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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Brazilian Students Work With ODU Engineering Researcher This Summer

Seven Brazilian engineering students were at Old Dominion University for 12 weeks this summer, working on the issue of erosion in pipelines with Orlando Ayala, assistant professor of engineering technology in the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology.

The students knew little about Old Dominion and Norfolk before arriving on campus, but left armed with knowledge and hands-on experience.

"This summer at Old Dominion University brought me a lot of good memories," said Brazilian student Alina Arocha. "As an exchange student, this opportunity of doing a research at an American university with an experienced professor is excellent for my future career and unique in my life."

Erosion is a significant problem in many industrial and environmental applications, and is associated with pipeline failure because of particle presence in a carrier fluid flow.

Erosion may cause malfunction of equipment attached to pipelines, or even their complete failure in significant events. A 1994 tally estimated that erosion or corrosion problems cost U.S. industries $15 billion per year.

Even though it is an important problem, the full picture of the erosion issue in pipelines is far from complete. Most of the proposed solutions to minimize erosion have been through the use of special pipe materials. Old Dominion's Ayala is among few researchers who have made attempts to minimize the erosion in bends by modifying the bend configuration in order to alter the particle-laden flow pattern.

At Old Dominion, the students learned about computational fluid dynamics (CFD) while using the software COMSOL Multiphysics, and applied the tool to research particle-laden fluid flow erosion through pipeline bends they had designed. The students will present their research at the COMSOL Conference 2015 in Boston in October.

The students were the recipients of the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP) grant. BSMP is an initiative of the government of Brazil through a sponsoring organization, CAPES, which provides funding for the scholarship.

The program gives students an opportunity to get involved in an internship or research related to their field of study.

Funding for the students' tuition, housing and living expenses was paid by the Brazilian government through the Institute of International Education.

"I was really impressed with the quality and dedication of the students in this group," said Ayala, who plans to host another group of Brazilian students next year to continue his research on erosion in pipelines and other related topics using CFD.

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