The research group of Constructal Theory, which is led by the teachers Elizaldo Domingues dos Santos and Luiz Alberto Oliveira Rocha,has been working in the School of Engineering of Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (EE/FURG) since 2007. The group has actually 5 researchers of the institution and other 4 of collaborating universities (UFRGS, IFRS and IFPR). The main purposes of the research group are: perform studies to encourage researchers, students and engineers to seek for optimized geometries in several engineering problems by means of Constructal Theory, reinforce the scientific and technological research activities of the School of Engineering of FURG, establish relation with other research groups of FURG and other universities, allowing the exchange of knowledge, resources and professionals, the dissemination of Constructal Theory for employment of several fields of science and the generation of human resources to work in this area. The Constructal Theory has been employed to demonstrate that any geometric configuration of flux systems found in nature (cross section of rivers, turbulence, animals shape, cracks in soils and others) can be predict deterministically. According to Constructal Law, all geometry submitted to any kind of flux or flow can be optimized. The flux is malleable and the geometry is deduced from the physical principle of optimal distribution of imperfections which led to the maximization of the global performance. For the optimization, the geometry must be submitted to global restrictions and modified according to their degrees of freedom. The employment of the same principle for the optimization of engineering problems is named as Constructal Design. The research group of Constructal Theory has been dedicated to the study of fluid mechanics, heat transfer, energy, solid mechanics problems and others. These studies have led to a large number of periodic and proceedings publications, as well as, the generation of new qualified professionals. Moreover, the group has approved research projects to obtain financial support from promoting agencies (CNPq, PIBIC/CNPq, FAPERGS and CAPES).
The research lines of the group are optimization of Transport Phenomena Problems: in this research activity it has been numerically approached the geometrical optimization of bifurcated channels used for water and resin distribution, optimization of cavities and fins with application to heat exchangers and optimization of refrigeration devices and equipment (Figure 1);Geometric Optimization of Turbulent Flows: in this research activity it has been numerically approached the geometrical optimization of turbulent channel flows with convection and/or thermal radiation heat transfer in participant media with applications to combustion chambers and exhaust of combustion chambers, tube arranges for application to heat exchangers and tube-vortex devices (used in refrigeration and climatization processes) (Figure 2);Geometric Optimization of Wave Energy Converters: in this research activity it has been numerically approached the geometrical optimization of the main operational principle of two wave energy converters (oscillating water column and overtopping). Moreover, it has been studied the geometric optimization of soil-air heat exchangers; Geometrical Optimization of Solid Mechanic Problems: In this research activity it has been performed the geometric optimization of plates submitted to various loads (mainly tension and buckling).
Figure 1 – Topologies of temperature field illustrating the influence of the ratio between the thickness and length of bifurcated branch (H1/L1) over the highest temperature obtained in the domain.
Figure 2 – Influence of the angle of the cylinders pair over the temperature field of a turbulent flow.