Computational aerodynamics of high speed flow over rough surfaces


   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

   Saturday, August 31, 2024  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Supervisory Team:   Neil Sandham

Project description

You will join a group of PhD students and post-doctoral researchers using high performance computing to advance understanding of high speed aerodynamics. Over the past decade we have developed efficient open-source software that enables us to run large numerical simulations with billions grid points on mixed computer architectures including CPU and GPU machines. A current project is preparing the code set for the next generation of exascale computing, including development of tools for analysis of large data sets

All surfaces are rough to some extent and it is necessary to predict drag accurately to be able to assess technologies leading to NetZero. In addition, local heating due to roughness can be severe in high Mach number flows. In this project we will consider roughness effects with pressure gradients, firstly during transition to turbulence, including the effects of distributed roughness on flow instability and the generation of local hot spots during the transition process, when eddies are stronger than in the resulting turbulent flow. Secondly, we will use machine learning to connect rough surface features to increased heat transfer in the fully rough regime. The methods used for the research will be direct and large-eddy numerical simulation. On the project you will gain skills in advanced computational methods, working alongside a diverse group of researchers. You will develop your writing and presentation skills and have the opportunity to present results at international conferences and interact with other groups around the world.

We are particularly looking for UK national students, either having or expecting to achieve a first class degree in aerospace or mechanical engineering. You should have studied fluid mechanics or aerodynamics to a high level, have an aptitude for computational work and have carried out successful project work. Early applications are welcome.

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 30 June 2024 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: Funding for tuition fees and a living stipend are available on a competitive basis. Funding will be awarded on a rolling basis, so apply early for the best opportunity to be considered.

How To Apply

Apply online: Search for a Postgraduate Programme of Study (soton.ac.uk). Select programme type (Research), 2024/25, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, next page select “PhD Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Neil Sandham

Applications should include:

Research Proposal

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts/Certificates to date

For further information please contact:

The School of Engineering is committed to promoting equality, diversity inclusivity as demonstrated by our Athena SWAN award. We welcome all applicants regardless of their gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or age, and will give full consideration to applicants seeking flexible working patterns and those who have taken a career break. The University has a generous maternity policy, onsite childcare facilities, and offers a range of benefits to help ensure employees’ well-being and work-life balance. The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and has been awarded the Platinum EcoAward.


Computer Science (8) Engineering (12) Mathematics (25) Physics (29)

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