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Lobate Swirl-Inducing Ducts for Particle-Liquid Mixtures

   School of Computing, Engineering & the Built Environment

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  Prof Don McGlinchey, Dr G Bevan, Dr Trevor Jones  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Reference number: SCEBE/21SF/020/DM


Swirl-inducing ducts have a long history.  The first patent appeared in 1899 for a pipe to improve dredging of river sediments.   Swirling Flow causes the suspension of entrained particles at reduced pumping power and attrition wear.  Cylindrical pipes are the natural choice for transporting pure liquids because the shape offers little hindrance to the flow.   However, at low velocities when particles are entrained in the liquid the advantage becomes a disadvantage.  Particles slide to the bottom, build up and eventually block the pipe.   Suspension can be maintained by pumping the liquid at high velocity but pumping power and attrition wear are increased disproportionately..


Aim and Scope of Work

The project aims to create a design template for efficient lobate swirl-inducing ducts.  The main levers are the downstream rate of development of the lobe structure, the maximum lobe radius, the spatial frequency and the position of the throat.  An important element of the study will be computational simulation, and experimental validation, of flows of solid-liquid mixtures including sand-water and a series of sand-oil combinations.   The experimental work will require the fabrication of test pieces.  The tests will focus on good swirling patterns, particle distribution, wear propensity and pumping power requirement.   A database of results will need to be created for reference as tests unfold.  Quality metrics will often conflict; for example, swirl number and pressure loss.  Machine Learning (ML) will be used to produce designs for given applications.


Person Specification

The successful candidate will hold a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject (1.1 / 2.1 honours in UK classification


The candidate is expected to write a detailed research proposal not more than 2000 words


A bench fee of £4000 is required for attendance of relevant conferences and trainings.

How to apply

To apply

· As a full-time student:

· As a part-time student:

Funding Notes

Applicants are expected to find external funding sources to cover the tuition fees and living expenses. Alumni and International students new to GCU who are self-funding are eligible for fee discounts.
See more on fees and funding.
A bench fee of £4000 is required for attendance of relevant conferences and training.


For further information, please contact:
Director of Studies
Name: Professor Don McGlinchey
GCU Research Online URL:
2nd Supervisor Name: Dr Geraint Bevan
GCU Research Online URL:
3rd Supervisor Name: Dr Trevor Jones
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