PhD studentship in Mathematical Sciences

University of Nottingham - School of Mathematical Sciences

Multiscale Computational Methods for Complex Granular Systems

Supervised by Dr Kris van der Zee, Dr Donald Brown and Dr Xia Li

This project will be based at the University of Nottingham in the School of Mathematical Sciences and the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering.

Granular media are materials consisting of a large collection of solid particles, examples being coffee, corn, coal, sand and tablets. Research into such materials is crucial to the operation and efficiency in many industrial sectors, and it is also particularly important to geo-hazardous processes such as erosionlandslide disasters and plate tectonics.

Emergent phenomena are a paramount characteristic of general complex systems of interacting discrete entities. Granular media exhibit a range of such phenomena when observed at macroscopic length scales: nonlinear stress-strain behaviourstatic and dynamic arching, and shear banding.

It is extremely important to predict these critical emergent phenomena as they are often the trigger or companion to system failure or process blockage. However, uncertainties in the underlying material makes computational modelling very challenging. On the one hand, macroscale computational methods completely neglect the discrete nature of granular media. On the other hand, microscale discrete models demand massive particle-scale inputs and, moreover, they are computationally intractable.

The PhD project aims to address these challenges by developing multiscale computational methods for complex granular systems, which will allow for accurate, and computationally tractable, predictions of critical failure mechanisms in granulate systems.

Summary: UK/EU students - Tuition Fees paid, and full Stipend at the RCUK rate, which is £14,296 per annum for 2016/17. There will also be some support available for you to claim for limited conference attendance. The scholarship length will be 3 or 3.5, depending on the qualifications and training needs of the successful applicant.

Eligibility/Entry Requirements: We require an enthusiastic graduate with a 1st class degree in Mathematics (or other related mathematical field such as Engineering, Physics or Natural Sciences), preferably at MMath/MSc level, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 class degree, or equivalent, can be considered).

Apply: This studentship is available to start from September 2017 and remain open until it is filled. To apply please visit the University Of Nottingham application page:

For any enquiries please email:

This studentship is open until filled. Early application is strongly encouraged.

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