ASE/EM Faculty Win Grand Challenge Awards

October 30, 2018

photos of grand challenge faculty winners
2018 ICES Grand Challenge Awardees Professors John Foster, David Goldstein, Greg Rodin

Three ASE/EM faculty members, David Goldstein, Greg Rodin and John Foster, received ICES 2018 W. A. "Tex" Moncrief Grand Challenge Awards based on their highly compelling research proposals related to the Grand Challenges in computational engineering and sciences that affect the competitiveness and international standing of the nation.

The Institute of Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) will provide these faculty with necessary resources to cover release time from teaching for one or more semesters to work on their research. Stipends of up to $75,000 per award per semester are provided to cover salary and other expenses.

Goldstein, a professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics, will apply his award to improve understanding above the atmosphere in near-Earth space. Here the “space weather” environment is becoming increasingly important to understand due to its influence on space operations and communications. Goldstein, who holds the endowed position of Hayden Head Centennial Professor, will use the grant to further develop his direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) planet scale simulation to simulate upper atmospheric conditions a couple of days into the future, better than is currently possible.

Rodin, a professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics, will study several aspects of fracture mechanics that include three-dimensional features of crack growth particularly relevant to such diverse applications as hydraulic fracturing and rupture of amniotic sacs. Rodin, who holds the endowed position of Temple Foundation Endowed Faculty Fellow No. 6, notes that recent applications involving hydraulic fracturing, aging infrastructure, and biomechanics require not only more complex three-dimensional models, but also modeling of various chemical and transport processes.

Foster, an associate professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics, and petroleum and geosystems engineering, will use his award to address the shortcomings of the current computational models related to subsurface fluid flow in unconventional oil reservoirs. Foster, who holds the endowed position of fellow of the George H. Fancher Professorship in Petroleum Engineering, hopes the research will improve understanding of fluid flow in unconventional reservoirs to provide improved predictions, physical insight, and decision making for regulatory measures, environmental impact, and resource and water stewardship. Additionally, the newly-developed models will be applicable outside of unconventional reservoirs, such as enhanced geothermal energy applications, and contaminant transport in fractured aquifers.