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MIT Furthers Resistive Force Theory

Ronald Klaus

Dr. Ronald (Ron) Klaus serves as the Ethiopia director for Hope in View, an international faith-based ministry. Though his focus is currently spiritual, Dr. Ronald Klaus is also well versed in thermodynamics, chemical engineering, and fluid mechanics.

Researchers at MIT recently developed a simple equation that will have many useful applications in fluid dynamics. The equation builds on resistive force theory (RFT), an idea that has been around since the 1950s. RFT is useful for describing and predicting the way objects will move through viscous fluids or many tiny granules such as sand.

Interestingly, the principles behind RFT work even better for granular materials than they do for fluids. Scientists were unsure about why this is until MIT's breakthrough. Researchers developed a comprehensive mechanical explanation for the phenomenon, and are now successfully applying the same ideas to highly viscous gels and other pasty and sticky materials.

Now that scientists have a better understanding of the underlying principles, they have increased confidence in RFT and its many applications.


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