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  Computer simulations of momentum, heat & mass transfer in droplet-laden airflows

   School of Engineering

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  Dr J Derksen, Dr J Gomes  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Droplets generated and exhausted when sneezing and coughing are a prominent vehicle for virus spreading. Based on flow visualization experiments it has been speculated that formation of clouds in which droplets evaporate slowly due to a moist and warm atmosphere they are embedded in enable long-distance spreading.

The aim of this PhD project is to create – computationally – a droplet-laden, short-time (pulsed) air jet that is representative for coughing and sneezing and then keep track of the droplets in terms of their trajectory and their size and quantify their distance travelled and use it as a testbed for assessing specific physical phenomena and conditions. By gradually including more physical phenomena in the simulation – from non-evaporating droplets, to droplets evaporating in dry air, to combined heat and mass transfer of evaporating droplets in warm and moist air – we will be able to quantify separately the impact of these phenomena on the spreading of droplets. Since we will not include the formation of droplets as it happens in nose or mouth, we assume the cough or sneeze to contain a range of droplet sizes that needs to be consistent with experimental observations from literature. We also will not include external flow (draft or wind) and the geometrical complexities that are in the realm of macroscopic phenomena.

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate who will hold, or expect to hold, by the time of the project start date, a particularly good UK Honours degree (at least a 2.1 or equivalent) in Chemical or Mechanical Engineering.

It is essential that the successful candidate has an aptitude for programming, computing and Linux along with knowledge of fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, numerical methods (specifically for partial differential equations)


Formal applications can be completed online:

- Apply for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering

- State the name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor

- State the exact project title on the application form

- All Degree Certificates/Academic Transcripts (officially translated into English and original)

- 2 Academic References on official headed paper and signed or sent from referees official email address

- Detailed CV

We reserve the right to close the advert earlier should a suitable candidate be found before the advertised closing date (12 noon on 1 March 2022). The start date for the project is to be agreed with the lead supervisor.

Please contact Professor J Derksen ([Email Address Removed]) with any queries concerning this post.

Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

The funding is from the School of Engineering, University of Aberdeen, is available for 3 years and includes full tuition fees (N.B. home/UK fees rate only) and a tax-free stipend £15,609 year (2021-2022 rates) paid monthly in arrears. This project is only available to home (UK) students. We cannot accept applications from International students.