Tow Tank

Fall 2017 - Spring 2018


My senior thesis focused on a towing tank in the Fluid Dynamics lab at Pomona College.  The tank is equipped with a particle image velocimetry (PIV) imaging system so we can tow objects through water to quantitatively and qualitatively visualize flow fields.

The flow fields of two differently scaled systems are scaled versions of one another so long as the Reynolds number and the shape of the object are the same. This means we can analyze the physics of various phenomena in the tank so long as we scale the size and velocity correctly.  Initially, the tank will be used to analyze the seed dispersal of high-speed exploding plants using scaled up 3D printed recreations of the seeds.

My work on the project involved developing a more robust controls system and interface so that future experiments can be run quickly and easily.  I also setup and quantitatively verified the PIV system, conducting initial exploratory data analysis to derive body forces and other relevant flow information.

You can read my thesis here, and the tank code is on github.