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Faculty and Students


Principal Investigator
Professor Tadd T. Truscott

Tadd received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering in 2003 from the University of Utah (advisor Prof. Patrick McMurtry). As an undergraduate researcher, he helped develop and implement an inertial measurement unit (advisor Prof. Mark Minor) and was employed by the CSAFE laboratory (advisor Prof. Patrick McMurtry) to run rocket nozzle flow visualizations.  He received his Ph.D. in June 2009 from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (advisor Prof. Alexandra H. Techet) for research in the field of hydrodynamics.  During his graduate studies he studied the effect of wetting angle from surface treatments and dynamic effects on the water entry of spheres.  He also studied the stabilization criterion for the water entry of bullets.  During his graduate studies he helped pioneer a quantitative 3D imaging technique now known as Synthetic Aperture Particle Image Velocimetry (SAPIV).  He continues to develop imaging methods that utilize the basis of this technique.  As a professor at BYU he spends a large portion of his summers at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI as a Research Scientist.

His research interests span the fields of fluid dynamics, bio-medical flow visualization, ocean-wind-wave renewable energy, micro-fluids, bio-engineering, optics, computational cameras, physics, imaging, flow visualization,  photographic techniques, and  microbiology.

Splashlab 2010-2011: The first year

Splashlab was concieved by these individuals. They are the first members of the lab and will always be remembered as the ‘starters’. Thanks to them we are what we are today. Upper row from left: Jeff Hendricks, Ken Langley, Bryce McEwen & Alex Jafek. Lower row from left: Michael Wright, Josh Bryson, Robert Klaus, Taylor Killian & Tadd Truscott.

Splashlab 2011-2012: Year two

Aside from Josh, the same people but an expansion of the group. This was the year many wonderful things came together. Many papers were written our first grant was funded! Clockwise from upper left row: Matthew Elverud, Preston Murray, Randy Munns, Jesse Daily, Bryce McEwen, Tadd Truscott, Ken Langley, Jonathon Pendlebury, Alex Jafek.Kyle Bodily, Robert Klaus, Michael Wright, Joey Nielson, Taylor Killian & Eric Hardester.


Splashlab 2012-2013: Year Three


Splashlab 2013-2014: Year Four


 Splash Lab-1



Meet the individual members of Splashlab!

Jonathon Pendlebury  received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University in 2010.  He worked his way through school building cabinets at local custom cabinet shops, doing an internship with Cambric Corp. modeling parts from the A-10 Wathog, and finally another internship with Belcan Engineering Group.  After graduation he received a full time position at Belcan working, in cooperation with a group at Pratt and Whitney, on the Joint Strike Fighter Program.  His responsibilities there included writing programs to optimize and automate the creation of computer models required for Computation Fluid Dynamics, and to help optimize the design and analysis of turbine disks in jet engines.  In January 2012 he joined the Splash Lab as a graduate student studying the measurement of flames.  This research emphasizes using Synthetic Aperture Imaging to reconstruct flame shape, do 3-D flame structure analysis using SAPIV and flame temperature measurement. Outside the lab he enjoys woodwork, rock climbing and most other outdoors activities.

Randy Hurd received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from BYU in 2012 and is currently pursuing a PhD in the same field. His research focuses on investigating the impact dynamics of highly deformable spheres with the water free surface. With ideal impact parameters, highly deformable spheres are capable of rebounding off of the water surface in a manner similar to skipping stones, but with greater efficiency. Randy’s research seeks to better understand this phenomenon with the intent of optimization. Randy is also involved in promoting interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics among adolescents and teenagers through a local educational outreach program featuring underwater robotics. Randy enjoys dark chocolate, carbon bikes and long walks on the beach.

Photo Aug 17, 11 20 18 AMKip Hacking is an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University, studying Electrical Engineering. He co-founded Capture Beyond Limits, which is a company that makes lightweight photography and video equipment for photographers and filmmakers on the go. His background is mainly in ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles), teaching K-12 students STEM topics through building ROVs, and oceanographic research.  He currently is the Co-Director of the Utah Underwater Robotics (UUR) program and President of BYU’s Marine Technology Society’s student section.  He is an avid skier, hiker, and mountain biker from Washington State.

Eric Hardester is a Master’s student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Marriott School of Management. He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from BYU in April ’12. His work involves using PIV techniques to analyze 3-dimensional flows around a flapping wing. This research will be applied to the development of flapping Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs). His engineering interests include fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, composite materials, and product development. When not at school, Eric enjoys being outdoors going hiking, fishing, boating, and working on his car.

Alex Jafek is a mechanical engineering undergraduate student at Brigham Young University. He is from San Diego, California and loves to read, mountain bike, and ski.

Zhao Pan is currently pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from BYU.


Past Members

FassmannWesley Fassmann graduated with a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University in April 2012 and June 2014, respectively. His graduate work focused on bio-inspired force generation, primarily due to flapping flight and humpback whale flippers.

