Projects

Please note that the PhD projects listed are examples of projects offered to current CDT students and as such are not generally available to prospective students.

Liquid jets are widely encountered from ink jet printing to ‘big industry’ which frequently use high velocity jets to decontaminate surfaces (remove radionuclides or heavy metals embedded in surfaces). For those high velocity jets, instabilities in the liquid jet cause its breakup into sub-millimetre droplets which then impact the surface to remove contaminants via abrasion. …
Settling of solid particles in fluids are seen in numerous industrial and natural situations, ranging from pharmaceutical processing to sedimentation in oceans. Whilst empirical and semi-empirical correlations can be used to determine settling rate for spherical and symmetric particles, for real particles of random shape, and especially asymmetric particles and those with high aspect ratios,…
Due to radiation and wide use of reactive metals, the nuclear industry has always to be mindful of the generation of flammable gases, principally hydrogen. Hydrogen explosions can lead to deflagration and transition to detonation (DDT) with destructive effects. As NDA estate goes into decommissioning and long term storage new challenges in managing hydrogen are…
Our ability to confidently predict the safety of a nuclear waste repository depends on our ability to correctly model the interaction of fluids residing in the host rock surrounding the repository and the potential for fluid flow to bring radionuclei from the repository to the biosphere. The most commonly applied simulations of fluid in heterogeneous…
The importance and relevance of fluid mixing in modern science is clear, both from the range of industrial and environmental situations in which it appears, and from the explosion of research articles connected with mixing by chaotic advection that have appeared in the last thirty years. Similarly well-established is extreme value theory (EVT) – the…
This project aims to deliver a framework for rationally designing Laval nozzles used in Uniform Supersonic Chemical Reactors to measure the chemical kinetics of interstellar media to further understand the astrochemistry of stars and planetary atmospheres (Figure 1). Underpinning this framework will be the development of a novel 3D supersonic Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model…
This project will investigate the use of deep learning techniques, coupled with more conventional numerical modelling approaches, in order to develop new computational algorithms for fluid flow problems. The goal is to enhance traditional “black box” machine learning with physical knowledge of the flow, as described through conservation laws (such as mass, momentum, etc.), in order to improve the performance…
This project will contribute to the development of a revolutionary new cloud model, MPIC (Moist Parcel-In-Cell), for the simulation of convective precipitation and cloud-climate feedbacks. The model takes a new, Lagrangian approach to the simulation of clouds and precipitation. The work builds on a collaboration between David Dritschel (University of St Andrews), EPCC, Leeds and…
The two images above show large-scale flows structures in the polar regions of Jupiter (L) and Saturn (R). These arise from the interaction between convection and rotation in the stratified outer regions of the planets – regions in which physical properties such as viscosity vary strongly with position. This project will investigate a simplified model…
NASA image of organised deep convective storms over Africa Tropical weather and climate is dominated by deep convection (“thunderstorms”). Organised systems of convection (mesocale convective systems, MCSs) are a primary cause of extreme weather, and in many tropical locations a primary source of rainfall. A key characteristic is mesoscale flows, generated by the deep convection,…
The Wetropolis flood demonstrator [1] is a portable set-up designed to provide the general public a visualisation of what a return period is for extreme rainfall and flooding events. In general, people have difficulty comprehending what it means when a flood is classified as a 1 in 100 year flood. It means that, on average,…
Geometric numerical integration concerns the preservations the geometric and conservative structure of the underlying PDEs. This geometric structure is responsible for the (integral) conservation laws of the PDEs. Such conservation laws can include: mass, energy, phase-space volume, and potential vorticity. For PDEs with a variational or Hamiltonian structure, conservation laws are a consequence of Noether’s…
Wastewater treatment processes have high energy costs and are challenging to optimise due to the complex coupled processes occurring.  Over 10 billion litres of sewage are produced every day in England and Wales; taking over 6.3 gigawatt-hours of energy to treat (~1% of the average daily electricity consumption).  Many of the processes take place within…
The project aims to create rapid and scalable deep learning-based simulation techniques for fluid-structure interaction analysis of transcatheter aortic valve (TAV) implants. Such tools can enable prediction of the haemodynamic performance of the implants, which is governed by complex interaction of the blood flow and valves themselves. FSI analyses, such as in Fig 1, are…
Understanding the effect of airflow in indoor environments is of great interest due to its close relationship to occupant’s safety, thermal comfort, energy and infection risk. In hospitals, airflow can distribute pathogens and can pose a significant health hazard. Indoor airflow patterns can be very complicated, and computer simulations are an invaluable tool for understanding…
Liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) are a new class of soft materials which have a myriad of potential uses due to their unique properties.  Direct-Ink Writing (DIW) 3D printing provides a potential method to make large and highly complex devices from LCEs, but we need to first understand precisely how to control and optimise the extent…
Wings of most insects are decorated by complex nanostructures that promote multifunctionality.  Such natural examples offer consistent source of inspiration for biomimetic engineering of novel materials with advanced physico-chemical properties, and applications ranging from photonics to biomedicine. Lying at the interface of biology and fluid mechanics, this PhD project seeks correlations between nanoscale patterns of…
This project seeks to overcome current obstacles to predictive modelling of nucleate boiling in droplets impacting on realistic non-uniform heated surfaces. The key development will be a novel coupling of a mesoscopic lattice Boltzmann method, capable of capturing the incipience of boiling without artificial seed bubbles, together with OpenFOAM-based Navier-Stokes simulations of macroscopic droplet dynamics. This is important for improving and optimising spray cooling of…
Contaminant removal commonly involves forcing a fluid through a sorption column – a confined tube filled with porous material capable of removing certain components of the fluid. This is used for contaminant removal in many important applications such as pharmaceuticals, carbon dioxide from flue gases, contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), heavy metals, dyes and salts….
