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Digital image acquisition and analysis of multiphase flows: understanding structure flow-relationships in porous media


Project Description

Due to funding regulations, this studentship is only available to UK and EU nationals. Students must meet the eligibility criteria at: https://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/fees/what-my-fee-status Overseas nationals are not eligible and should not apply.

(3-year fully-funded PhD studentship with Professor Lynn Gladden, Dr. Andy Sederman and Dr Mick Mantle to start 1 October 2020.)

MRI is the only imaging method that can quantify structure and flow in three-phase (gas, liquid and solid) systems. As such it provides an unrivalled tool for studying flow in such systems and for validation and development of analytical and theoretical models. The ability of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and other numerical methods to predict single-phase flows in solid structures has been well studied and is often accurate and reliable. However there are limitations with the size of simulations and the flow regimes over which they can be accurately used. The predictive capability of CFD is much worse still for two-phase flows or any multi-phase flow, which are much more common in physics, chemistry and engineering, as well as in the life sciences. This project aims to enhance our fundamental understanding of multi-phase molecular transport through porous media, and how we can use these new insights to understand flow through real-world porous systems over a hierarchy of lengthscales and at a range of flow conditions.

The project will focus on the use and further development of magnetic resonance flow image acquisition and reconstruction techniques to spatially map and measure the velocity of liquid and gas/liquid flows within porous media. These measurements will then be used to gain insight into structure flow relationships which could be used to characterise the porous media or to inform and test CFD or other numerical flow models. Once these measurement skills have been achieved, they will be used to address issues including:

• How does the flow change when the local structure is changed?
• Can a measurement of local flow and diffusion be used to characterise the local structure?
• How do gas and liquid flow fields vary as the physical and chemical properties of the fluids change?
• How well do existing commercially available flow simulation codes predict the flow field measured?
• How can the measured flow fields be used to improve the implementation of the flow simulators?

Applicants for the studentship should have a First Class (or a high 2:1) degree in a relevant discipline such as chemical engineering, engineering, chemistry or physics. The emphasis of the project is on the experimental measurements, although interest in using numerical simulation codes is welcomed. Much of the simulation work will be done in collaboration with the industrial partner.


2:1) degree in a relevant discipline such as chemical engineering, engineering, chemistry or physics. The industrial partner is Shell Global Solutions International B.V.

Standard admissions criteria apply; please see: https://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/egcepdcng/requirements

To apply for the studentship:

1. Please ensure that you are eligible by visiting: https://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/fees/what-my-fee-status

2. Submit a formal application for admission to study Chemical Engineering via the University’s Graduate Admissions Office (https://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/), noting Prof Lynn Gladden and Dr Andy Sederman as the prospective supervisors and quoting reference NQ22865 in the research proposal.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Cambridge in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 177.20

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