CFD Online Logo CFD Online URL
Home > Jobs > Job Record #16876

CFD Jobs Database - Job Record #16876

Job Record #16876
TitlePhD in Powder flow: Growth, deposition and breakage
CategoryPhD Studentship
EmployerHeriot Watt University
LocationUnited Kingdom, Scotland, Edinburgh
InternationalYes, international applications are welcome
Closure Date* None *
The subject

Powders are fundamental to most natural ecosystems and almost every industry. But 
our understanding of their structure and how they flow is very far from that of 
fluids. Powders are complex materials, able to restructure in response to an 
external force. If compressed they respond as an elastic solid but when diluted, 
behave as a fluid. The way they flow does not always depend on its local 
properties, but also on the collective response of many individual particles that 
come together to form force networks, clusters, and sometimes agglomerates and 
deposits. This level of organization, called mesostructure, is key to describe how 
powders move, react and exchange heat and mass with a carrier fluid. Ways to 
understand it are fundamental to understand physical phenomena and create robust 
technology in healthcare, energy and manufacturing processes. In this project you 
will look into how cohesive powders agglomerate, deposit and break up under 
different stresses. It is a ubiquitous phenomenon in nature e.g. snowing, soil, 
resuspension of sediments and pollutants, and industrial processes e.g. 
manufacture of foods, pharmaceutics, where we often make powders agglomerate or 
deposit on purpose (e.g. granulators, spray dryers) or they do it in an 
uncontrolled manner way causing issues in multiphase reactors, heat exchangers, 
dryers, membranes, microfluidics, 3D printers or solar panels to mention a few.

The project

The School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, EPS, at Heriot-Watt University 
enjoys a long reputation in powder technology from its pioneering work in 
fluidization to the current Multi-Scale Multiphase Engineering Modelling group 
MMEM, led by a world-leading expert in granular physics, Prof Raffaella Ocone OBE. 
The Institute of Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering, IMPEE, at EPS, has 
made a strategic investment into a research programme focused in mesoscale physics 
of granular flows aimed at developing a multi-scale platform to tackle complex 
particle flow problems varying from reaction engineering to energy, process and 
biomedical sectors. Within this initiative, a fully funded PhD position is now 
available to create a multi-scale computational platform and study how powders 
interact under various cohesive forces e.g. van der Waals, liquid bridges, 
electrostatics. We will investigate clustering and how multilayer structures form 
by combination of particle deposition, consolidation and breakage. The scope will 
cover all regimes of granular flow transitioning from (a packed) frictional flow 
dominated by multi-particle force chains to (dense) collisional flows driven by 
instantaneous particle-particle impacts (a powder bed) to a (dilute) kinematic 
flows driven by the interaction with the carrier fluid (particles carried by the 
fluid). Computational and experimental data obtained in laboratory and pilot scale 
facilities will be combined to create a hybrid modelling platform that will use 
classic engineering models CFD-DEM and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to 
predict how clusters, agglomerates and deposits appear and react to external 
forces. The candidate will support theoretical advancements, develop a numerical 
frame and design more efficient, robust technology to manipulate particle flows. 
One cannot easily list all its potential applications, but they certainly include 
the intensification of processes in the manufacturing and energy industries, 
product formulation and design of smart devices targeted to consumer goods 
(pharmaceutics, foods, household), environmental and biomedical sectors.

We offer

• Fully funded scholarship (monthly stipend plus University fees).
• A challenging PhD combining modelling, engineering, physics & data science.
• Excellent mentorship by two experts in an expanding research group.
• Access to world computational models & high performance computing .
• A stimulating environment linking theory, simulation & experimental prototypes
• International exposure and a strong interaction with multinational companies.
• Opportunity to acquire teaching experience with a paid contribution.
• Professional and personal development within HW Research Future Academy

At the end of this PhD you will be:

• An expert engineer/physicist in fluid, continuum and particle mechanics.
• An expert data scientist able to combine engineering with machine learning.
• A skilled coder with proven ability to develop open-source software.
• Equipped with transferrable skills to industry i.e. CFD, design, data analysis.
• Used to innovation at the interface between the private sector and academia.
• Used to interact with multinationals and work in a results-orientated manner.
• Used to participate in international conferences and disseminate your work.
• A promising graduate to pursue an R&D career in industry or academic research.

Information and Application

Applications will be received in an ongoing basis until the position is filled. 
Candidates would usually expect to start in September 2021, but the position can 
be made available earlier in January 2021. Our scholarships are only open to UK or 
EU applicants who meet residency requirements set out by EPSRC. Interested 
candidates, please send the following documents through the link provided:

• BSc and MSc grades
• A CV
• A motivation letter explaining why you would be the right candidate
• If available, proof of English proficiency
• If available, 2 recommendation letters

For more information you can contact Dr. Victor Francia (

Your profile

An ideal candidate would have a Masters Level degree in mechanical or chemical 
engineering, applied mathematics, physics, or computer science, with an 
outstanding record. S/he would have a strong interest in computational and data 
sciences. Some experience with Python, Linux, discrete, continuum, or multiscale 
simulations would be helpful but not required. A passion for coding is important, 
as you will be using and developing open-source software. You would be fluent in 
English, have a quality-oriented mentality and be eager to take on responsibility 
and immerse yourself in new research.

Contact Information:
Please mention the CFD Jobs Database, record #16876 when responding to this ad.
NameVictor Francia
Email ApplicationYes
Record Data:
Last Modified11:15:32, Monday, December 07, 2020

[Tell a Friend About this Job Advertisement]

Go to top Go to top