Kiran Narayanan

PhD Student

Research Interests

  • ​We look at what happens when a fluid, i.e., a liquid or a gas, flows through a very tiny region or domain. An example of such a scenario is the flow through a pipe of diameter in the range of a few nano meters to a micron. When fluids flow through comparatively larger domains such as the pipes used in residential plumbing, the thermal fluctuations that occur in the fluid, i.e., the fluctuations in quantities such as density and pressure that occur due to the collision of atoms of the fluid with one another, are neglible compared to other sources of fluctuations such as pressure gradients present in the piping system. In smaller systems like the ones we examine, the thermal fluctuations are not neglible and are significant. We try to study these thermal fluctuations using mathematical models, which are solved using the numerical methods from applied mathematics, that are in turn implemented using computer programs. The solutions of the mathematical model helps us understand how the fluctuations affect and interact with the flow of the fluid.


  • We develop numerical methods for fluctuating hydrodynamics, the solvers for which are also coded in-house. The numerical methods are developed for the fluctuating compressible Navier-Stokes equations (FCNS), which are a stochastic extension of their deterministic counterpart, and account for thermal fluctuations in the fluid. Thermal fluctuations are significant in flow in small volumes such as nano-channels and also play a key role in the mechanism governing instabilities that in turn drive processes such as Rayleigh-Taylor mixing.  

Selected Publications

  • Narayanan K, Mora A, Allsopp N, El Sayed T, "A hybrid, massively parallel implementation of a genetic algorithm for optimization of the impact performance of a metal/polyurea composite plate," International Journal of High Performance Computing Applications, 27 (2), 217-227, 2013
  • Narayanan K, Gupta SS, Batra RC, "Axial buckling of single-walled carbon nanotubes using molecular mechanics potentials, Proceedings of the National Conference in Modeling and Simulation," India (2009)


Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering), University of Madras, India, May 2004


  • Best Poster Award, Saudi Arabian High Performance Computing Workshop, 2012
  • Academic Excellence Award, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Fall 2011
  • Provost Recruitment Award, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Fall 2010
  • Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Scholarship, Texas A&M University, Spring 2005
  • Gold Medalist in Mechanical Engineering, University of Madras, May 2004
  • The Sir Gabriel Stokes Prize, University of Madras, India, April 2004
  • Dr. A.L.Mudaliar​ Prize in Mechanical Engineering, University of Madras, India, April 2004​