Special Topic: Independent Study in Rheology

Ongoing Research Project at MET Department, SPSU

Assistant Professor Simin Nasseri

Starting from Fall 2007,

(CRN:  3195 – MET 4903 )/ 001- 3 Credits, 16 Weeks



Goals: In this course, the student will carry out some form of research associated with my overall research program in Rheology and viscoelasticity. Most of the work focuses on laboratory experiments in which we develop an apparatus for “analyzing the rising fluid bubbles through vertical columns of liquid of a different viscosity.”


Depending on the exact project, the student will learn


Along the way, the student may build skills in personal and workstation computer use, image processing techniques, data visualization techniques, photography, video, plumbing, metal work, electronics, oral and written presentations, and also fundamentals of fluid mechanics, rheology and viscoelasticity.


Most of the focus of this experience is on hands-on laboratory and computer work. Still, the student will have to demonstrate that he/she has the basic physics underlying the work; both the overall research goals (experimental analysis of the motion inside the bubbles) and the specific topics related to the project (the effect of mechanical properties of the fluids studied on the pattern and motion of the bubbles formed).


To start with, the student will be assigned to read the appropriate original proposal, as well as some related journal articles and other internet/library resources. There are also no homework sets or exams for this project. However, he/she has to follow the guidelines set by me in order to reach the ultimate goal. The student will get guidance in all stages of the project, but no hand-holding. This is a very independent study in that sense.


Since the work that the student does will be used by other students down the line, he/she must be able to organize and present technical information. In addition, courses in fluids and thermo will help them understand the basis of their work. I will provide the student with information on viscoelasticity and rheology.



Prerequisites: Physics I and II, Fluid Mechanics (taking it as a co-requisite is also acceptable).


Course Format: During the first few weeks of the semester, there will be a one hour lecture each week covering research in general. A few more lectures may be devoted to Rheology and reviewing the research articles related to this project. Usually there are about 6 lectures all together.


A few weeks into the semester, the student has a clear understanding of the apparatus she/he has to develop and all different parts of it and their functions is written in a table. After that, a schematic view of the apparatus is drawn.


Thereafter, the student provides a list of parts that should be purchased, indicating the material and cost of each item. In the middle of the semester the student has to set up the apparatus and check it and make sure that:


After setting up the apparatus, the student will give a 15 minute oral presentation to the MET students and faculty, describing the project and its background. This information will form the introduction for the final report or paper, but the student will need to understand it early on. In addition, the student will write a 1 page summary setting out their exact goals for the semester, while he/she is conducting experimental tests.


The student will also need to schedule a time to meet with his/her supervisor on a regular basis. Meeting lengths can range from 1 hours to 1.5 hour. Attendance at these meetings is important. Every week, the student will submit a half-to-one page summary of the week's accomplishments, and the plans for the next week.


Two weeks before the end of the semester, the student must submit the final report (including all figures). I will edit this version, and indicate changes to be made. The final report will be in lieu of a final exam. The requirements for the final report are described in a separate document.


Experimental apparatus, methods, and fluids


The details are not placed on the internet for copyright purposes.


Grading: Grades for this independent study course will be assigned based on the performance over the course of the semester; including the completion of a significant amount of work, the quality of the work, the quality of the final report, and individual displays of common sense, talent, responsibility, creativity, critical thinking, and initiative. Similarly, displays of carelessness, sloppy work, or lack of adequate time commitment can lose the student some points.



Here is a breakdown of how the grade is determined:



[90 - 100% = A,  80 - 89% = B,  70 - 79% = C,  60 - 69% = D,  Below 60% = F]