PhD Studentship: Flow and Mixing of Complex Fluids

University of Birmingham - School of Chemical Engineering

School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.

The flow and mixing of complex fluids which may be single-phase or multi-phase in stirred reactors, where the suspending fluid is Newtonian or non-Newtonian is commonly encountered in many industries including fine chemicals, foods, pharmaceuticals, minerals and bioengineering. Despite their widespread applications, the hydrodynamics and mixing mechanisms of these multiphase systems have not been fully studied and are still poorly understood. This is partly due to the considerable complexity of the turbulent flow structures induced by the interaction between the impeller and surrounding fluid, coupled with additional effects associated with other phases (i.e. gas and/or solid). The problem is further complicated by the rheology of the suspending fluid when this is non-Newtonian. There is a lack of detailed data and a lack of understanding of the flow and mixing of multiphase systems in media of complex non-Newtonian rheology and many problems remain unresolved. 

This project proposes to investigate the flow and mixing of complex fluids using advanced optical visualisation techniques such as Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) and Planar Laser Induced Fluorescence (PLIF) to determine the flow fields in translucent systems, and the unique PEPT technique in opaque systems which are inaccessible to optical diagnosis. The PEPT technique is situated in our Positron Imaging Centre and is unique in the world. It is proposed to investigate a selection of topics during this project. The unique sets of data provided by PEPT and PIV may be used as appropriate to validate CFD software and models, and assess the capability of CFD in predicting the flow and mixing behaviour of such complex fluids.

The studentship will be funded by EPSRC DTA. The candidate should be a UK/EU citizen and should have at least a strong upper second-class (2.1) degree in Chemical Engineering or Applied Sciences.  Non-EU students may apply for this project if they have full funding to support their studies. Enquiries about the research project should be addressed to Professor M. Barigou; Email:

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Midlands of England