Going with the Flow: Energy Efficient Design of Fluid Mechanical Systems


Date Thursday January 7th 2010
Time 4:00-5:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium, PARC

PARC Forum

Engineering design of fluid mechanical components and systems often starts with simplified geometries. Simple geometries such as cylinders, boxes and spheres lend themselves to mathematical analysis and to easy fabrication.  But these simple shapes are rarely the most optimal for drag reduction.  In contrast, fluid flow in nature (in the transitional and turbulent regime) resolves itself into a set of vortices of various temporal and length scales.

Biomimicry is an emerging engineering discipline that seeks to understand and adapt Nature’s best inventions to manmade systems.  I will present some of our latest applications of biomimicry to product design with the goal of improving energy efficiency in water treatment, thermal management, air conditioning and energy generation.  Biomimicry also provides a fertile ground to discuss the role of innovation in the health of natural and economic ecosystems.


Dr. Peter S. Fiske is the Vice President of Research and Development at PAX Scientific, Inc. in San Rafael, California. Prior to joining the PAX Companies, Fiske was co-founder of RAPT Industries, Inc., a start-up based on technology from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where Fiske was a staff member for 6 years.  Fiske is a nationally-recognized author and lecturer on the subject of career development for scientist and engineers and entrepreneurship and has periodic articles in Nature and AAAS's on-line publication ScienceCareers.org.  The author of more than 30 technical articles and 2 books, Fiske received his Ph.D. from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from U.C. Berkeley's Haas School of Business.  In 1996 Fiske was awarded a White House Fellowship and served as Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Special Projects.

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