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Experimental Aerodynamics and Environmental Flows


   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

   Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisory Team:   Dr Christina Vanderwel

Project description

Join our world-leading experimental fluid mechanics research group with this PhD studentship in the field of Experimental Aerodynamics and Environmental Flows. You will become a part of a group of highly motivated researchers in the experimental fluid mechanics research laboratory whose efforts are directed towards using state-of-the-art diagnostics to understand the physics of turbulent flows. We are part of the National Wind Tunnel Facility of the UK and have several wind tunnels and water channels on site for studying experimental fluid mechanics (see www.southampton.ac.uk/windtunnels/).

 The aim of this research project is to apply novel laboratory techniques to simulate environmental wind patterns and air pollution around buildings. You will be involved in the design and manufacture of a bespoke building model for windtunnel/watertunnel testing. You will be trained in laser-diagnostic methods including Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) and Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence (PLIF) in order to perform measurements of the flow encountering and entering the building. These experiments will provide cutting-edge measurements to analyse the aerodynamic processes linking outdoor and indoor air quality.

This project is supported by the UKRI FLF project “Simulating urban air pollution in the lab” and aims to improve our capability to model and predict urban air quality in support of designing our sustainable cities of the future. There will be opportunities to explore the fundamental physics of the turbulent aerodynamics of atmospheric boundary layer flows. There will also be opportunities to network with other universities and with industries such as DSTL through our existing involvement in the Future Urban Ventilation Network and the UK Fluids Network.

Contact: If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Christina Vanderwel, Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics Research Group. Email:

Entry Requirements: Candidates require (or are expected to gain) a very good undergraduate degree in Engineering (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent). You should have a keen interest in fluid mechanics. An aptitude for experimental methods and computer programming for data analysis is desirable.

Funding: International applications are welcomed although availability of funding is limited. For UK students, funding includes tuition Fees and a stipend of £17,668 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

Closing date: Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis, but should be received no later than 31 August 2023 for standard admissions.

How To Apply: Applications should be made online at https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page. Select programme type (Research), 2022/23, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Christina Vanderwel.

Applications should include:

·        Research Proposal

·        Curriculum Vitae

·        Two reference letters

·        Degree Transcripts 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.


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