Anthony D. Rosato, PhD, a professor in the department of mechanical and industrial engineering at NJIT has received a Fulbright Senior Research Award to study the dynamic behavior of systems composed of particles at the University of Salerno, in Fisciano, Italy. He’ll start the four-month program next May.
Rosato recently presented an invited seminar there entitled “Microstructure Evolution in Tapped Monodisperse Spheres via Discrete Element Modeling.” This Fulbright scholarship will be one of only four awarded this year to scholars like him studying in Italy. Rosato, who will live near the university about an hour south of Naples, said what attracted him was the chance of collaboration with someone whose research is similar to his own.
People don’t realize it, but almost everything they touch or use is can be broken into a granular or particulate form. “The food we eat, pharmaceutical we take, chemicals, materials, glass, plastics—are all granular in nature,” he said.
His quest is to understand how granular materials move and the mechanics by which their density changes when tapped or bumped. “Say you buy detergent or cereal. Inevitably you get them home, open the box and a portion of the content seems to have disappeared,” he said. “Sure the item was sold by weight, not volume. But why in the process of being shipped and handled, does the volume fall? It sounds simple. But, in fact, this is a very complicated problem.”
In 1999, Rosato founded at NJIT the Granular Science Laboratory (GSL) to conduct basic research aimed at describing and predicting the behavior of systems comprised of solids and fluids. The laboratory also aims to educate undergraduate and graduate students by providing research opportunities.
Students who work in the laboratory are offered many opportunities to engage in active research projects. Program graduates are pursuing doctoral degrees at MIT, California Institute of Technology, the University of Colorado and more. As a matter of fact, Rosato hopes this trip will help him establish connections between NJIT and the University of Salerno so that student and other exchange programs can take place.
GSL also sponsors the ‘Granular and Multiphase Flows” Colloquium Series, in which recognized speakers from academia and industry are invited to give presentations. A complete listing can be found at http://mechanical.njit.edu/news/gsl2-seminars.php. In addition, GSL hosts the annual ‘Elsevier Distinguished Lectures in Mechanics,’ (funded by Elsevier) which Rosato organizes. The fourth lecture in the series will take place in April 2011. For more information, contact Rosato at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, though, Rosato is busy brushing up on his Italian. “I’ll be spending four months in a small town where not too many people speak English,” he said.