Prestigious Amelia Earhart Fellowship Awarded to MAE Grad Student

Arezoo M. Ardekani receives $10,000 fellowship from Zonta International


Fourth-year mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate student, Arezoo M. Ardekani, has been awarded an Amelia Earhart Fellowship from Zonta International, a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy.  Ardekani, a student studying in Professor and MAE Department Chair Roger Rangel’s multiphase heat transfer and fluid dynamics laboratory, will receive $10,000 to continue her research in multiphase flows. 

The fellowship was established in 1938 in honor of Amelia Earhart, famed pilot and Zonta club member, and is granted annually to women pursuing doctoral degrees in aerospace-related sciences and engineering with superior academic records and outstanding accomplishments.

Ardekani’s research focuses on the motion of solid particles in fluids, which plays an important role in sedimentation, crystal growth, filtration, suspension rheology, microfluidic devices, and several other natural and industrial applications.  In order to explain the basic physics of the particles’ interaction and collision processes, she has developed a Distributed-Lagrange-Multiplier-based computational method for analyzing colliding particles in a solid-fluid system. Using this method, the collision between particles is simulated and the effect of the particles’ roughness on the rebound velocity is studied. This is an important step toward the fundamental understanding of particle-liquid interaction.

She also studies the theoretical analysis of dilute particulate flow, and has investigated particles’ interaction in viscoelastic liquids, or polymer solutions.  Ardekani is currently researching the limits of particle and liquid properties and flow fields – or the velocity field – for which particles aggregate, or gather together, in viscoelastic fluids.  Her current study will determine the conditions under which small particles in the fluid track the flow of the fluid, and can be used for particle image velocimetry (PIV). 

The basic assumption of PIV, an optical method used to measure velocities and related properties in fluids, is that small particles seeded in fluid will not interact in the flow of the fluid, but will follow the flow dynamics. Understanding the range of parameters at which the interaction and chaining of particles occurs will have an impact on several applications in oil, composite, food, and pharmaceutical industries.

Ardekani received her B.Sc. degree with honor in mechanical engineering in 2003 from Sharif University of Technology, Iran, with a focus on dynamics and control. She was also a gold medal recipient at the National Physics Olympiad in 1998, and was awarded both the first place and technical innovation awards for the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence-2002 robot competition and exhibition as a member of the Hanif Rescue-Robot team.  She received a Society of Women Engineers Orange County fellowship, and is selected as the first-ranked nominee of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering for the Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship.

Zonta International seeks to improve the legal, political, economic, health, educational, and professional status of women through service and advocacy.  Zonta International’s nearly 33,000 members belong to more than 1,200 Zonta Clubs in 67 countries and geographic areas.

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