro-structure and the corresponding viscosity change from lower to higher values, are the crucial ingredients for the instabilities to emerge. The finite-time low-to-high viscosity change for increasing shear characterizes the rheopectic fluids. The instability does not emerge in shear-thinning/thickening fluids where viscosity adjustment to lo- cal shear occurs almost instantaneously. The lack of instabilities at zero Reynolds number is also observed for thixotropic fluids, in spite of the fact that the viscosity adjustment time to shear is finite as in rheopectic fluids. Renormalized perturbative expansions (multiple-scale expansions), energy-based arguments (on the linearized equations of motion) and numerical results (of suitable eigenvalue problems from the linear stability analysis) are the main tools leading to our conclusions. Our findings may have important consequences in all situations where purely hydrodynamic fluid instabilities/mixing are inhibited due to negligible inertia, as in microfluidic applications. To trig- ger mixing in these situations, suitable (not necessarily viscoelastic) non-Newtonian fluid solutions appear as a valid answer. Our results open interesting questions and challenges in the field of smart (fluid) material.

Three-dimensional instability of the flow around a rotating circular cylinder

Pralits, Giannetti, & Brandt
J. Fluid Mech. Vol. 730, pp 5-18, 2013
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. The two-dimensional stationary flow past a rotating cylinder is analyzed for both two and three-dimensional perturbations. The instability mechanisms for the high and low- frequency modes are analyzed and the complete neutral curve presented. It is shown that the first bifurcation in the case of the rotating cylinder occurs for stationary three- dimensional perturbations, confirming recent experiments. Interestingly, the critical Reynolds number at high rotation rates is lower than the one for the stationary circular cylinder. The spatial characteristics of the disturbance and a qualitative comparison with the re- sults obtained for linear flows suggest that the stationary unstable three-dimensional mode could be of a hyperbolic nature.

Riccati-less approach for optimal control and estimation: An application in 2D Boundary Layers

Semeraro, Pralits, Rowley & Henningson
J. Fluid Mech. Vol. 731, pp 394-417, 2013
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. The control of Tollmien-Schlichting (TS) in a 2D boundary layer is analysed by using numerical simulation. Full-dimensional optimal controllers are used in combination with a set-up of spatially localised inputs (actuators and disturbance) and outputs (sensors). The Adjoint of the Direct-Adjoint (ADA) algorithm, recently proposed by Pralits & Luchini (2010), is used to efficiently compute the Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR) controller; the method is iterative and allows to by-pass the solution of the corresponding Riccati equation, unfeasible for high-dimensional systems. We show that an analogous iteration can be cast for the estimation problem; the dual algorithm is referred to as Adjoint of the Adjoint-Direct (AAD). By combining the solutions of the estimation and control problem, a full dimensional, model-free, Linear Gaussian Quadratic (LQG) controllers are obtained and used for the attenuation of the disturbances arising in the boundary layer flow. Model-free, full dimensional controllers turn out to be an excellent benchmark for evaluating the performance of the optimal control/estimation design based on open-loop model reduction. We show the conditions under which the two strategies are in perfect agreement by focusing on the issues arising when feedback configurations are considered. An analysis of the finite amplitude cases is also carried out addressing the limitations of the optimal controllers, the role of the estimation and the robustness to the nonlinearities arising in the flow of the control design.

Transition to turbulence at the bottom of a solitary wave

Blondeaux, Pralits & Vittori
J. Fluid Mech. Vol. 709, pp 396- 407, 2012
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. A linear stability analysis of the laminar flow in the boundary layer at the bottom of a solitary wave is made to determine the conditions leading to transition and the appearance of turbulence. The Reynolds number of the phenomenon is assumed to be large and a ‘momentary’ criterion of instability is used. The results show that the laminar regime becomes unstable during the decelerating phase, when the height of the solitary wave exceeds a threshold value which depends on the ratio between the boundary layer thickness and the local water depth. A comparison of the theoretical results with the experimental measurements of Sumer et al. (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 646, 2010, pp. 207–231) supports the analysis.

