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Leidenfrost propulsion for cooling flows in AM parts

Project Description

Water droplets placed on a surface heated to a sufficient temperature (the Leidenfrost temperature) levitate on a film of their own vapour. A recent Nature article showed that adding a sawtooth pattern to the heated surface causes these levitating droplets to be propelled (even uphill!). Very recent work at Bath has shown that this propulsion can be achieved in mm diameter enclosed pipes. This opens the way to exploitation of Leidenfrost propulsion for active cooling systems that operate without moving parts and use waste heat energy for the thermal pumping effect. In this project we will seek to extend this work by using AM techniques to created 3D printed cooling systems with internal ratchet microstructures. Work will focus on optimum fluid/surface choices (experiments have previously been confined to water) and ensuring AM quality is sufficient to reliably allow propulsion as surface roughness can cause an increase in the Leidenfrost temperature. The effect of pressure on heat transfer will be studied both experimentally and numerically and set in context against current systems.

This project is offered within the Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (CDT-AAPS). The centre aims to create a diverse and stimulating environment where you can deepen your knowledge in your discipline through your PhD whilst giving breath to your skills through collaborations.

Prospective students will be applying for the integrated PhD programme run by CDT-AAPS which includes a one-year MRes (full time) followed by a PhD programme. The MRes course will be conducted as a cohort with a focus on technology, team-working and research skills. On successful completion of the MRes, you will progress to a PhD programme which can be conducted on a full-time or part-time basis.

CDT-AAPS is determined to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members. The whole CDT community will come together at specific events during the calendar year, most notably the induction events, workshops and guest lectures. All new students joining the CDT will be assigned both an academic personal tutor and a student mentor. Each student will be assigned a minimum of 2 academic supervisors at the point of starting their PhD.

Funding is available for four-years (full time equivalent) for Home/EU students.

See our website to apply or for more details (

Funding Notes

AAPS CDT studentships are available on a competition basis for UK and EU students for up to 4 years. Funding will cover UK/EU tuition fees as well as providing maintenance at the UKRI doctoral stipend rate (£15,009 per annum for 2019/20) and a training support fee of £1,000 per annum.

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