In This Section

Students find answers inside fluid dynamics laboratory at CCU

June 14, 2018
Faculty and students use the fluid dynamics laboratory, housed in the Coastal Science Center on east campus, to perform environmental fluid research as it relates to environmental systems. Ph.D. student Vivian Turner uses seeding particles, a laser and an high-speed camera to determine several factors in relation to shark dorsal fins.Faculty and students use the fluid dynamics laboratory, housed in the Coastal Science Center on east campus, to perform environmental fluid research as it relates to environmental systems.

Which is better: one dorsal fin or two? That's what Ph.D. candidate Vivian Turner is researching inside the fluid dynamics laboratory at Coastal Carolina University.

Faculty and students use the fluid dynamics laboratory, housed in the Coastal Science Center on east campus, to perform environmental fluid research as it relates to environmental systems. Using the flume, an open water channel where researchers can deliver water in a controlled manner, they investigate flow phenomena associated with coastal ocean processes.

One way they do this is through the use of seeding particles, which go with the flow of the water. The students use a high-powered laser to create a light sheet and a high-speed camera that captures an image of the light sheet as the particles go by to extract velocity data. Turner uses that data to calculate such factors as velocity deficit, lift and drag behind one and two dorsal fins.

Turner said the purpose of her research is to gain a general baseline understanding of lemon sharks specifically and why they are the way they are. Her research has the potential to be used in the engineering of underwater vehicles to make them more efficient, but for now, she's focused on the sharks.

"The lab is versatile and we encourage collaborative work," said Roi Gurka, associate professor of coastal and marine systems science. "We have a wide range of topics and a wide range of students doing a variety of things. We want everyone to work together and help each other."

Assistant Professor Erin Hackett echoed that sentiment.

"We try to promote a group environment," she said. "Science is not done in isolation and you need to work together in order to achieve goals. That isn't just true in the lab, but it's true in life."

Learn more about the College of Science facilities and instrumentation here.