First instability of the flow of shear-thinning and shear-thickening fluids past a circular cylinder

Lashgari, Pralits, Giannetti & Brandt
J. Fluid Mech. Vol. 701, pp 201-227, 2012
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. The first bifurcation and the instability mechanisms of shear-thinning and shearthickening fluids flowing past a circular cylinder are studied using linear theory and numerical simulations. Structural sensitivity analysis based on the idea of a ‘wavemaker’ is performed to identify the core of the instability. The shear-dependent viscosity is modelled by the Carreau model where the rheological parameters, i.e. the power-index and the material time constant, are chosen in the range 0.4 < n < 1.75 and 0.1<λ<100. We show how shear-thinning/shear-thickening effects destabilize/stabilize the flow dramatically when scaling the problem with the reference zero-shear-rate viscosity. These variations are explained by modifications of the steady base flow due to the shear-dependent viscosity; the instability mechanisms are only slightly changed. The characteristics of the base flow, drag coefficient and size of recirculation bubble are presented to assess shear-thinning effects. We demonstrate that at critical conditions the local Reynolds number in the core of the instability is around 50 as for Newtonian fluids. The perturbation kinetic energy budget is also considered to examine the physical mechanism of the instability.

Effect of base-flow variation in noise amplifiers: the flat-plate boundary layer

Brandt, Sipp, Pralits, & Marquet
J. Fluid Mech. Vol. 687, pp 503-528, 2011
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. Non-modal analysis determines the potential for energy amplification in stable flows. The latter is quantified in the frequency domain by the singular values of the resolvent operator. The present work extends previous analysis on the effect of base-flow modifications on flow stability by considering the sensitivity of the flow non-modal behaviour. Using a variational technique, we derive an analytical expression for the gradient of a singular value with respect to base-flow modifications and show how it depends on the singular vectors of the resolvent operator, also denoted the optimal forcing and optimal response of the flow. As an application, we examine zero-pressure-gradient boundary layers where the different instability mechanisms of wall-bounded shear flows are all at work. The effect of the component-type nonnormality of the linearized Navier–Stokes operator, which concentrates the optimal forcing and response on different components, is first studied in the case of a parallel boundary layer. The effect of the convective-type non-normality of the linearized Navier–Stokes operator, which separates the spatial support of the structures of the optimal forcing and response, is studied in the case of a spatially evolving boundary layer. The results clearly indicate that base-flow modifications have a strong impact on the Tollmien–Schlichting (TS) instability mechanism whereas the amplification of streamwise streaks is a very robust process. This is explained by simply examining the expression for the gradient of the resolvent norm. It is shown that the sensitive region of the lift-up (LU) instability spreads out all over the flat plate and even upstream of it, whereas it is reduced to the region between branch I and branch II for the TS waves.

Instability and sensitivity of the flow around a rotating circular cylinder

Pralits, Brandt, & Giannetti
J. Fluid Mech. Vol. 650, pp 513-536, 2010
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. The two-dimensional flow around a rotating circular cylinder is studied at Re = 100. The instability mechanisms for the first and second shedding modes are analysed. The region in the flow with a role of ‘wavemaker’ in the excitation of the global instability is identified by considering the structural sensitivity of the unstable mode. This approach is compared with the analysis of the perturbation kinetic energy production, a classic approach in linear stability analysis. Multiple steady-state solutions are found at high rotation rates, explaining the quenching of the second shedding mode. Turning points in phase space are associated with the movement of the flow stagnation point. In addition, a method to examine which structural variation of the base flow has the largest impact on the instability features is proposed. This has relevant implications for the passive control of instabilities. Finally, numerical simulations of the flow are performed to verify that the structural sensitivity analysis is able to provide correct indications on where to position passive control devices, e.g. small obstacles, in order to suppress the shedding modes.

