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PhD Research Project

Investigating and controlling splashing in liquid-solid impacts

More Info

Institution Location

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Aberdeen University
Dr P D Hicks
Dr O Menshykov
No more applications being accepted
Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Liquid-solid impacts play an integral part in many important industrial problems including printing processes involving droplets, sloshing of liquids in tanks during transport, and slamming impacts between waves and ships, coastal or off-shore structures. This study will theoretically investigate role played by the surrounding gas phase in the onset of splashing in droplet impacts and also in fluid-structure interactions at larger length scales. Controlling droplet splashing will improve the accuracy of printed surfaces, while also mitigating the atmospheric spread of pesticides released during spraying. At larger length scales, improved understanding of splashing phenomena will be beneficial in predicting the pressures and loads generated in liquid-solid impacts, which in turn will inform the design and construction of structures that experience liquid-solid impacts.

The surrounding gas phase is known to have a significant effect on the pre-impact liquid-solid behaviour (Hicks, et al., 2012). This project will investigate the influence of the surrounding gas phase and surface tension on splash jet formation and evolution in the early stages after liquid-solid touchdown. Coupled models based on inviscid liquid behaviour and either viscous-lubrication or inviscid gas dynamics will be developed. These models will be solved through a combination of numerical and analytical techniques. The evolution of the liquid-solid contact region will be determined along with the impact pressures and the local velocities for liquid entering the splash jets. The ability of the surrounding gas phase to suppress the generation of splash jets entirely will be investigated. The accuracy of the predictions will be verified against available experimental data for solid bodies slamming into liquid.

A highly motivated candidate is sought, with either a First Class or a good 2:1 honours degree in either applied mathematics, engineering, physics or a related discipline. Experience of fluid dynamics and/or solid mechanics would be useful. Exposure to numerical methods for the solution of partial differential equations, asymptotic techniques or mixed boundary value problems would be beneficial.

The start date of this project is by arrangment with the project supervisors.

Funding Notes:

The studentship will cover Tuition Fees at UK/EU rates which for 2013/2014 will be £3,600 pro-rata. A stipend will be paid at Research Council Rates which for 2013/2014 is £13,726 pro-rata, this will be paid monthly in arrears. The studentship is for 3 years full-time.

Applications from International applicants are welcomed providing they can confirm they can meet the difference between UK/EU and International Tuition fees from their own resources, for the duration of study. For 2013/2014 the difference will be £11,400 pro-rata.


Hicks, P. D., Ermanyuk, E. V., Gavrilov, N. V. & Purvis, R., 2012. Air trapping at impact of a rigid sphere onto a liquid. J. Fluid Mech., 695, 310-320.

Purvis, R. & Smith, F. T., 2004. Air-water interactions near droplet impact
Eur. J. Appl. Math., 15, 853-871.

Application Procedure:
Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing. You will be requird to provide a covering letter detailing your suitability for the position. Please note that you should apply at least 4 days before the deadline to allow us to contact you for further information, if required. All applications up to, and including, the closing date will be processed. Informal enquiries about the content of the project can be made to Dr Peter Hicks with a copy of your current CV. Email: All general enquiries should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Unit (


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