The planetary boundary layer (the first 1–2 km above the surface) is the most dynamic and turbulent layer of Earth’s atmosphere, contributing the greatest uncertainty to weather forecasting. However, the current global meteorological observing system severely lacks coverage above the ground—inhibiting predictability. New measurement technologies in the form of un-crewed aerial vehicles or ‘drones’ are…
Background: Providing respiratory support to people with conditions including COVID-19 and pneumonia is an essential part of modern healthcare. Simple interventions like CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) can be highly effective, they open the patient’s lungs and enable delivery of oxygenated air to promote recovery. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen unprecedented numbers of patients benefit…
Pre-filled medical syringes (or vials) are prepared via an automated process that require drastic control measures. Indeed, during their preparation, small particles may find their way into the syringe which must then be detected before they can be safely released for public use. A common way to control the quality of pre-filled syringes is to…
Understanding convection is important in a range of geophysical problems. For example, in the interior of the Earth in the fluid outer core or in the Earth’s atmosphere convection is responsible for a range of turbulent phenomena (including the driving of large-scale flows). Often the convection is on large scales, so the effects of rotation…
Microfluidic devices are promising to revolutionise the biomedical industry from rapid disease diagnostics and modelling to high-throughput drug screening and assessment. Much of the engineering of these next generation devices is done through experimental approaches and analysis. However, there is considerable scope to develop, apply and analyse new mathematical models of microfluidic devices at a…
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations can assist in treatment planning for cardio/cerebrovascular interventions. This project involves the development of fully-automatic images-to-simulation workflows that can be translated to clinical practice by developing new CFD methods that can be applied directly on the medical images, without need for manual vessel segmentation and volume meshing. The flow equations…
Have you ever felt uncomfortable or suffocated in crowds in a shopping mall? Do you know how fast an airborne contagious disease can spread in the atrium of a hospital? The indoor air quality is crucial and sometimes life-threateningly important. Being able to understand and predict airflows in enclosed environments not only lowers physical dangers…
Several industries require airflow characterisation around large objects for safety and engineering purposes, such as construction/architecture, aviation, wind energy, and air quality. Despite CFD advances, physical experimentation must often occur. Large-scale characterisation (wind turbines, airports, urban areas) relies on either laboratory analogues (cost scales exponentially with complexity) or fixed observations (laborious to install and only…
Understanding the effect of airflow in enclosed/indoor environments is of great interest due to its close relationship to occupant’s health, thermal comfort, and energy efficiency. Optimally designed ventilation could result in increased comfort and reduced health risk of the occupants. Airflow indoors can distribute pathogen-laden aerosols and can pose a significant health hazard. Furthermore, indoor…
Omissions in our current understanding of the fundamental behaviour of fluid flow in porous media and its interaction with impermeable barriers such as earthquake faults systems, means that aquifer systems are often analysed in complex models to try to characterise the behaviour of these systems. This project will develop and solve new mathematical models able…
The discovery of several thousand planets orbiting other stars is the most exciting development in modern astrophysics. Observations indicate that gravitational tidal interactions between these planets and their stars have played a crucial role in modifying the closest systems. It has long been thought that convective turbulence in the outer parts of evolved stars could…
This project will address fundamental aspects of viscous flow arising from the evolution of a complex microstructure in the material, eventually informing efforts to predict the evolution of the Earth’s ice sheets in a changing climate, and the effects of the Earths’ interior which governs the movement of tectonic plates, each problems of considerable societal…
Fluid-solid multiphase flows in environmental systems repeatedly develop similar landform patterns – understanding why is a fundamental challenge. Modelling of such flows is complicated by the range of scales between those controlling turbulent suspension of particulate material and the size of the systems themselves (e.g., the Hikurangi Channel, offshore New Zealand). In this PhD, the…
Convection within Earth’s fluid core generates the planetary magnetic field; spatial and temporal variations of the geomagnetic field can thus be used to gain insight into the dynamics of this otherwise inaccessible region. Seismic, geomagnetic, and geodynamic observations indicate that lateral variations in heat flow are imposed on the core by the overlying solid mantle….
This is a mathematical and theoretical project which will explore the relationship between severe storms and large-scale circulation in the atmosphere. The project will also exploit the new generation of numerical modelling products, in the form of very high resolution atmospheric simulations with an operational weather prediction model. These model simulations will be used to…
Convection-driven flows influenced by rotation are ubiquitous in planetary interiors, including the liquid cores of terrestrial bodies, the outer regions of gas giants and the convective regions of cool stars. These flows generate global-scale magnetic fields that can be observed remotely and hence provide unique insight into otherwise inaccessible regions of planets and stars. However,…