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Fully Funded EPSRC and Swansea University PhD Scholarship: Microstructural Evolution in Shear Thickening Fluids

Swansea University - Chemical Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Swansea
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £18,622 p.a.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 27th November 2023
Closes: 26th January 2024

Funding providers: EPSRC and Swansea University's Faculty of Science and Engineering

Subject areas: Chemical Engineering / Rheology 

Project start date:  

  • 1 October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September)

Project description:  

We invite applications for a fully funded 3-year PhD studentship to investigate how microstructure evolution leads to intricate flow patterns in shear thickening fluids. You will join the vibrant research community of the Complex Fluids Research Group at Swansea University, and become an integral member of an international collaboration including both Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Basque Centre for Advanced Mathematics (BCAM).  

Dense granular suspensions (e.g. concrete, foods and pharmaceuticals) can experience Discontinuous Shear Thickening (DST) in which a low-viscosity liquid transitions abruptly to a high-viscosity frustrated state characterised by frictional particle-particle contacts. The steady state rheology is typically characterised by a flow curve that displays a flow reduction; a decreasing strain rate with increased stress. However, the flow behaviour in this DST region (characterised by an ‘S-shaped’ flow curve) has baffled researchers and is still not understood. The full S-shape predicted by prevailing theory is typically not observed in experiments which instead tend to display rapid fluctuations sometimes referred to as ‘rheochaos’.    

The proposed project will use a combination of advanced rheometry, flow cell experiments, and simulations to reveal how the evolving microstructure of particle contacts interacts with the flow field to produce macroscale flow behaviour. Recent results suggest that the unstable vs stable flow is controlled by the interplay between system inertia and microstructure evolution. The student will have the opportunity to develop expertise in both advanced experimental rheology and the simulation of complex non-Newtonian fluid flows.  

Eligibility

Candidates must hold an Upper Second Class (2.1) honours degree in Engineering or similar relevant science discipline. If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship (i.e. a student who is eligible to pay the UK rate of tuition fees) but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements. Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency.

English Language: IELTS 6.5 Overall (with no individual component below 5.5) or Swansea University recognised equivalent.

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

Please visit our website for more information on eligibility.

Funding Details

This scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and an annual stipend of £18,622.

Additional research expenses will also be available.

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