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PhD Studentship: Fluid Dynamics: Gravity Currents Driven by Ambient Flow

University of Hull - Energy and Environment Institute

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Kingston upon Hull
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £18,622 per annum (22/23 rate)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 24th November 2023
Closes: 7th January 2024

Project description:

Applications are invited for a funded PhD position at the Energy and Environment Institute at the University of Hull. In this position, you will be an active member of the Hull-based Fluid Dynamics Group, as well as the Leeds based Turbidites Research Group.

The topic of your PhD will be gravity currents. Gravity currents are fluid flows along a horizontal boundary driven by a density difference between two regions of fluid, for example a salt water current spreading underneath a fresh water ambient is a classic experiment (see video). These currents exist in buildings as ventilation flows, in industry as spillages of toxic gas, and in the environment as cold fronts, powder snow avalanches, and turbidity currents, to give a few examples. As the current flows it displaces the ambient fluid, and at the front of the current fluid piles up due to the resistance provided by the ambient. In this region, there is strong mixing between the current and ambient, which dilutes the current decreasing the driving density difference and increasing the volume of the current. This frontal mixing has a strong effect on the dynamics, especially the driving force and resultant current speed, but is not yet understood.

Your PhD will address the following question: how does the flow of fluid above a gravity current affect its dynamics? Answering this fundamental scientific question will require new insights into the physics at play. The impact of the new understanding will be to inform and enhance models describing industrial and environmental flows, which will enable higher quality prediction, and for hazardous currents will enable more targeted and successful mitigation measures.

Your investigation of this research question will be divided between experimental and numerical approaches. The experimental program will make use of the bespoke Stratified Flow Facility to capture the flow field and mixing processes at high-resolution using state-of-the-art Particle Tracking Velocimetry and Laser Induced Fluorescence. This facility permits gravity currents in different flow regimes to be established under varying longitudinal ambient flow conditions. The resulting measurements will reveal the resulting influence on flow structure, mixing rate, and secondary flow within the gravity current.

Ultimately, a quantitative model of the effects of ambient flow is desired that can be used to predict the effects for a broad class of flows. There will be opportunities for you to develop and extend the project beyond these initial objectives, to study other aspects of gravity currents.

Entry Requirements

You should have a good first degree (at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or international equivalent) in a relevant subject (e.g. Mathematics, Physics, Engineering, Computer Science). A Masters (at Merit or Distinction level) is desirable but not essential. You should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental principles of fluid dynamics, e.g. the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations, and ideally have some experience in programming and numerical methods.

Apply now, by clicking the 'Apply' button, above.

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