Katie Hartl

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

My name is Katie, and I'm a 5th year in the Mechanical Engineering department. My area of research is experimental fluid mechanics, and I study fire whirls from a fluid mechanics perspective. What’s a fire whirl? It’s like a tornado, filled with fire, that forms during forest fires (the technical term is whirl and not tornado because fire whirls form from the ground and not the sky). Most forest fires contain fire whirls, they are just hard to see through all the smoke and flame. My goal is to develop scaling laws that tell us how big a fire whirl is going to get given heat and wind conditions. I love being a graduate coordinator with Study Hall because it gets me out of my basement lab, and interacting with a fun group of people!