Chemical Engineering: Fully Funded EPSRC and Swansea University PhD Scholarship: Microstructural Evolution in Shear Thickening Fluids

   School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

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About the Project

Funding providers: EPSRC and Swansea University's Faculty of Science and Engineering

Subject areas: Chemical Engineering / Rheology

Project start date: 

  • 1 October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September)


Aligned programme of study: PhD in Chemical Engineering

Mode of study: Full-time 

Project description: 

We invite applications for a fully funded 3-year PhD studentship to investigate how microstructure evolution leads to intricate flow patterns in shear thickening fluids. You will join the vibrant research community of the Complex Fluids Research Group at Swansea University, and become an integral member of an international collaboration including both Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Basque Centre for Advanced Mathematics (BCAM).  

Dense granular suspensions (e.g. concrete, foods and pharmaceuticals) can experience Discontinuous Shear Thickening (DST) in which a low-viscosity liquid transitions abruptly to a high-viscosity frustrated state characterised by frictional particle-particle contacts. The steady state rheology is typically characterised by a flow curve that displays a flow reduction; a decreasing strain rate with increased stress. However, the flow behaviour in this DST region (characterised by an ‘S-shaped’ flow curve) has baffled researchers and is still not understood. The full S-shape predicted by prevailing theory is typically not observed in experiments which instead tend to display rapid fluctuations sometimes referred to as ‘rheochaos’.   

The proposed project will use a combination of advanced rheometry, flow cell experiments, and simulations to reveal how the evolving microstructure of particle contacts interacts with the flow field to produce macroscale flow behaviour. Recent results suggest that the unstable vs stable flow is controlled by the interplay between system inertia and microstructure evolution. The student will have the opportunity to develop expertise in both advanced experimental rheology and the simulation of complex non-Newtonian fluid flows.  


Candidates must hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University) in Engineering or similar relevant science discipline. If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship (i.e. a student who is eligible to pay the UK rate of tuition fees) but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements. Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency. 

English Language: IELTS 6.5 Overall (with no individual component below 5.5) or Swansea University recognised equivalent. 

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

EPSRC funded studentships are available to home and international students. Up to 30% of our cohort can comprise international students, once the limit has been reached, we are unable to make offers to international students.  

We are still accepting applications from international applicants.   

International students will not be charged the fee difference between the UK and international rate. Applicants should satisfy the UKRI eligibility requirements. 


Please note that the programme requires some applicants to hold ATAS clearance, further details on ATAS scheme eligibility are available on the UK Government website. 

ATAS clearance IS NOT required to be held as part of the scholarship application process, successful award winners (as appropriate) are provided with details as to how to apply for ATAS clearance in tandem with scholarship course offer. 

Engineering (12) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rate (currently £18,622 for 2023/24).
Additional research expenses will also be available.

Open days

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