This project seeks to develop a simplified computational fluid dynamics model to characterize the biomechanics and fluid mechanics behind cone snail feeding strikes. Cone snails feed by rapidly ejecting a venomous tooth into prey (video example). The tooth is propelled by pressurized fluid and released by a biomechanical latch when pressure builds sufficiently high. We seek to develop a simplified computational fluid dynamics model of the pressurization, release, and trajectory of the projectile tooth to evaluate at what size scale these propulsive mechanisms are most effective. This project builds on ongoing work by HMC students to develop a simplified experimental model of how wall elasticity and unlatching mechanics affect tooth propulsion. This project is also complementary to broader research efforts characterizing rapid underwater accelerations (Prof. Mendelson's Flow Imaging Lab at Mudd) and ultrafast bioinspired mechanisms (Prof. Ilton's Physics of Soft Matter lab).
The research student hired for this project will develop a simplified computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model using either commercial CFD codes or an open-source fluid-structure interaction solver.
Essay prompt: Why are you interested in working on this research project? What will you bring to the project and what do you hope to learn? Please also submit the names of two HMC professors who can comment on your work habits. It's ok if this response is short (~1-2 paragraphs).
This is an early-stage interdisciplinary project. Research students hired for this position will play a critical role in steering the direction of the study that we develop. Students will also have the opportunity to work with both the Flow Imaging Lab at Mudd (PI: Mendelson) and the Physics of Soft Matter Lab (PI: Ilton).