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A. V. Anilkumar

Mark Dalton Director of Experiential Learning in Aerospace Engineering
Professor of the Practice of Aerospace Engineering
Professor of the Practice of Mechanical Engineering
Director Vanderbilt Aerospace Design Laboratory

Mechanical Engineering

Intellectual Neighborhoods

Research Focus

Professor Anilkumar is a Space Scientist, Aerospace Engineer, and Educator. His research interests are in the areas of aero-propulsion, energy conversion, and microgravity materials processing. He has been a scientific investigator of microgravity fluid physics and materials processing transport phenomena on experiments conducted on Space Shuttle Flights and on the International Space Station. In 2007, Dr. Anilkumar founded the Vanderbilt Aerospace Design Laboratory which is at the forefront of the design of novel, rocket-flyable, payload systems that highlight major challenges in space exploration and energy conversion.

Current Projects

Design and testing of energy conversion and flight control devices through low-altitude rocket flight ,
VADL is an interdisciplinary Aerospace Engineering Research and Development Laboratory specializing in the design of expert systems and novel rocket-flyable payloads and energy conversion devices. VADL's members originate from ME, CompE, EE, and CS backgrounds. VADL's research is focused on the development of launch vehicle structural health monitoring systems, and engine lubrication health monitoring systems. VADL project teams compete at NASA competitions. To date, VADL has graduated more than a hundred Alumni, most of whom are pursuing careers in Aerospace Engineering.

VUSE-MWS Renewable Energy Showcase
In collaboration with Nashville Metro Water Services (MWS), we have set up a wind-solar renewable energy site at Love Hill near Vanderbilt Campus. The main purpose of this project is to examine the feasibility of renewable energy production through solar and wind facilities. Love Hill is one of the highest points in Nashville and the windspeeds atop the hill are high enough for wind power generation, especially during the windy months of November through April. In the first phase of the project, a wind monitoring station was set up at Love Hill to measure and establish analytical boundary layer models for wind speed up the hill and for wind power production.

Experimental study of the dynamics of drops and bubbles with applications to Materials Processing and Biomedical Engineering
In collaboration with scientists at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, we examine the issues of porosity formation and thermocapillary-based bubble migration during controlled directional solidification. Conducted with transparent metal analogues, this study has direct implications to all materials processing experiments in Space. The ground-based counterpart experiments are examining porosity formation in microchannels. Another Space-based collaborative experiment examines the fluid physics of soldering in Space. The focus of this study is the surface-tension dominated behavior of molten solder and residual flux during melting and solidification, along with the problem of porosity formation in solder joints.

Sample Publications

  1. A.V. Anilkumar, C.P. Lee, and T.G. Wang, ‘Stability of an acoustically levitated and flattened drop: an experimental study,’ Physics of Fluids a 5(11), 1993, pp. 2763-2774.
  2. T.G. Wang, A.V. Anilkumar, C.P. Lee, and K.C. Lin, ‘Bifurcation of rotating liquid drops: results form USML-1 experiments in Space’, Journal of Fluid Mechanics 276, 1994, pp. 389-403.
  3. C.P. Lee, A.V. Anilkumar, and T.G. Wang, ‘Static shape of an acoustically levitated drop with wave-drop interaction,’ Physics of Fluids 6(11), 1994, pp. 3554-3566.
  4. R.N. Grugel, X.F. Shen, A.V. Anilkumar, and T.G. Wang, ‘The influence of vibration on microstructural uniformity during floating-zone crystal growth,’ Journal of Crystal Growth 142, 1994, pp. 209-214.
  5. T.G. Wang, A.V. Anilkumar, and C.P. Lee, ‘Oscillations of liquid drops: results of USML-1 experiments in Space’, Journal of Fluid Mechanics 308, 1996, pp. 1-14.
  6. I. Lacik, A.V. Anilkumar, M. Brissova, A.C. Powers, and T.G. Wang, ‘New capsule with tailored properties for the encapsulation of living cells,’ Journal of Biomedical Materials Research 39(1), 1998, pp. 61-70.
  7. A.V. Anilkumar, T.G. Wang, and I. Lacik, ‘A novel reactor for making uniform capsules,’ Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 75 (5), 2001, pp. 581-589.
  8. Q. Deng, A.V. Anilkumar, and T.G. Wang, ‘Role of viscosity and surface tension in bubble entrapment during liquid drop impact onto surface of a deep liquid pool,’ J. Fluid Mech. (2007), vol. 578, pp. 119-138.
  9. M.C. Cox, A.V. Anilkumar, R.N. Grugel and C.P. Lee, ‘Effect of stepwise change in processing pressure on isolated pore growth during controlled directional solidification in small channels,’ Journal of Crystal Growth 311 (2009), pp. 327-336.
  10. Q. Deng, A.V. Anilkumar, and T.G. Wang, ‘The phenomenon of bubble entrapment during capsule formation,’ Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 333 (2009), 523-532.
  11. Adam Smith and Amrutur Anilkumar, ‘Friction Factor Evaluation of Replaceable-Element and Conventional Oil Filters in a Precision Benchtop Test Facility,’ SAE Int. J. Fuels Lubr. 15(3), 2022.
  12. Cameron Schepner, David Schafer, and Amrutur Anilkumar, ‘In Situ Assessment of Lubricant Flow Characteristics and Oil Quality Sensor Performance - Part A: Flow Visualization’ submitted to SAE International Journal of Fuels and Lubricants, January 2023.