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Patrick Doyle, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, has been awarded the 2005 Doherty Professorship in Ocean Utilization from the MIT Sea Grant College Program. Every year, the program selects one or two new faculty members for a supplemental award of $25,000 per year for two years.
Doyle's research focuses on understanding the dynamics of single polymers and biomolecules under forces and fields. His Doherty-funded work will focus on reducing the frictional drag on ships and underwater vehicles.
In the marine environment, suppressing turbulence is key to reducing drag. Controlling turbulence can also help limit the associated noise that may disturb the environment, affect sonar in a submarine, or inhibit the fine-scale maneuvering of a vessel.
While it is known that the addition of a small amount of polymer to a fluid can reduce turbulence, the precise mechanism of that phenomenon is poorly understood. By reliably measuring elongational viscosities and comparing these to molecular simulations, Doyle expects to increase that understanding and the ability to effectively reduce drag.
In 2004, the two-year Doherty was awarded to Anette Hosoi, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Hosoi's Doherty-funded research focuses on the experimental and numerical investigation of oceanic particle-laden flows. The findings should increase understanding of the potential risks in offshore construction, ocean exploration, and options for eliminating waste products.
The Doherty Fellowship, endowed by the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation, encourages promising, non-tenured professors to undertake marine-related research that will further innovative uses of the ocean's resources. The area of research may address any aspect of marine use and/or management, whether social, political, environmental, or technological.