This last week was a really exciting one for me! I moved to St Louis to live with my husband after living apart for almost 2 years for work reasons. I am still a postdoc at the University of Minnesota, but I am going to be working remotely from Missouri. It was quite a change to move here, considering it was snowing in Minnesota right when we left, and when we got to St Louis and it was in the 70’s and beautiful and all the leaves were still changing colors and were on the trees still. So I get two falls!
I am really excited about Ken’s interest in the grid that underlies the experiment. It’s totally new to me to think about how excited someone could be about the basic parts of a scientific experiment. The experimental grid that lays out plots is so fundamental to an experiment that most people do not even think about it as being important. I was really interested to hear about how Ken visualizes that part of the experiment as art, and how its design can add to the layers of our project (e.g.: the artistic layer of the grid, the artistic design of the plots above the grid, the layer of the wind and the moving art that goes along with the wind, etc). My goal for the next time we chat is to come up with several scalable scientific ideas to go with our narrowing vision of the plots with the grids, and then the wind turbulence. I have drawn a concept map for myself to think about the ideas.
What is so cool about our collaboration, is that both Ken and I think the other’s part should be developed first in our project (we found this out this week). So Ken thinks I should come up with the scientific idea first because he can come up with tons of cool art concepts related to the idea, and I think he should come up with the cool art ideas first because I can come up with tons of science projects to address the art. We have been working on this cool back and forth where Ken throws out a crazy idea, I talk about the scientific limitations to a study related to his art, he comes up with an art concept around the importance of plots and the underlying grid (for example), and now I’m coming up with science ideas based on the grid. I have really enjoyed this collaboration because we challenge each other to come up with new ideas, and are flexible enough to take into consideration the limitations and interests of the other. Also, as a side note: we both blogged about Tron last week without knowing the other talked about it. We are so in-sync as a team that we even talk about the same topics without knowing it!
Blogged while listening to the Budos Band.
Lauren and I have settled into our main idea of working with an urban lot to explore seed dispersal and prairie restoration. We are refining what specifically will be happening both science and art wise, but we seem to have narrowed down the choices. I chose one to focus on this week. This idea involves creating an earthwork which would affect wind movement through a space. By building mounds or ridges, the flow of wind would be altered- in effect creating turbulence from landscape structure. I took the last week to better familiarize myself with what is happening in turbulence and aerodynamics
I learned that it is pretty similar what happens in liquids and gases. They both behave the same as they move by a stationary object (or if the object moves through the fluid or gas.) In each case, the flow is affected by what it comes in contact with. It is this interaction that has an effect on the pattern of the flow and reverberates later on. Laminar flow is straight and steady, the fluids move past each other smoothly. Turbulent flow is when the movement is disrupted and uneven. Effecting this flow is the Boundary Layer- the layer of fluid that is immediately touching the object (and no movement is happening) all the way until it touches where the fluid is at maximum velocity. If this area is unmixed and a nice gradation the result is a laminar flow. If there is an uneven gradation than a turbulent flow ensues. To understand how this might happen it is good to know about the Continuity Principle- the same amount of fluid that begins moving through or around an object must be the same amount you get at the end. This accounts for fluids speeding up when it enters a narrow space and slows down when it enters a wide space. Lastly, I learned that pressure varies according to speed- faster speed= lower pressure, slower speed= high pressure. Considering that landscape structure might include ridges or narrows, one can see how the flow would be uneven- speed and pressures would vary creating an uneven boundary layer and a turbulent flow. This disruption of flow often manifests itself in vortices or eddies- small circular movements in gas and liquid that cascade following contact with an object. Common examples are visible in streams as water moves around a small rock and a trail of eddies follows.
I thought sketching these patterns might be helpful in understanding the physics of what is happening and also help visualize how this might affect a wind dispersing seed. Thinking back to this project, the earthwork would have this affect to some degree and possibly give Lauren an interesting variable to study yet also present an interesting land form to see in an urban context.