Jesse Daily is a doctoral student from Livermore CA.  He studies with Dr. Thomson and Dr. Truscott in the fields of fluid structure interaction and high speed photography.  In his spare time Jesse enjoys reading, photography and ultimate frisbee. Check out this spotlight by the Fulton College: http://me.byu.edu/news/phd-spotlight-jesse-daily

Kyle Bodily graduated from Southern Utah University in 2011 with a B.S. in Integrated Engineering and from Brigham Young University in 2013 with a masters in Mechanical Engineering.  His graduate work was focused on studying the effects of wetting angle and nose shape on the cavity dynamics and trajectory of axisymmetric projectiles.  Outside of the engineering field, he enjoys reading, computer programming, and photography.

Jordan Huey graduated from Brigham Young University in 2011 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. He was involved in the BYU super mileage vehicle team developing a gasoline-powered vehicle that gets an excess of 1000mpg. He has interests in fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, web design, and entrepreneurship.

Randy Munns received his Bachelors degree from BYU-Idaho and joined the SplashLab team in August 2011 as a Research Assistant. Current research includes studying the dynamics of buoyant rising spheres in a fluid below and above the free surface. Other interests include electromechanical systems, kinematics, biomechanics, and dynamics. Randy has been married to his beautiful wife since 2008 and has a 3 yr old daughter Kylee, and a baby boy in the oven. He is also an electrician. He worked for 3-4 years doing industrial, commercial and residential construction and taking the electrical apprenticeship program at a vocational college while getting his undergrad. Randy is a farm boy having been raised on a dairy farm in Rexburg, ID  working with cows and horses. Hobbies and other interests include: playing and watching any type of sport (mainly football, softball and basketball), running, hunting, hiking, exploring new places with his wife, horses and rodeo.

Taylor Killian is an Undergraduate student of the Department of Mathematics at BYU in his final year, graduating December 2012. He is currently in the process of wrapping up a publication highlighting fluid activated passive dampening through sloshing motions. Other work that he is currently engaged in is determining the drain rate and curvature-driven stability of spherical soap films as well as the spectral stability of combustion waves in multi step chemical reactions (with Jeff Humpherys of the Department of Mathematics). He plans to pursue a graduate degree within Applied Mathematics, hopefully putting to use all of the things he’s learned while part of SplashLab by studying fluid systems. When a busy schedule of school and work leave him to himself, he takes every moment he can to laugh and smile with his wife Marie and soon to arrive baby girl.


Photo of Ken LangleyKen Langley received a B.S. in 2011 and an M.S. in 2013 in Mechanical Engineering from BYU. Ken has been working with the Dr. Truscott and the SplashLab since it’s inception in 2010.  While in the SplashLab, the two main projects that have occupied his time are investigating the fluid dynamics of spinning spheres partially immersed in a liquid bath and experimentally measuring the 3D velocity fields around painted lady butterflies in free flight using SAPIV.  While an undergrad at BYU, Ken led the engineering team that designed and developed the Village Drill (sponsored by WHOlives.org and coached by Dr. Chris Mattson).  The Village Drill is a human powered borehole drill that has provided access to clean water to nearly 10,000 people in East Africa since its development in 2011.  Ken is a recipient of the SMART Scholarship-for-Service, which funded his graduate studies.  He will begin work in May 2013 as a civilian for the US Air Force as a Mechanical Engineer working in the ICBM Systems Directorate at Hill AFB.  Upon completion of his service commitment, he plans to return to school and pursue a PhD continuing his studies in fluid dynamics.  Ken and his wife Konnie have been married since 2008 and are expecting their first child in September 2013.  In his free time, Ken enjoys reading, watching movies, building legos, and playing/watching sports.

Michael Wright is a Master’s student in BYU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in mechanical engineering in April 2010. His interests in engineering revolve around fluid mechanics. He enjoys the outdoors, hiking and backpacking. He loves spending time with his wife and son.

Bryce McEwen received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from BYU in ’10 and is currently a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at BYU. His work is mainly centered around fluid dynamics, specifically using PIV to analyze 3-dimensional flow on the micro scale. Bryce has been looking into applications for this technology in the study of blood flow. As part of this research he has also been studying different ways to fabricate microfluidic devices.  Bryce’s other interests include heat transfer, thermodynamics, renewable energy, combustion engines, and pretty much the combustion of anything else. He is happily married to his sweetheart and partner in pyromania, Rachel.

Robert Klaus graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in April 2011 and has continued at BYU for a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering working with Dr. Tim McLain. Besides a keen interest in fluid dynamics, he also enjoys classical dynamics, controls, and stress analysis.  Outside of engineering, Robert plays racquetball, goes hiking, and flies two & four-string stunt kites for fun.  He and his wife, Amy, have been married since December 2009 and have a baby girl, born in June 2011.

Jeff Hendricks graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics in August 2011. He is currently working on a M.S. in Mathematics at BYU with Dr. Jeff Humpherys. Jeff has broad interests in applied math including dynamical systems, stochastic processes, finance, and, of course, fluid dynamics.  While with SplashLab, he studied the effects of a spinning sphere partially immersed in fluid, and capillary flow in closed-end nanochannels.  When Jeff isn’t busy with math, his favorite things are playing or watching basketball.

Josh Bryson 

Joey Nielson 

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