PhD Studentship: Flow-bed interactions under three-dimensional stationary waves: 3D Antidunes

University of East Anglia - School of Environmental Sciences

Start Date: October 2017

Supervisor: Professor Jan Alexander

Project description:  

Project description

You may have noticed wave patterns in fast natural streams or on the surface of rivers and in estuaries where tidal flows can raise patterns of high waves, some of which may be breaking. These waves interact strongly with the bed sediment, and may cause large amounts of sediment to be moved (from where it is needed to where it is not wanted, for commercial or recreational reasons). This is an expensive problem to solve in harbours, worldwide. For two dimensional (2D) flow, quite a lot is known theoretically and, under controlled laboratory conditions, the bed sediment features, called antidunes, form and move over time. The problem of modelling and understanding such sediment transport is more difficult in setting of three space dimensions (3D). Unlike 2D flows, in 3D so-called stagnant zones can occur, defined where the flow is slow and there is little wave activity. A zone is likely to be a region of major sediment deposition. A zone may grow as deposition continues and it interacts more strongly with the flow.

This project will involve theoretical, laboratory flume experimentation in UEA and field work (Southwold, Suffolk) to investigate flow and sediment transport, under current-induced waves, in 3D. This is especially relevant to understanding the fundamental processes of bed erosion and siltation in harbours, where 3D waves and tidal currents are at work. The student will undertake new theoretical work extending what is known in 2D to new results in 3D, and compare them with laboratory measurements of flow and sediment deposits in 3D set ups, which will range from close-to-2D to fully 3D. Field measurements will allow tests of hypotheses and comparisons with both the validated theory, and the laboratory investigation. This collaborative project is a partnership between the Schools of Environmental Sciences and Mathematics in UEA and Cefas. It is a CASE award, with at least 3 months of project-related investigation to be carried out under supervision at Cefas. The student will be trained in flume and field research and take the lead in the flume experiments for this project.

Person specification: Candidates should have a strong mathematical background and good practical skills. A good first degree in applied mathematics, geophysics, oceanography, Environmental Sciences or similar is required.

Funding notes: This project has been shortlisted for funding by the EnvEast NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, comprising the Universities of East Anglia, Essex and Kent, with twenty other research partners.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on 14/15 February 2017.

Successful candidates who meet RCUK’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship. In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a full award. In 2016/17 the stipend was £14,296.

For further information, please visit

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:



South East England