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Direct Numerical Simulation of Ferrofluid flows

Project Description

Ferrofluids (magnetic or superparamagnetic fluids) are a special case of colloidal fluids, where single-domain, nanosize ferromagnetic partices are dispersed in a simple liquid. Ferrofluid studies could be organized in two categories: mesoscopic (rheological type) investigations, which are based on coarse-grained, Brownian-limit models, and depict ferromagnetic particles interacting with low Reynolds number flows or kinematically prescribed large scale high Reynolds number flow fields, and macroscopic (fluid dynamics type) investigations, where the ferrofluid is modeled at large/slow enough scales for the ferromagnetic particles to loose their individuality, hence for the total system (simple fluid + particles) to appear as a continuum. Although attractive from hydrodynamics viewpoint, the latter approach has inherent limitations: since the particles are not modeled explicitly, questions regarding their interactions and the formation of dynamically important structures cannot be directly addressed. Moreover, the macroscopic closures regarding averaged microscopic quantities (e.g., the magnetization equation) do not have the general validity of mesocopic models. At Strathclyde, we have recently developed an exact formulation for the mesoscopic modeling of colloidal fluids, capable of modeling the whole range of flow phenomena, from creeping, via laminar to turbulent flows. We have also developed hydrodynamic codes for incompressible liquids that can be employed for the hydrodynamic modeling of ferrofluids. The purpose of this project is to investigate particle-flow interactions in ferrofluids in both mesoscopic and macroscopic domains, paying equal emphasis on particle aggregation and structure formation (as it occurs, for example, in magnetic manipulation of self-assembled colloidal structures) and their possible effects on turbulence structures in flows through pipes and other devices. For example, the two-way interactions between ferromagnetic particles and vortical structures in the classical turbulent boundary layer, and their role in turbulent drag reduction phenomena are going to be investigated with advanced, projection, finite-volume and stochastic dynamics solvers.

The PhD student will have access to in-house developed, well-tested computational codes for mesoscopic/macroscopic colloidal fluid dynamics that they will need to develop further and adapt to various flow phenomena; there are many opportunities here for uncovering deep and intriguing ferrofluid physics, that would feature in high impact factor physics journals. The findings are expected to be of great importance to a wide range of industries and government agencies whose business/mission requires a detailed understanding of ferrofluid phenomena. Moreover, the PhD student will acquire a plethora of transferable skills including, turbulence and colloid physics, projection, finite-volume and stochastic dynamics numerical methods, and advanced algorithmics. The computations are going to be performed on a new, in-house, multi-processor machine offering ideal opportunities for parallel computing. The student is going to be embedded within the “multi-scale simulation and theory” research division of the Department, thus, having plenty of opportunities to interact with researchers in molecular dynamics, nonequilibrium statistical mechanics, colloidal fluids, superfluids, and reacting and multiphase flows among other.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:

Funding Notes

This PhD project is initially offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with their own funding, or those applying to funding sources. However, excellent candidates may be considered for a University scholarship.

We are looking for an enthusiastic student with strong mathematics skills and aptitude for computing. A first class honours degree (or equivalent) at either Bachelor or Master level is required in Mathematics, Physics, Mechanics, Mechanical/Aerospace/Chemical Engineering disciplines.

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