Fluid dynamics of peloton formation

In competitive cycling, a “peloton” is a group of riders that travels together in formation in order to reduce drag and save energy. The shape of the peloton will change depending on headwind and sidewind and the strategy of individual riders or teams of riders.

In this project, we will study the fluid dynamics of cycling pelotons and investigate how collective behavior of cyclists can lead to peloton formation under different scenarios. No fluid dynamics knowledge is required, but Python programming experience is essential.

This project is jointly supervised by Dr Shane Keating (UNSW Sydney) and Dr Geoff Vasil (U. Sydney). Please contact s.keating@unsw.edu.au for more information.

Submit your application by Oct 26 2018 for commencement in Term 1, 2019.


Geoffrey Vasil

Geoff Vasil is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sydney. His main research interests are the area of nonlinear dynamics of astrophysical and geophysical fluid systems. Geoff completed his PhD research at the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA in 2008 and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics in Toronto, Canada before joining the faculty of the University of Sydney.

One of Geoff’s specific projects is working toward a better understanding of the how the Sun manufactures global magnetic fields on an eleven-year cycle. Also, Geoff is interested in many of the basic ingredients that make up systems like the Sun. To this end, he is actively working on understanding the fundamental laws of heat transport in turbulent convection systems. He has made fundamental progress in understanding the mechanism of baroclinic instability in the presence of convection. This will have a number of consequences for understanding the dynamics of the atmospheres of the giant planets such as Jupiter and Saturn, as well as accretion disks.

Geoff also is interested in the difficult computational aspect that accompany many problems in astrophysics and geophysics. He is continuing work on modeling systems with extreme disparities in timescales, both analytically and numerically. He is one of the founding developers of the Dedalus Project, an open-source MPI-parallelized python library to solve partial differential equations, in particular those that arise in the field of fluid dynamics.

Personal website
Dedalus Project
University of Sydney School of Mathematics and Statistics

Dedalus workshop at ANU

Join us in Canberra this Fri Aug 24 for a special workshop on Dedalus, an open-source spectral PDE solver for Python.

Dedalus is a flexible framework for spectrally solving differential equations. Although it was developed for use in fluid dynamics research, Dedalus can be applied to any initial-value, boundary-value, and eigenvalue problems involving nearly arbitrary equations sets. You build a spectrally-representable domain, symbolically specify equations and boundary conditions, select a numerical solver, and go.


The workshop will be held at ANU’s Research School for Earth Science, and will begin with a seminar by Dedalus developer Dr Geoffrey Vallis (U. Sydney), followed by a hands-on workshop.

For more details please contact Taimoor Sohail.

When: Friday 24th August 2018, 1-3pm

Where: Hales Room, Jaeger 7, ANU Research School for Earth Science.

About the main image: Simulation of 2D flow over a wing-shaped obstacle with moderate Reynolds number (Re ~ 100). The flow is visualised by advecting a passive tracer concentration field; released from a perpetual localised source on the left-side of the domain. The wing is implemented with a volume-penalised immersed boundary method. Credit: Eric Hestor (U. Sydney).

To watch a movie of this and other examples, visit the Dedalus Project Vimeo page.