PhD - Droplet impact onto complex substrates: pre- and post- impact dynamics

University of East Anglia - School of Mathematics

Start Date: October 2017

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Dr Richard Purvis

Project description:

Droplet impacts and splashing occurs across a wide variety of applications. With rapid development in experimental methods, the complexity of the fluid dynamics during impact and splashing events is becoming increasingly clear. One common problem across many applications is to understand and control splashing (either enhancing or suppressing it).  One way is through allowing the substrate to be deformable (eg an elastic plate, or deformable putty) or to vibrate, both of which have been shown to be able to increase or decrease splashing.  Another proposed solution is to have textured or porous surfaces (see [i]). For example, in inkjet printing on paper, or in the spread of droplet contaminants across concrete surfaces, both involve droplet impact onto porous substrates.  Despite considerable effort into research on droplet impact onto fixed boundaries, as yet there has been little work considering impact onto more complex substrates. 

During the final moments before the impact of a water droplet onto a wall or into a water layer, air cushioning can delay touchdown and cause an air-bubble to be formed near to where the impact occurs [iii]. Experiments using high speed photography have captured pictures this air-bubble for porous surfaces too [i]. Some preliminary modelling work [ii] has shown great promise in capturing the behaviour; one aspect of the proposed project will be to develop this and to include more complicated and realistic situations.  Post-impact the evolution of the splash jet critically depends on the substrate behaviour.

The PhD project will consider various aspects of droplet impact onto more complex surfaces. It will look at pre-impact air effects in impact on a variety of surfaces.  We will also consider in depth the post impact behaviour, building on the well-established Wagner model with novel boundary conditions [iii]. We will have a particular focus on if porosity and deformable substrates can supress splashing. The project will use a combination of asymptotic and numerical methods to consider a variety of cushioning and impact problems.

Interviews will take place between 16 January and 24 February 2017.

Person specification: The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1 in Mathematics or a closely related subject.

Funding notes: This PhD project is in a Faculty of Science competition for funded studentships.  These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise home/EU fees, an annual stipend of £14,296 and £1000 per annum to support research training.  Overseas applicants may apply but they are required to fund the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (in 2016/17 the difference is £12,879 for the Schools of CHE & PHA, and £9,679 for CMP & MTH but fees are subject to an annual increase)

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