Shape optimization for delay of laminar-turbulent transition

Amoignon, Pralits, Hanifi, Berggren, & Henningson
AIAA J. Vol. 44:5, pp 1009-1024, 2006
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. A method using gradient-based optimization is introduced for the design of wing profiles with the aim of natural laminar flow, as well as minimum wave drag. The Euler equations of gasdynamics, the laminar boundary-layer equations for compressible flows on infinite swept wings, and the linear parabolized stability equations (PSE) are solved to analyze the evolution of convectively unstable disturbances. Laminar–turbulent transition is assumed to be delayed by minimizing a measure of the disturbance kinetic energy of a chosen disturbance, which is computed using the PSE. The shape gradients of the disturbance kinetic energy are computed based on the solutions of the adjoints of the state equations just named. Numerical tests are carried out to optimize the RAE 2822 airfoil with the aim to delay simultaneously the transition, reduce the pressure drag coefficient, and maintain the coefficients of lift and pitch moments. Constraints are also applied on the geometry. Results show a reduction of the total amplification of a large number of disturbances, which is assumed to represent a delay of the transition in the boundary layer. Because delay of the transition implies reduction of the viscous drag, the present method enables shape optimization to perform viscous drag reduction.

Optimization of Steady Suction for Disturbance Control on Infinite Swept Wings

Pralits, & Hanifi
Physics of Fluids Vol. 15, pp 2756-2772, 2003
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. We present a theory for computing the optimal steady suction distribution to suppress convectively unstable disturbances in growing boundary layers on infinite swept wings. This work includes optimization based on minimizing the disturbance kinetic energy and the integral of the shape factor. Further, a suction distribution in a continuous control domain is compared to an approach using a number of discrete pressure chambers. In the latter case, the internal static pressures of these chambers are optimized. Optimality systems are derived using Lagrange multipliers. The corresponding optimality conditions are evaluated using the adjoint of the parabolized stability equations and the adjoint of the boundary layer equations. Results are presented for an airfoil designed for medium range commercial aircraft. We show that an optimal suction distribution based on a minimization of the integral of the shape factor is not always successful in the sense of delaying laminar-turbulent transition. It is also demonstrated that including different types of disturbances, e.g., Tollmien–Schlichting and cross-flow types, in the analysis may be crucial.

Adjoint-based optimization of steady suction for disturbance control in incompressible flows

Pralits, Hanifi, & Henningson
J. Fluid Mech. Vol. 467, pp 129-161, 2002
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. The optimal distribution of steady suction needed to control the growth of single or multiple disturbances in quasi-three-dimensional incompressible boundary layers on a flat plate is investigated. The evolution of disturbances is analysed in the framework of the parabolized stability equations (PSE). A gradient-based optimization procedure is used and the gradients are evaluated using the adjoint of the parabolized stability equations (APSE) and the adjoint of the boundary layer equations (ABLE). The accuracy of the gradient is increased by introducing a stabilization procedure for the PSE. Results show that a suction peak appears in the upstream part of the suction region for optimal control of Tollmien{Schlichting (T{S) waves, steady streamwise streaks in a two-dimensional boundary layer and oblique waves in a quasi-threedimensional boundary layer subject to an adverse pressure gradient. The mean flow modi cations due to suction are shown to have a stabilizing e ect similar to that of a favourable pressure gradient. It is also shown that the optimal suction distribution for the disturbance of interest reduces the growth rate of other perturbations. Results for control of a steady cross-flow mode in a three-dimensional boundary layer subject to a favourable pressure gradient show that not even large amounts of suction can completely stabilize the disturbance.

Numerical Simulation of Jet Impingement/Channel Flow Cooling of an Array of Heated Strips by a Flourinert Liquid

Behnia, Pralits, & Nakayama
Int. J. Trans. Phen. Vol. 3/4, pp 437-448, 2001

Sensitivity Analysis Using Adjoint Parabolized Stability Equations for Compressible Flows

