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PhD Studentship: Transporting Surfactant-laden Bubbles through Vortices (TRAP)

University of Southampton

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding amount: Funding for tuition fees and a living stipend are available on a competitive basis. Funding will be awarded on a rolling basis, so apply early for the best opportunity to be considered.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 30th November 2023
Closes: 31st August 2024
 

Project title: Transporting surfactant-laden bubbles through vortices (TRAP)

Supervisory Team:  Dr. Swathi Krishna and Dr. Ivo Peters

Project description

Are you concerned about the growing microplastic contamination in our water bodies? According to a 2015 report, up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the world's oceans annually, a figure expected to increase by an order of magnitude by 2025 without improvements in waste management practices. Microplastics infiltrate our food, water, and air, posing threats to the health of our ecosystem. If you share our sleepless nights contemplating this issue and you aspire to find possible solutions with a vibrant, international team, then this PhD position might just be for you!

Microplastics often attach to bubbles in water sources, acting as surfactants and are released into the air when bubbles burst on the water's surface. We think that this phenomenon can be leveraged to extract microplastics from water bodies by intentionally transporting microplastic-coated bubbles to a designated area for filtration.

One of the available modes of material transport in water bodies are large scale vortices that are constantly generated and transported by surface and underwater vehicles, shear flows, and natural turbulence. This project aims to understand the viability and benefits of using such large-scale vortices to effectively transport surfactant-laden bubbles in a flow. While bubble-vortex interactions are well documented in various engineering applications, there is a gap in understanding the dynamics of a vortex with no axial flow that can trap a surfactant-coated bubble in its core and transport it to a certain distance.

This interdisciplinary project spans across vortex dynamics, bubble dynamics, and vortex-bubble interactions. Cutting-edge tools will be employed in physical experiments to gather high-fidelity data, mapping bubble and vortex characteristics for various conditions. Discovering the effects of surfactants on bubble-vortex interactions may lead to scaling laws for advanced modelling, paving the way for innovative microplastic retrieval methods.

Motivated candidates with knowledge/interest in vortex dynamics, bubbles, design, experimentation, and data analysis are encouraged to apply. Any experience with imaging techniques would be beneficial.

Through this project, you will enhance your skills and knowledge in motion control, unsteady vortex dominated flows, bubble dynamics, building rigorous experimental set-ups, coding (image/ signal processing), scientific planning, writing, and presentation (international exposure) amongst others. You will have access to training in general manufacturing skills in our extensive workshops. You will have the opportunity to work with the tight-knit PhDs and postdocs of the Experimental Fluids Group at Southampton who will be a part of your network.

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: 31 August 2024

Funding: Funding for tuition fees and a living stipend are available on a competitive basis. Funding will be awarded on a rolling basis, so apply early for the best opportunity to be considered.

How To Apply

Apply online: Search for a Postgraduate Programme of Study (soton.ac.uk). Select programme type (Research), 2024/25, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, next page select “PhD Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Swathi Krishna

Applications should include:

Research Proposal

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts/Certificates to date

For further information please contact: feps-pgr-apply@soton.ac.uk

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