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Fully-funded PhD Studentship on the Dynamics of Wet Foams


Department of Mathematics

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

We are offering a fully-funded studentship for an outstanding candidate to study for a PhD in foam science at Aberystwyth University. The goal is to develop simulations of the rheology and coarsening of aqueous foams with high liquid content to predict their evolution and material properties and to support the analysis and interpretation of experiments on the International Space Station (ISS).
Aqueous foams are two-phase materials consisting of a packing of gas bubbles in a surfactant-laden liquid. They are widely used in areas such as the food industry, domestic and commercial cleaning, enhanced oil recovery and ore separation processes.

The effect of gravity is to drain the liquid out from between the bubbles, leading to gradients of liquid fraction and hence inhomogeneous properties. However, in microgravity it is possible to create homogeneous foams with uniform liquid fraction, and hence desirable properties, and to study at length the way in which a wet foam evolves before gravity changes its properties. The Coarsening of Aqueous Wet Foams project funded by the European Space Agency is currently running ISS experiments to probe the stability and dynamics of foams in microgravity, and developing models of their behaviour.

The priority is to study the diffusion-driven coarsening of the foam structure and to analyse the coarsening-induced changes to the structure. We seek to relate the growth-rates of bubbles and the rates of bubble rearrangements to the chemical composition of the foam and, for example, the presence of solid particles. Working closely with experimentalists, we seek to validate numerical simulations of the coarsening process under a variety of conditions.

Applicants should have a first or upper second class degree (or equivalent) in applied mathematics, physics, chemical engineering or a related subject. They will be expected to present at conferences and to collaborate with other academic and industrial members of the consortium.

Informal enquiries may be made to Prof. Simon Cox (). Further information about the Department of Mathematics is available at http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/maths/ and details of our foams research at http://users.aber.ac.uk/sxc/foam.html. To apply, please follow the instructions at http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/howtoapply/.

Funding Notes

The foams research group in the Department of Mathematics has extensive experience in studying the structure and flow of foams. Facilities include a dedicated foams laboratory, with extensive rheological and imaging equipment, and computing cluster.
This three-year full time studentship is available from September 2020, covering tuition fees up to the UK/EU rate of £4,407 per annum (2020/2021 rate). A maintenance allowance of approximately £15,009 per annum* will also be provided.

*Value of award is subject to confirmation for 2020-2021

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