Pralits, Airiau, Hanifi, & Henningson
Flow Turbulence and Combustion Vol. 65 (3/4), pp 321-346, 2000
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. An input/output framework is used to analyze the sensitivity of two- and three-dimensional disturbances in a compressible boundary layer for changes in wall and momentum forcing. The sensitivity is defined as the gradient of the kinetic disturbance energy at a given downstream position with respect to the forcing. The gradients are derived using the parabolized stability equations (PSE) and their adjoint (APSE). The adjoint equations are derived in a consistent way for a quasi-two-dimensional compressible flow in an orthogonal curvilinear coordinate system. The input/output framework provides a basis for optimal control studies. Analysis of two-dimensional boundary layers for Mach numbers between 0 and 1.2 show that wall and momentum forcing close to branch I of the neutral stability curve give the maximum magnitude of the gradient. Forcing at the wall gives the largest magnitude using the wall normal velocity component. In case of incompressible flow, the two-dimensional disturbances are the most sensitive ones to wall inhomogeneity. For compressible flow, the three-dimensional disturbances are the most sensitive ones. Further, it is shown that momentum forcing is most effectively done in the vicinity of the critical layer.

reports & theses

Optimal disturbances in three-dimensional boundary-layer flows

Pralits, Bystrom, Hanifi, Henningson, & Luchini
Ercoftac bulletin Vol. 74, pp 23-31, 2007
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. In the present paper, two different approaches to compute the optimal disturbances in the quasi threedimensional flows are presented. One of the approaches is based on the Multiple Scales method and the other one utilises the Parabolised Stability Equations.

Adjoint-Based Shape Optimization for Natural Laminar Flow Design

Amoignon, Pralits, Hanifi, Berggren, & Henningson
Ercoftac design optimization pp 1-12, 2004
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. Gradient-based shape optimization of an airfoil is performed with respect to the location of the laminar-turbulent transition in the boundary layer. The shape gradients are efficiently computed based on the solutions of the adjoint equations of the Euler, boundary-layer and stability equations. Results show a reduction of the total amplification of a large number of disturbances, which is assumed to represent a delay of the transition in the boundary layer. As delay of the transition implies reduction of the viscous drag, the present method enables shape optimization to perform viscous drag reduction.

Optimal Design of Natural and Hybrid Laminar Flow Control on Wings

PhD Thesis KTH, Stockholm, pp 1-251, 2003
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. Methods for optimal design of different means of control are developed in this thesis. The main purpose is to maintain the laminar flow on wings at a chord Reynolds number beyond what is usually transitional or turbulent. Linear sta- bility analysis is used to compute the exponential amplification of infinitesimal disturbances, which can be used to predict the location of laminar-turbulent transition. The controls are computed using gradient-based optimization tech- niques where the aim is to minimize an objective function based upon, or re- lated to, the disturbance growth. The gradients of the objective functions with respect to the controls are evaluated from the solutions of adjoint equations. Sensitivity analysis using the gradients of the disturbance kinetic energy with respect to different periodic forcing show where and by what means control is most efficiently made. The results are presented for flat plate boundary layer flows with different free stream Mach numbers. A method to compute optimal steady suction distributions to minimize the disturbance kinetic energy is presented for both incompressible and compress- ible boundary layer flows. It is shown how to formulate an objective function in order to minimize simultaneously different types of disturbances which might exist in two, and three-dimensional boundary layer flows. The problem for- mulation also includes control by means of realistic pressure chambers, and results are presented where the method is applied on a swept wing designed for commercial aircraft. Optimal temperature distributions for disturbance control are presented for flat plate boundary layer flows. It is shown that the efficiency of the control depends both on the free stream Mach number, and whether the wall down- stream of the control domain is insulated, or heat transfer occurs. Shape optimization is presented with the aim of reducing the aerodynamic drag, while maintaining operational properties. Results of optimized airfoils are presented for cases where both the disturbance kinetic energy, and wave drag are reduced simultaneously while lift, and pitch-moment coefficients as well as the volume are kept at desired values.

abstracts & proceedings

Modello minimale per instabilità simil-elastiche in fluidi non-Newtoniani

Boi, Mazzino & Pralits
Atti del XXXIV Convegno Nazionale di Idraulica e Costruzioni idrauliche Bari, pp 85-86, 2014
[abstract] [poster]



Fluidodinamica della camera anteriore dell'occhio in presenza di lenti intraoculari

