Research themes

Fluid dynamics is a broad research topic which encompasses a very wide range of applications and research techniques.

Fluids include both gases and liquids, and problems of interest within this CDT range in length scale from micrometres (e.g. ink-jet print heads) through to thousand of kilometres (e.g. atmospheric flows), with almost everything in between.

Research techniques that are applied, and developed, encompass: mathematical modelling & theory; numerical methods, CFD & high performance computing (HPC); imaging techniques; and measurement & experimentation.

Engineering application areas that are covered include: reacting flows; carbon capture, transport & storage; flow of polymer melts; mixing problems; particulate flows; coating & deposition; lubrication; medical devices; pathogen control; cardiovascular flow; heat transport; wind turbines; fluid-structure interaction; and nuclear safety.

Environmental application areas include: groundwater flow; river/estuary flows; tidal flows; oceanography; atmospheric pollution; weather forecasting; climate modelling; dynamics of the Earth’s interior; and solar and planetary flow problems.

Our activities span a range of disciplines across the University of Leeds:

Research at the Centre comes under six broad themes:

1. Energy and Transport
This ranges from reacting flows in internal combustion engines, through to mixing problems in nuclear waste, fluid-structure interaction in wind energy, and multiphase flows in entire oil or gas fields. Academic expertise includes: engine combustion and tribology; aerodynamics and shape optimization; heat transfer; flow assurance and turbidity currents
2. Environmental Flows
Leeds is one of the primary centres in Europe that studies atmospheric dynamics. Leeds hosts the National Centre for Atmospheric Science; the research here includes atmospheric boundary layers and regional airflow models and pollution modelling and atmospheric dispersion of pollutants. Expertise includes the study of wind microclimates for power generation as well as the development of research into thermal models and the spread of airborne infections in the built environment. We also have expertise in submarine channels and turbidite deposits.
3. Geophysical and Astrophysical Flows
Leeds has a strong record of research studying stratified, convecting and rotating fluids, in many contexts, from the fundamentals of convection in multi-phase flow to the simulation of atmospheric, deep Earth and solar processes. We have led some of the most significant international field observational programmes with Met Office participation and we undertake work in global and regional aerosol modelling, climate and earth-system modelling and chemistry transport modelling, which all involve fundamental fluid dynamics. We also conduct research in oceanography and planetary flows.
4. Biomedical Flows
A major clinical and biomedical strength at Leeds is cardiovascular disease including expertise in imaging of cardiovascular flows, coupling with modelling and vascular applications; together these provide the opportunity for CDT projects with real clinical applications. We also have substantial expertise in microfluidic diagnostics and drug delivery and pathogen control.
5. Industrial Processes
Industrial process flows bring together expertise in fundamental flow regimes and properties with challenges in multiple industry sectors. Expertise at Leeds includes: wetting, coating and drying; printing and jetting of complex fluids; formation and transport of sludge and emulsions; cooling and heat transfer; corrosion; thin-film flows; and filtration.
6. Underpinning Methods for Fluid Dynamics
Our substantial research into novel analytical, experimental and numerical methodologies provides an opportunity for PhD projects that contribute to underpinning knowledge and techniques for fluids, as well as translating this fundamental expertise into application areas. Relevant strengths include nonlinear dynamics, imaging techniques and the development of novel numerical methods.