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Dr Mahesh Prakash, CSIRO fluids researcher



NRI Dr Prakash captured a dynamic approach to fluids by mathematics onto a software
Now Animated Beer Smooth To Pour - ‘Bubbling and Frothing Liquids’



Clayton , Ausralia, Aug 5, 2007
Dr. A.Malhotra/Gary Singh

For the past 50 years, special effects in movies have always had a problem: water drops are a consistent size. The one thing that always tips a viewer off in old movies are water drops that look huge next to scaled models.

Water looks fake and beer is even harder because of the bubbles but computer animation is a $55 billion global industry so it's only a matter of time before someone meets the challenge.

Dr Mahesh Prakash, CSIRO fluids researcher said:

  • As you pour beer into a glass, you see bubbles appearing on what are called nucleation sites, where the glass isn’t quite smooth.
  • The bubbles expand to a certain size then rise up in streams to the surface, where they bump into each other and form a raft of foam that floats on the top.

Dr. Prakash and along other reasearchers have captured the maths describing these processes in software that allows movie makers, film production houses and others to create super-realistic special effects.

CSIRO and South Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, one of the world’s largest computer graphics developers for games, with most of the research being done in Melbourne have jointly undertaken the four-year project. This project will bring the fluid animation software within reach of smaller film production houses.

CSIRO and ETRI’s presentation, ‘Bubbling and Frothing Liquids’, is part of a technical session on animating fluids at the San Diego Convention Center on Thursday 9 August.

Dr Prakash is playing an important role in developing super-realistic animations using maths, like making sure computer-generated waves in movies look natural. His particular areas of focus include:

  • digital content generation for fluid special effects in movies and games
  • geophysical flows, such as: dam collapses, tsunamis, volcanic lava flow.

Dr Mahesh Prakash is part of a team of mathematicians and engineers doing research in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in CSIRO. This team are regarded as world-leaders in discrete element modelling (DEM) and smooth particle hydronyamics (SPH) – branches of maths that are used to simulate and predict the movement of fluids.



CSIRO: the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia's national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

Food Science Australia is a joint venture between CSIRO and the Victorian Government that develops new ways of processing animal products
CSIRO has developed finer and stronger wool that can be shaped into yarn, fabric, garments and other products
Wool is now being used in medical, environmental and communications applications

"Big Hollywood studios spend vast sums on single-use solutions when they make blockbusters like 'Poseidon' and 'The Perfect Storm' but we'd like our software to make realistic special effects easier to come by," said Dingjan.

Dr Prakash together with co-researchers from ETRI will pour a virtual glass of beer in San Diego next week at SIGGRAPH 07, the world's largest computer graphics conference, to showcase their innovative fluid special effects software.

Source: CSIRO Australia- news release issued by CSIRO Australia




Dr Prakash really enjoys applying fluid dynamics in different areas, from animation and geophysics to mining and aerospace (Photo by CSIRO Mathematical & Information Sciences)


Rendered beer in a glass. (Credit: CSIRO Australia

  • Dr Prakash was studying chemical engineering in India when he became interested in fluid dynamics.
  • He enjoys applying fluid dynamics in different areas. He is exposed to a range of industries from animation and geophysics to mining and aerospace.
  • He has been awarded a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Chemical Engineering from University of Mumbai, India, 1997
  • A Doctor of Philosophy in Thermo-Fluids Engineering involving Computational and Experimental Fluid Mechanics from Victoria University in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2000.
  • Dr Prakash has published over 12 technical or client papers and 23 refereed conference papers.