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CFD simulation of batch mixing for the dispersion of viscous non-Newtonian fluids

Project Description

Complex (structured) fluids are part of the UK’s £160Bn manufacturing portfolio, contributing principally through Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) such as shampoo or ice cream. The term complex fluid generally refers to non-Newtonian behaviour; such fluids exhibit a nonlinear response to imposed strain rate and to strain. Typical examples include emulsions (found in, say, mayonnaise) and visco-elastic fluids (e.g. high internal phase emulsions or surfactant stabilised aqueous foams). Reducing new product development time is essential to maintain competitiveness and, as structured fluids do not obey classical scaling laws, their manufacture requires greater input from modelling and simulation.

This project will develop novel methods to simulate the dispersion of very viscous substances such as SLES and polymer solutions into relatively thinner continuous phase fluids; the flow geometries considered will be static, batch and high shear mixers, with the latter applications requiring sliding meshes and high performance computing. The aim of the project is to accelerate new product roll out by (for example) anticipating manufacturing problems for new materials or by developing robust (and, ideally, scalable) manufacturing processes.

The PhD student on this project will join the ManchesterCFD research team ( and will benefit from world-class research facilities at the University of Manchester. This project also benefits with direct collaboration with industrial partners.

Areas of expertise: MACEthermofluids

Funding Notes

An undergraduate or Master’s degree in mathematics, physics or engineering background. Previous CFD experience and programming skills (FORTRAN and/or C++) are highly desirable.

Funding for this project is offered through The Centre in Advanced Fluid Engineering for Digital Manufacturing (View Website) to support a PhD starting in September/October 2019. The duration of the studentship is for 3.5 years and will cover both tuition fees and a stipend to cover living costs at the RCUK-standard rate.

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