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Acoustic sensor to characterise gas mixtures

Project Description

The speed of sound is a very accurate, fast and non-destructive method to determine fundamental properties of matter [1]. Caloric properties such as enthalpy and entropy require information about the ideal-gas molar isobaric heat capacity, precisely determined with an acoustic steady-state technique like the one proposed in this project. Acoustic virial coefficients on dilute gases will unveil fundamental relations at the molecular level. Transport properties as thermal conductivity and viscosity of the gas phase would also be enlightened by means of speed of sound absorption.

The PhD candidate will work with a cylindrical resonator, able to measure the speed of sound in a wide range of pressures and temperatures. This resonator was developed by Prof. Martin Trusler at Imperial College London. The candidate will design and build new acoustic sensors, gaining sound engineering knowledge, and provide new models for gas mixtures relevant in refrigeration engineering, climate change research, and gas sensing.

The successful candidate should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a UK Honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Engineering, Physics.

Essential background: Thermodynamics

Knowledge of: Design; acoustics; thermodaynamics


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 person for processing.


Informal inquiries can be made to Dr D Vega-Maza () with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ().

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project, it is for self-funded students only.


[1] J.P.M. Trusler. “Physical acoustics and metrology of fluids”, Taylor & Francis, 1991
[2] J. J. Segovia, D. Vega-Maza, M. C. Martín, E. Gómez, C. Tabacaru, D. del Campo. : "An apparatus based on a spherical resonator for measuring the speed of sound in gases and for determining the Boltzmann constant". International Journal of Thermophysics. 31, 7, 1294-1309, (2010)
[3] W. Afzal, X. Liu,J.M. Prausnitz. “Physical Data for a Process to Separate Krypton from Air by Selective Absorption in an Ionic Liquid”, Fluid Phase Equilibria, 404, 124-130, (2015).

How good is research at Aberdeen University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 38.60

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

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