Repetto, Pralits & Siggers
Atti del XXXIV Convegno Nazionale di Idraulica e Costruzioni idrauliche Bari, pp 101-102, 2014
[abstract] [poster]


Abstract. Purpose: To investigate the effects of implantation of a phakic iris-fixated intraocular lens (IOL) on aqueous flow in the anterior chamber. Methods: We use a mathematical model to study fluid flow in the anterior chamber in the presence of a IOL. The governing equations are solved numerically using the free software OpenFoam. Results: IOL implantation has very little influence on the pressure in the anterior chamber, unless the IOL is placed very close to the iris. The presence of the IOL significantly modifies the thermal flow induced by temperature differences between the cornea and the posterior region of the chamber. The maximum corneal WSS does not increase for normal IOL placement. Relatively large values of the WSS can be attained on the iris. Conclusions: The numerical simulations suggest that cell detachment from the iris and cornea, which is a known possible complication of IOL implantation, is not induced by large values of the WSS. In the case of correct IOL placement the intraocular pressure (IOP) is almost unaffected.

Alcuni aspetti della meccanica di un fluido tamponante all'interno della camera vitrea dell'occhio

Isakova, Repetto & Pralits
Atti del XXXIV Convegno Nazionale di Idraulica e Costruzioni idrauliche Bari, pp 93-94, 2014



Dosaggio ottimo e mixing in un micro-canale

Pralits, Mazzino & Mussetti
Atti del XXXIV Convegno Nazionale di Idraulica e Costruzioni idrauliche Bari, pp 89-90, 2014
[abstract] [talk]


Abstract. Il controllo del mixing nei micro-canali, di dimensioni nell’ordine del micron, è un problema di estrema importanza in molte applicazioni scientifiche ed industriali, che vanno dalla biochimica fino alle tecnologie per l’informazione. Se da un lato le tecnologie miniaturizzate hanno l’indubbio vantaggio di utilizzare una ridotta quantità di fluido, dall’altro hanno dimensioni tali da inibire le instabilità idrodinamiche, rendendo estremamente lento il processo di mixing. Due differenti approcci sono tipicamente utilizzati per indurre mixing: sistemi attivi, in cui il disturbo è generato da una forza esterna tempo-dipendente, e sistemi passivi, in cui ci si affida interamente alla diffusione molecolare e/o caotica. Il presente lavoro dimostra come, controllando l’iniezione, sia possibile incrementare efficacia ed efficienza del mixing di un tracciante in un micro-canale.

Stability of the interface between two immiscible fluids over a periodically oscillating flat surface

Isakova, Pralits, Repetto & Romano
Atti del XXI congresso dell'Associazione italiana di meccanica teorica e applicata Torino, pp 1-10, 2013
[abstract] [pdf] [talk]


Abstract. We consider a flat solid surface located at y = 0, performing sinusoidal oscillations along the x–direction, with (x, y) being a Cartesian system of coordinates. We assume that two immiscible fluids occupy the region of space y>= 0. The interface between the two fluids is at y = d; fluid 1 occupies the region 0 <=y<=d, and fluid 2 extends from d to infinity. We study the linear stability of the interface using the normal mode analysis and assuming quasi-steady flow conditions, e.g. assuming that perturbations evolve on a time scale significantly smaller than the period of oscillations of the basic flow. The stability problem leads to two Orr-Sommerfeld equations for the streamfunctions in fluids 1 and 2, coupled with suitable boundary conditions. The resulting eigenvalue problem is solved numerically employing a second order finite-difference scheme and using an inverse iteration approach. The results show that instability of the interface is possible for long enough waves. We study how stability conditions depend on the dimensionless controlling parameters, showing, in particular, the relevant role played by the surface tension between the two fluids. The work represents a first attempt to understand the instability of the aqueous humour–vitreous substitute instability in vitrectomised eyes. The simple geometrical configuration considered in this work well represents the real case when the thickness of the aqueous layer in contact with the retina is much smaller than the radius of the eye, which is often the case. Our results suggest that shear instability at the aqueous humour–vitreous substitute interface is a plausible mechanism responsible for the onset of emulsification in the vitreous chamber.

