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A new way to model self-aggregating systems.

Project Description

Amphiphilic molecules generally have a polar, water-loving head and a hydrophobic, water-hating tail. Soaps and detergents are everyday examples. When mixed with oil and water, this conflict of interests leads to a fascinatingly rich variety of possible phases. Depending on conditions you can get spheres, rods, layers,bi-continuous structures and a host of other phases.These phases are not simply of scientific interest. They crop up in many industrial products, such as shampoos, ice-cream, lubricants and so on. It is of both scientific and practical importance to be able to predict the properties of these phases based on a knowledge of the constituent molecules. This project, partly funded by Unilever, is aimed at developing new simulation tools that will be a step-change in both modelling accuracy and speed of computation, allowing us to examine properties on length and time scales that were previously unattainable. The methodology will be that of many-body smooth dissipative particle dynamics (MBSDPD), where we will marry together the best current equations of state and exact hydrodynamics. This code will be novel and will form part of the DL-MESO suite of programs, distributed by STFC Daresbury across the world.The industrial application will be the modelling of the structure and rheology of complex health-care formulations while the scientific outputs will be the elucidation of the equilibrium and dynamical properties of complex systems over large length and time scales. We require a first class student with a strong background in statistical mechanics and excellent programming abilities.

Funding Notes

This project is for UK students only and is funded jointly by EPSRC and Unilever. The post is for 3.5 years, ideally with a September, 2019 starting date. The stipend is at the standard EPSRC rate. The project is part of the CAFE4DM Prosperity grant and involves interaction with a range of other theoreticians and experimentalists, both from Manchester and Cambridge University and from Unilever.


1. For a review of amphiphilic phase behaviour, see, e.g., D Fennell Evans & H. Wennerstrom,The Colloidal Domain, Wiley-VCH, 1999
2. For a review of simulation methods,see, e.g., P. Espanol & P. B. Warren, J. Chem. Phys. 146, 150901(2017)

How good is research at University of Manchester in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?
Chemical Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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