Monday, April 19, 2021

Ferries move steadily on the rivers of downtown Dhaka in Bangladesh, transporting passengers across the waterways. That is the view that inspired a young Mehedi Bappy to pursue a career in waterways and vessel engineering. Bappy often traveled by ferry around his hometown, paying close attention to their precise movements. He often wondered about how such small propellers could maneuver enormous ships through the rivers.

Bappy began his undergraduate studies in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. There, he focused on water and ship design and construction. In his studies, he looked for solutions to optimize the performance of ships to improve their designs.

After he finished his bachelor’s studies in Bangladesh, Bappy realized he could do more with an advanced degree. IIHR is a world leader in ship hydrodynamics, the perfect place for someone looking to optimize ship designs. Since 2017, Bappy has been working on cavitation modeling and prediction of cavitation inception alongside his advisor, IIHR Research Engineer Pablo Carrica.

Cavitation modeling predicts the growth and evolution of microscopic bubbles through a body of water. The bubbles come from several sources, though one Bappy is most interested in is boat propellers. Moving propellers drop the pressure of the surrounding water, increasing the size of the bubbles they create. When the pressure is released, the bubbles pop, freeing energy that can create noise and damage the propeller or any other surrounding body.

Bappy’s research attempts to determine the point of cavitation inception, or where cavitation events begin. From there, they investigate ways to reduce the harmful effects of cavitation on the adjacent surfaces and ecosystem.

One of Bappy’s favorite parts of his work at IIHR is the collaboration. He enjoys working with people not only from around the Midwest, but from other universities and countries.

Outside of work, Bappy is a homebody, preferring a night in reading a book and relaxing. One of his favorite activities is taking a long drive or watching a movie with his wife.

Bappy credits his success to the support he gets from his wife and parents. “They gave me the resources and support to be here, where I am now. Especially my wife stays by my side through thick and thin. She reduces the pressure around me and helps me to grow as a person — it is like cavitation in a sense,” he says.

As he looks to the future and hopes he can join a naval program or even branch out into automotive or aerospace engineering, Bappy is focused on putting his training to good use, wherever that may take him.