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Fluid Dynamics Art Exploration: An Undergraduate Research Course

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Thermodynamics, Fluids, and Heat Transfer II

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.724.1 - 22.724.15



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Paper Authors


Robyn Akemi Nariyoshi

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Recently graduated in 2010, with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pacific, Robyn now works as a private math and physics tutor and volunteers her spare time at the Exploratorium.

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Said Shakerin University of the Pacific

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Said Shakerin has been with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of the Pacific since 1986. He was department chairman in the mid 1990s but stepped down due to a medical condition. He is a professional engineer in the state of California and he received his education from Arya-Mehr (now Sharif) University of Technology in Iran, Portland State University, Oregon State University, and Colorado State University in the USA. His scholarly interests include development of demonstration tools to enhance classroom presentation and informal science education, and design of water fountains with special effects.

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A unique undergraduate research course is reported here. The course was created for astudent to explore the fertile but not commonly practiced field of fluid mechanics art. Thesemester-long, 3-credit hour course encompassed three book reviews, one museum visit,three projects with the aim to create visually engaging 2-D and 3-D objects utilizing fluidmotion as a central theme, weekly progress reports, one final report, and participation at aresearch exhibition open to campus community. In this paper, we outline the coursestructure and content, followed by description of the three projects to illustrate how richfluid mechanics can be to assist interested students to create works of art that alsoshowcase fluid mechanics-related phenomena.The first project was to create ten distinct flow visualization photographs using safehousehold fluids, simple setups and inexpensive camera. In the second project, aninteractive device was developed with which granular flow (sand) is demonstrated in afun and mesmerizing manner. For the third project, a series of modified Hele-Shaw cellswere developed that exhibit the interaction between air bubbles and a viscous liquid(olive oil) in a museum-quality display.The participating student is a dancer/choreographer who will assemble the result of thisresearch into a portfolio to submit as part of her application to the Integrated Designprogram at Stanford University.Furthermore, the products developed in this course are suitable for use in (a) classroom toenhance lectures in fluid mechanics, and (b) outreach activities to promote science andengineering to students in primary and secondary education and general public. They canbe easily replicated at other institutions. The total budget for materials was $400, whichwas funded by an Undergraduate Research award at our university.

Nariyoshi, R. A., & Shakerin, S. (2011, June), Fluid Dynamics Art Exploration: An Undergraduate Research Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18005

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