Chengcheng Tao, an assistant professor in Purdue Polytechnic’s School of Construction Management Technology, is among a group of nearly 80 researchers to receive a grant in 2023 from the American Chemical Society’s Petroleum Research Fund (ACS-PRF).
The $110,000 award is a Doctoral New Investigator (DNI) grant. It is intended to support fundamental research in petroleum or fossil fuels by developing the next generation of engineers and scientists engaged in advanced scientific education. The recipients of this grant are all young faculty from nonprofit higher education institutions.
Tao is the sole principal investigator on the research project, which investigates complex oil-and-water interactions over the two substances’ travel time in long-distance pipelines. When these two discrete substances travel through one space together, it is called multiphase flow—a phenomenon that requires the researcher to have expertise in rheology, or the branch of physics concerned with the flow and shape of different forms of matter.
Tao’s research in this field seeks to enhance efficiency and energy consumption in oil transportation. Oil transportation faces challenges due to the high viscosity of crude oil fluids, but Tao hopes this research can contribute new knowledge to the industry. In the project, she will study the oil-water flow by integrating computational fluid dynamics modeling, experimental validation, and data-driven approaches.
The grant money will help her investigate factors like:
- the non-Newtonian behavior of the fluids (i.e., the fluids can behave more like a solid under certain amounts of pressure)
- operational and environmental conditions, and
- drag reducing agents
Tao’s research outcomes can be applied beyond construction into other industries like healthcare, aerospace, cosmetics and food.
“This grant provides me with a great opportunity to build connections with the American Chemical Society and expand my research area,” Tao said. “In addition, I would like to express my gratitude to the School of Construction Management Technology and Purdue Polytechnic for the support of research and junior faculty. I am excited to see the research outcomes and broader impact from this project.”
Recipients of the ACS-PRF DNI grant may only receive one award for their entire career. ACS is a non-profit scientific organization founded in 1876 and chartered by the U.S. Congress. Its mission is to “advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people.”