Date of Award

Winter 2014

Project Type


Program or Major

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Joseph Klewicki

Second Advisor

Christopher White

Third Advisor

Benjamin Chandran


Energy in turbulent flows is transported down coherent vortical structures of different shapes and sizes. Experiments have shown that the vortical structures contain field lines that are curved in nature. Several procedures have been investigated to determine the size and location of the coherent vortical motions, as of yet there has not been a widely accepted method that exactly depicts these structures. Among the current methods of determining the coherent features of the flow, structures determined by the second largest eigenvalue of the symmetric part of the gradient of the Navier-Stokes equation has received recent attention. Another method proposed is to investigate the local geometry of the streamlines. The present study employs a numerical program to evaluate the Frenet-Serret apparatus that provides a basis to compare curves or surfaces. This tool provides values of curvature and torsion which aid in the determination of vortical motions in the flow and are used to determine the dynamical properties that form these coherent motions.