Preliminary design of a small-sized flapping UAV. II. Aerodynamic Performance and Flight Stability

Guerrero, Pacioselli, Pralits, Negrello, Silvestri & Bottaro
Atti del XXI congresso dell'Associazione italiana di meccanica teorica e applicata Torino, pp 1-10, 2013
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. In this work, we present the preliminary design of a biologically inspired flapping UAV. Starting from a set of initial design specifications, namely: weight, maximum flapping frequency and the minimum hand-launch velocity of the model; we conduct a wide numerical study of the proposed avian model in terms of the aerodynamic performance and flight stability in flapping and gliding conditions. The model shape, size and flight conditions are chosen to approximate those of a seagull. Additionally, an extensive study is conducted in order to dissect the kinematics of the wings, where starting from the simplest wing kinematics we keep on adding more degrees of freedom and control parameters until reaching a functional and realistic wing kinematics. The results give us an initial insight of the aerodynamic performance and flight stability of a biomimetic flapping UAV designed at minimum flight velocity and maximum flapping frequency.

Dynamics of porous filaments in a uniform flow

Natali, Pralits, Mazzino & Bottaro
Atti del XXI congresso dell'Associazione italiana di meccanica teorica e applicata Torino, pp 1-10, 2013
[abstract] [talk]



Elastic-like instabilites in non-Newtonian parallel flows

Boi, Mazzino & Pralits
10th ERCOFTAC SIG33 workshop. Progress in Transition Modeling and Control Sandhamn, Sweden, 2013


Abstract. Mixing control in fluid environments having very low Reynolds numbers is a crucial need for many practical purposes ranging from biochemistry analysis in microfluidic devices, where mixing has to be rapid and efficient, to lab-on-a-chip applications, where mixing has to be reduced to avoid spurious effects as in microfluidic rheometer applications. The ability to control fluid mixing properties is clearly subjected to a deep understanding of physical mechanisms able to originate such a mixing for very small Reynolds numbers. In this respect, a simple model to capture mesoscopic effects of order-disorder transitions of an underlying non-Newtonian fluid microstructure subjected to shear is proposed and its behaviors investigated (numerically and by means of asymptotic perturbative methods) in relation to the possible emergence of fluid elatic-like instabilities occurring for arbitrarily small flow inertia (i.e. zero Reynolds numbers). A crucial ingredient for instabilities to emerge has been identified in the finite-time response of the network structure to strain where the order-disorder transition corresponds to a change from low-to-high fluid viscosity (and not viceversa). Our results generalizes the concept of ``elastic instabilities'' in viscoelastic fluids to a more general and larger class of non-Newtonian fluids.

Stability analysis of the interface between aqueous humour and vitreous substitutes in vitrectomised eyes

Isakova, Pralits, Repetto & Romano
Euromech Colloquium 533, Biomechanics of the Eye Genova, Italy, 2013
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. We study the stability of the interface between to immiscible fluids, the motion of which is induced by oscillations of a solid flat wall. The work represents a first step towards a mechanical understanding of the conditions leading to emulsification of vitreous substitute in the vitreous chamber.

Cylinder wake stabilization using a minimal energy compensator

Carini, Pralits, & Luchini
Notes on numerical fluid mechanics and multidisciplinary design 133. ERCOFTAC international symposium "Unsteady separation in fluid-structure interaction", Mykonos, Greece pp 335-348, 2013: doi 10.1007/978-3-319-27386-0
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. In the present work a linear feedback control strategy is used to control and suppress the cylinder vortex- shedding at low Reynolds numbers. The classical minimal control energy or small gain solution of the optimal control and estimation problems is exploited in order to design a full-dimensional stabilizing com- pensator of the linearized Navier–Stokes equations. Both feedback and observer gains are efficiently com- puted based solely on the knowledge of the unstable adjoint and direct global modes, respectively. In our control setup, actuation is realized by means of angular oscillations of the cylinder surface while a single velocity sensor is employed for the state estimate. The derived compensator is shown to be able to drive the flow from the natural limit cycle to the unstable steady state which is finally restored. Then the sensitivity of the control performance to sensor placement and Reynolds number is investigated.

