Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics


Mathematical Sciences

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Eric Forgoston

Committee Member

Lora Billings

Committee Member

Ashwin Vaidya


Ocean flows and the mechanisms by which their contents are organized has been a longstanding area of interest in applied mathematics. In recent years, a new theory has been developed to identify the structures responsible for the organization of fluid particles within complex geophysical flows. This theory is known as the theory of Lagrangian Coherent Structures (LCS) and details which structures are responsible for the organization of the flow and how to identify them. Being able to identify these LCS in real time has far reaching implications ranging from developing strategies for search and rescue missions to identifying the best intervention strategy to clean up an environmental disaster. A strategy has been developed to identify these structures in real timed using autonomous ocean robots. Although there is a strong understanding of how LCS affect fluid particles, the study of how LCS affect inertial particles is an area wide open for exploration. The robotic strategy depends on understanding the affects the structures will have on the motion of these robots. We focus on gaining a fundamental understanding of how LCS affect inertial particle motion by performing experiments of inertial particles in a variety of flows. We use numerical simulations and theory to guide our experimental work. We lay a strong framework for future experiments and make some novel observations along the way.

File Format