Prof. Alexandra H Techet

Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering
Director, Experimental Hydrodynamics Laboratory

Primary DLC

Department of Mechanical Engineering

MIT Room: 5-230


Maria Riefstahl

Areas of Interest and Expertise

Large-Scale Experimental Hydrodynamics
Breaking Waves
Wave/Structure Interactions
Biomimetic Underwater Vehicle Propulsion
Fish and Snake-Like Swimming and Maneuvering
Vortex Induced Vibrations (VIV)
PIV and Flow Visualization

Research Summary

Today's push towards high speed and highly maneuverable underwater and surface vehicles requires further understanding of the complex unsteady hydrodynamics at high Reynolds numbers on the order 10^6 and higher. Vehicle design is strongly dependent on the accurate modeling of flow across a wide range of scales. Professor Techet's research focuses on experimental marine hydrodynamics with applications to advanced surface ship, offshore platform and underwater vehicle design. Her work includes unsteady hydrodynamics at high Reynolds numbers (>10 5 ), such as fluid-structure interactions, boundary layer control through fish-like swimming motion, live fish swimming and maneuvering, and chaotic free-surface flows about structures such as high speed surface vessels.

Research into such complex hydrodynamic phenomena has direct implications on the design of vessels and structures operating in the ocean, as well as other areas of fluid dynamics such as boundary layers and wakes, internal flows, and geological and environmental flows. Techet is also interested in the development of non-invasive flow measurement and visualization methods, including two- and three-dimensional particle image velocimetry (PIV), fluid shear stress measurement techniques and MEMS based flow sensors. Professor Techet was awarded the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigators Award to study the dynamics of breaking waves, on both the air and water side of the fluid interface, including the effect of spray. In this project she uses quantitative flow measurement and visualization techniques, such as Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) and high speed digital imaging, to capture the complex, near-surface hydrodynamics about high speed ships, such as spilling and breaking waves and spray generation at the ship's bow. Her studies of wave breaking on the surface of the ocean have direct applications in the area of ocean science as well as engineering.

Recent Work