Nick Chen, 2020, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

The goal of my project was to characterize the torques and forces exerted on a plate oscillating due to vortex-induced vibration (VIV), a phenomenon that can cause structures such as road signs and billboards to shake violently in heavy winds. While VIV has obvious destructive potential, my work focused on converting these naturally occurring oscillations into an alternative energy source. My primary task was to design a device analogous to a road sign that could undergo torsional oscillation due to VIV in the lab’s water channel and/ or wind tunnel. Through my attempts to design a working test device, I ultimately contributed data and analysis showing that the experiment was unfortunately not feasible in the lab’s facilities, and came up with possible progress steps and changes to the device that may allow the experiment to be completed in the future. Working on this project exposed me to several applications of fluid dynamics and mechanical engineering, and introduced me to graduate and professional-level studies in engineering research.