Borazjani receives NSF CAREER award

by Jane Stoyle Welch

Published February 18, 2015

Iman Borazjani, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, received a 2015 NSF CAREER Award for his proposal, “Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI) in Biological Flows.”

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Educational movies that convey the research results in a simple, yet aesthetically pleasing way will be developed and made available at the Buffalo Museum of Science and on a YouTube channel.

Borazjani’s research will explore swimming and propulsion in aquatic environments, cardiovascular flows, and energy harvesting with wind turbines, by first developing accurate simulation techniques and then exploring the conditions that lead to energy efficiency.

Advanced computational tools will be developed to simulate the interaction of flow with solid bodies using high-performance computing facilities. These tools will then be used to investigate the flow separation of the front edge of the fins of aquatic swimmers, i.e., the leading edge vortex (LEV), which is thought to enhance their thrust generation.

Inspired by how these aquatic animals are naturally able to improve their thrust generation, the phenomena will be applied to wind turbines to determine if their performance can be improved by generating a stable LEV on the turbine blades. This research can generate a paradigm shift from removing flow separation to generating separation (e.g., LEV) to improve the performance of propellers or energy harvesting devices.

Outreach and education will include creating educational movies that convey the research results in a simple, yet aesthetically pleasing way, activities for professional development of local teachers, and outreach activities for high-school minority students in collaboration with the BEAM program. The videos will be added to YouTube and will be on display at the Buffalo Museum of Science.

Borazjani joined UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 2010. His research interests include developing advanced computational tools for biofluids and fluid-structure interaction problems, which are used to advance knowledge and gain insights into the physics of important biological/engineering flows.

In addition to the CAREER award, Borazjani received two early career awards in 2013: a Scientist Development grant from the American Heart Association and the Doctoral New Investigator award from the American Chemical Society. He received his PhD in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics from the University of Minnesota in 2008.

The prestigious NSF CAREER Award provides five years of funding for researchers. They are designed to support junior faculty who have shown exceptional promise in teaching and research.