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Chair of Fluid Mechanics with Laboratory

Katedra za mehaniko tekočin z laboratorijem (KMT)

The Chair of Fluid Mechanics with Laboratory is one of three educational and research units of the Department of Environmental Engineering at the Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, University of Ljubljana. The most important mission of the Chair’s teachers and other colleagues is teaching in the wider area of fluid mechanics, in order to transfer this basic knowledge to all civil engineers, regardless of their specialization. Additional specialised knowledge is necessary at the second cycle studies of Geo- & Hydrotechnics and Water Science and Environmental Engineering. Successful educational process is based on high quality research and professional work, which is why we focus a lot of our attention on these two areas. As the leading research group the Chair is actively involved in national basic and applied research and development projects, as well as in international projects within European Framework programs, cross-border cooperation or bilateral projects. The Chair is also active in professional work, with its members performing demanding computational and experimental hydraulic studies of free surface flow and in pipes under pressure for a vast majority of Slovenian clients.

    Educational activity

    Apart from the basic courses of fluid mechanics (Hydromechanics and Hydraulics) the Chair members also teach some other professional courses from the area of hydraulic engineering, environmental engineering and basic civil engineering at the first and second cycles of Civil Engineering, Geodesy and Geoinformation, and Water Science and Environmental Engineering. For the doctoral study program Built Environment and the university doctoral study program Environmental Protection we offer specialized contents from numerical modelling of free surface flows and in pipes under pressure, engineering modelling in environmental engineering, special chapters from experimental methods and turbulence in hydraulics and hydropower systems and arrangements. As teachers we also supervise numerous graduates in the preparation of their final theses at the first and second cycle studies, M.Sc. studies as well third cycle PhD studies.

    Research and professional activity

    The Chair’s research work is focused on the development and use of mathematical models and numerical tools for the calculation of flood, failure and operational waves in open water courses, general and experimental hydraulics of steady and unsteady flow, modelling of water and water-related environmental processes, water management systems, devices and arrangements, multi-purpose decision making processes and risk assessments, water science, use of water regimes, flood protection and arrangement of water bodies. Special attention is paid to the study of the movement of non-Newton fluids, such as avalanches and debris flows, which have lately caused a lot of damage in Slovenia and its neighbouring Alpine countries.

    Formal research work is carried out within basic and applied projects financed by the Slovenian Research Agency. For the moment we cooperate in the basic research program P2-0180 Water Science and Geotechnics (2014 – 2016). We are mainly engaged in the testing and development of the latest numerical schemes of finite volumes and smoothed-particle hydrodynamics (SPH).  We are also updating turbulence models and their use in free surface flow hydraulics. A special area of research is hydraulic analyses with the use of LIDAR technology for the acquisition of terrain topography, and the use of genetic algorithms for the selection of hydraulic measuring spots at piping networks.

    With our research themes that follow modern global trends we maintain formal and informal contacts with foreign research organisations. Based on such cooperation, the Chair members have held several invited lectures at universities and institutes across Europe, in the USA, in China and in Japan. 

    Professional work

    At the Chair of Fluid Mechanics with Laboratory we have always tried to transfer, as fast as possible, the findings of our research into practice. In the professional area the Chair members are engaged in demanding (mainly two-dimensional and three-dimensional) hydraulic steady and unsteady free surface flow calculations for the purpose of flood and natural disaster protection (waves due to dam breaks, waves due to power plant operations, spills of hazardous substances, pollutant spreading). To a smaller scale we also study the water-hammer effect in hydraulic pipelines with the help of one-dimensional mathematical simulations, and perform hydraulic calculations for water supply networks. We are also active in the computerization and digitalization of the water management bases, maritime studies, hydraulic analyses with the use of LIDAR technology for the acquisition of terrain topography, estimation of flood damages, estimation of flood risks and zoning of space. 

    Some of the most important professional works of our Chair are: debris flow calculation in Log pod Mangartom (ordered by the Ministry of the Environment and Space), 2D and 3D calculations of flows in the lake of the Nuclear Power Plant Krško related to the use of cooling water and the consequent heating of the Sava river (ordered by IBE and IHR institutes) and calculations of flood, operating and dam-break waves in the area of the planned hydro power plants at medium and lower part of the Sava river (several works, ordered by IBE, HSE, NEK and HESS). 

    The Chair members cooperate as consultants or reviewers with water management and hydro power companies and government bodies. For example, we were involved in the search for the solution of current hydro power problems, implementing expert analysis of cross-border impact of gas terminal projects in the Gulf of Trieste.

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