Written by: Kelsey Swenson, IIDS Scientific Writing Intern

Falcon’s speed and efficiency enables the Center for Ecohydraulics Research to carve out their own niche in the world of hydraulics.

“With Falcon, we can go finer, we can go deeper, and we’re able to not only calculate but also explore how the flow behaves,” says Angel Monsalve Sepúlveda, a postdoctoral fellow with the University of Idaho. Using Falcon simulations, Monsalve can visualize the whole water flow, or the “flow field” in greater detail, a huge step up from the relatively small regions they can observe in the lab.

The models show the three-dimensional and temporal characteristics of the water’s subsurface flowing through sediment, a hidden aspect of the flow they can now test using Falcon. By changing parameters like topography and pressure, the simulations reproduce and expand upon what they see in the lab.

Currently, they are working on three related projects, including the effect of vegetation on subsurface water, surface and water interaction with roughness elements, and subsurface water in salmon spawning areas. Understanding these elements could help biologists protect the integrity of an ecosystem.

The simulations that normally take them at least two months to complete using previous clusters now take only a few days. These resource-intensive simulations are nearly impossible on a personal computer. But with Falcon, the Center is capturing data from all three dimensions of water flows (air, water and subsurface) quickly and efficiently.

“I have had a really great experience with the people managing Falcon,” says Monsalve, who reports that the staff usually answer his questions within the hour.

“Our simulations are super demanding on resources and Falcon has given us those resources,” he says. The standards of ecohydraulics research are fast improving as Monsalve and the Center for Ecohydraulics Research team quickly push through simulations and learn novel attributes of how river water moves and its role in an ecosystem.

Angel Monsalve Sepúlveda, Ph.D.

PostDoctoral Fellow
Department: Center for Ecohydraulics Research
Web: Google Scholar Profile
Email: angelm@uidaho.edu