Brian Helenbrook

Associate Professor

357 CAMP

P.O. Box 5725

Potsdam, NY 13699-5725

Phone: 315-268-2204

Fax: 315-268-6695



Over the years I’ve gotten involved in many different research projects (probably too many).  The common thread among the projects is fluid mechanics and numerical or analytical modeling.  Below is a list of some of the projects I’ve been involved in.  Each projects links to a page which has more information about that subject.  Also see the students page which has student theses written about these topics.

Droplet Break-Up & Collisions

    This is an area of fundamental research which has application in areas such as fuel injection, spray painting, and environmental science. This research was aimed at understanding the deformation, break-up, and collision of droplets.

Mesh Deformation & Adaption

    My main simulation technique for two-phase flows requires that the computational mesh to deform and adapt in order to compute the dynamics of a problem.  I have developed several numerical algorithms to improve this process.

High-Order Numerical Methods

    When investigating fundamental problems numerically, it is nice to be sure that your conclusions are not affected by numerical errors.  High-order numerical methods allow rapid convergence and thus give a higher degree of confidence than typical second-order accurate methods used in most commercial codes.

Coating Flows and Sheets

    The days of film are nearing an end, but there are still many manufacturing processes involving sheets of liquids (glass production, atomization, spin-casting, ...) This work, examines the evolution of instabilities from both a theoretical and numerical perspective.


    There are many manufacturing processes involving solidification including Aluminum smelting, horizontal ribbon growth (HRG), spin-casting, Czochralski crystal growth..  These problems can be simulated using algorithms that are similar to those used for two-phase flows.  

Wind Turbines

    This work examines a novel concept for mid-range wind power developed by Optiwind Co. of Torrington CT.  A team of Clarkson faculty examined this concept both experimentally and numerically.

Granular Flows

    Granular flow is important in many industries, ranging from food production to the medicine manufacturing to space exploration.  The motivation for this study was that NASA Kennedy was contemplating replacing the granular insulation in their cryogenic oxygen and hydrogen storage tanks.   Models were needed to predict whether new insulations would survive the thermal stresses associated with cryogenic storage.

Thermoelectric Generation

    Thermoelectric materials can turn waste heat into power.  The efficiency is not extremely high, but there are no moving parts and it is highly reliable.  In this research, the potential of using a thermoelectric generator to improve automobile fuel efficiency was investigated.

U. S. Luge

    The 2014 Winter Olympics will hopefully include a luge sled designed and optimized at Clarkson University.   This project aims to improve and automate the manufacturing process as well as improve the aerodynamic efficiency of the sleds.  This work is being done with D. Bohl. More information can be found here


Reduced Order Modeling

    Reduced order modeling (ROM) is a way of generating computationally cheap models of complex systems.  The basic idea is to do detailed studies of the system ahead of time, then use the detailed studies in a systematic way to generate a predictive model for a system.   This is useful for applications that require rapid or repeated calculations of a system’s response.  Examples are real-time control applications or models that are used as part of a bigger simulation