Three-dimensional stability of the flow past a rotating cylinder

Pralits, Giannetti & Brandt
Euromech 9, Book of abstracts, 2012

Optimal control and estimation using Riccati-less approach in boundary layer flow

Semeraro, Pralits & Henningson
Euromech 9, Book of abstracts, 2012

Turbulence Appearance at the bottom of a solitary wave

Blondeaux, Pralits, & Vittori
Coastal Engineering Proceedings Vol. 1(33), pp 1-17, 2012
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. The conditions leading to transition and turbulence appearance at the bottom of a solitary waveare determined by means of a linear stability analysis of the laminar flow in the bottom boundary layer. The ratio between the wave amplitude and the thickness of the viscous bottom boundary layer is assumed to be large and a ’momentary’ criterion of instability is used. The results obtained show that the laminar regime becomes unstable, during the decelerating phase, if the height of the wave is larger than a threshold value which depends on the ratio between the boundary layer thickness and the local water depth. A comparison of the theoretical results with the experimental measurements of Sumer et al. (2010) seems to support the stability analysis.

A gradient-based optimization method for natural laminar flow design

Hanifi, Amoignon, Pralits, & Chevalier
7th IUTAM Symposium on Laminar-Turbulent Transition Stockholm, Eds. Schlatter and Henningson, pp 3-10, 2010
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. A gradient-based optimization method for minimization of the total drag of an airfoil is presented. The viscous drag is minimized by delaying the laminar- turbulent transition. The gradients are obtained solving the adojoint of the Eu- ler, boundary-layer and stability equations. The optimization is subjected to con- straints such as restrictions on geometry, lift and pitch moment. The geometry is parametrised using radial basis functions.

Riccati-less optimal control of bluff-body wakes

Pralits, & Luchini
7th IUTAM Symposium on Laminar-Turbulent Transition Stockholm, Eds. Schlatter and Henningson, pp 325-330, 2010
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. In this paper we propose a new method to solve the optimal control prob- lem in which the feedback matrix K is computed in an efficient way for com- plex flows, with large number of degrees of freedom, using an approach similar to adjoint-based control optimization. The idea is to consider the direct-adjoint sys- tem as an input-output problem where the input is given by the current state and the output is the control. Since the control has much smaller dimension than the state, the feedback matrix K can be efficiently obtained from the solution of the adjoint of the direct-adjoint system. It can further be shown using the symplectic product that the direct-adjoint system is self adjoint. As a consequence the new adjoint system is equivalent to the direct-adjoint system with suitable initial and terminal condi- tions. With this method the optimal control problem can be solved efficiently for any value of the control penalty l2. Results are presented of this novel technique as applied to suppressing the vortex shedding behind a circular cylinder, and compared to the minimal-energy feedback control presented in Pralits et al. (2008).

Structural sensitivity of the finite-amplitude vortex shedding behind a circular cylinder

Luchini, Giannetti, & Pralits
IUTAM Symposium on Unsteady Separated Flows and Their Control Corfu, Eds. Braza and Hourigan, pp 151-160, 2009
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. In this paper we study the structural sensitivity of the nonlinear periodic oscillation arising in the wake of a circular cylinder for Re47. The sensibility of the periodic state to a spatially localised feedback from velocity to force is anal- ysed by performing a structural stability analysis of the problem. The sensitivity of the vortex shedding frequency is analysed by evaluating the adjoint eigenvectors of the Floquet transition operator. The product of the resulting neutral mode with the nonlinear periodic state is then used to localise the instability core. The results ob- tained with this new approach are then compared with those derived by Giannetti & Luchini (2007). An excellent agreement is found comparing the present results with the experimental data of Strykowski & Sreenivasan (1990).

