About TESLa

The Turbulence and Energy Systems Laboratory (TESLa) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder studies turbulence, combustion, renewable energy systems, and geophysical flows. TESLa formed in September 2012 and has grown since then as new members and collaborators are added to the group.

The motivation for the research performed at TESLa is the fundamental challenge posed by accurately predicting turbulent flows using numerical simulations. Such simulations are critical for the design of more efficient propulsion systems, optimization of energy output and turbine lifespan in large-scale wind farms, and reliable forecasting of the climate and weather, all of which require high-fidelity predictions of turbulent flows. These problems will become particularly important in the next several decades as government and market restrictions on energy production and consumption increase, and as the effects of climate change have a greater impact on human life.

Numerical simulations of these problems are complicated by the enormous range of temporal and spatial scales present, with many orders of magnitude between the largest scales of the flow and small scales where energy is dissipated. Representing this full range of scales -- either through direct solution of the Navier-Stokes equations or using models -- is the primary difficulty in simulations of turbulent flows. Direct numerical simulations (DNS) attempt to resolve all relevant scales, but the associated computational cost is prohibitive for nearly all practical applications. As a result, less computationally-intensive approaches which model some, or all, of the relevant scales -- such as large eddy simulations (LES) and Reynolds averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) approaches -- are widely used. The accuracy of these approaches depends, however, on the fidelity of the closure model used to represent the unresolved scales.

At TESLa, we use a range of simulation approaches in order to enable more accurate and reliable large-scale simulations of propulsion, energy, and climate/weather problems. DNS and LES are carried out to understand fundamental turbulent flow physics, and insights from these studies are used to develop physics-based closures for LES and RANS (or hybrid LES/RANS) simulations.

If you are interested in working with TESLa, either as a student or as a collaborator, please contact Professor Peter Hamlington at peh@colorado.edu or by phone at 303-492-0555.