A global stability analysis of a thin-airfoil wake

Pralits, Giannetti, & Luchini
Atti del XIX Congresso AIMETA di Meccanica Teorica e Applicata Ancona, Eds. Lenci, pp 1-10, 2009
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. In this paper we review the problem of the wake-flow stability for a thin airfoil by using both a locally plane-wave analysis, based on a WKBJ approximation, and a global numerical stability analysis. The core of the instability is further localized by performing a structural sensitivity analysis of the linearized Navier-Stokes operator as outlined in Giannetti & Luchini (2007). In particular the sensitivity of the eigenvalue to a spatially-localized feedback from velocity to force is evaluated by using the product of the direct and adjoint global mode. It is shown, using a plane wave analysis, that the flow at the trailing edge is absolutely unstable for any Reynolds number for values of the parameter m corresponding to separation of the base flow. The analysis further shows that the base flow at the trailing edge is not absolutely unstable as the value of m tends to zero. The global eigenvalue analysis shows that the frequency and growth rate are very similar to what is found with the local plane wave analysis at the trailing edge. Finally, the structural sensitivity analysis indicates that the wavemaker is situated just downstream of the trailing edge.

Structural sensitivity of linear and nonlinear global modes

Luchini, Giannetti, & Pralits
5th AIAA Theoretical Fluid Mechanics Conference Seattle, pp 1-19, 2008
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. The concept of ``structural sensitivity'' of a global mode is introduced and used to study the formation of the classical Karman vortex street in the wake of a circular cylinder. By evaluating the functional derivative of the global mode frequency with respect to an external local feedback from velocity to force, we show how to locate the ``wavemaker'' of the asymptotic theory, ie the point in space where the instability originates and from which propagates as a wave in all direction. This can be done by exploiting the properties of the numerically computed direct and adjoint global eigenfunctions, without any assumptions on the quasi-parallelism of the flow. This new approach is presented both in the context of linear as well nonlinear oscillations. Finally, recent results obtained by the application of the structural sensitivity concept to the study of the secondary instability of the cylinder wake are shown and discussed.

Optimal suction design for hybrid laminar flow control

Pralits, & Hanifi
Sixth IUTAM Symposium on Laminar-Turbulent Transition Bangalore, pp 201-206, 2006
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. We present a theory for computing the optimal steady suction distribution in order to minimize the growth of convectively unstable disturbances, and thus delay laminar-turbulent transition on swept wings. Here, we use the optimal control theory and minimize an objective function based on a sum of the kinetic energy of an arbitrary number of disturbances. The optimization procedure is gradient-based where the gradients are obtained using the adjoint of the parabo- lized stability equations and the adjoint of the boundary layer equations. Results are presented for an air foil designed for medium range commercial air crafts.

Leaky waves in spatial stability analysis

Pralits, & Luchini
Atti del XVII congresso dell'Associazione italiana di meccanica teorica e applicata Firenze, pp 1-12, 2005
[abstract] [pdf]


Abstract. Linear stability analysis of flat plate boundary layers implies, for wave like perturbations, to solve the so called Orr-Sommerfeld equations which solution can be expressed in terms of a continuous, and discrete spectrum. As the number of discrete modes change with the Reynolds number, and further seem to disappear behind the continuous spectrum at certain Reynolds numbers, it is of interest to investigate if an all-discrete representation of the solution is possible. This can be done solving the response of the flat plate boundary forced instantaneously in space. Since the solution of the forced and homogeneous Laplace transformed problem both depend on the free stream boundary conditions, it is shown here that an opportune change of variables can remove the branch cut in the complex eigen value plane. As a result integration of the inversed Laplace transform along the new path corresponding to the continuous spectrum, which is now given by a straight line, equals the summation of residues of additional discrete eigen values appearing to the left of it. It is further shown that these additional modes are computed accounting for solution which grow in the wall normal direction. A similar problem is found in the theory of optical waveguides, such as optical fibers, where so called leaky waves are attenuated in the direction of the wave-guide, while it grows unbounded in a direction perpendicular to it. The theory is here applied to the case of two-dimensional flat plate boundary layers, of incompressible flows, subject to a pressure gradient.