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Modelling Wetting on Structured Surfaces using the Lattice Boltzmann Method

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, June 26, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The wetting behaviour of liquids on solid surfaces plays an important role for current and emerging technologies involving liquids from the nano- to the macro-scales. These technologies are useful for numerous industrial applications, such as in oil recovery, microfluidics, heat transfer, lubrication and coatings. They can also underpin possible solutions to many of United Nations’ sustainable development goals, including on the issues of clean water, sustainable cities, responsible consumption and production.

Inspired by nature, especially by the extraordinary surface properties of insects, animals and plants, a biomimetic strategy that has proved very powerful for controlling surface wettability is by structuring the surface. In particular, for this project, we will study a novel type of liquid repellent surfaces inspired by pitcher plants, whereby rough or porous materials are infused with lubricants [1]. These so-called liquid infused surfaces can exhibit a number of advantageous surface properties, including self-cleaning, drag reduction, anti-icing and anti-fouling.

This project aims to study the rich wetting dynamics of liquid droplets on liquid infused surfaces, in order to provide insights into advantageous surface properties of liquid infused surfaces. The student will develop and use computer simulations based on the lattice Boltzmann method [2,3], taking advantage of the group’s recent progress in modelling multiphase and multicomponent flows in complex geometries. Depending on the interests of the student, the project can also involve substantial analytical work. This project will involve collaborations with our experimental and industrial partners.

About the University
Durham University, founded in 1832, is the third oldest English University. It is in the Top 100 Universities in the world as ranked by Times Higher Education and QS, and the Department of Physics ( is currently ranked 4th in the UK Complete University Guide. Soft matter is a strong research area in the University with the establishments of the Durham Centre for Soft Matter ( and the Centre for Doctoral Training in Soft Matter for Formulation and Industrial Innovation (

Applying for the Position
The closing date for applications is Friday 26th June 2020, but applications will be reviewed as they are received. The start date is October 2020, but there is flexibility to start earlier or later. Applicants should have a good first degree (at least 1st Class BSc or 2:1 integrated Masters) in physics, mathematics, engineering, chemistry or closely related subjects.

Informal enquiries are welcome and should be addressed to Dr. Halim Kusumaatmaja (). To apply, follow the instructions at Further details about the department can be found at, and about Dr Kusumaatmaja’s research group at

Funding Notes

Full funding is available to UK/EU students for 3.5 years. International students can be considered for this position if they can secure the tuition fees difference between Home/EU rate and the International rate (see View Website). Students with their own funding are also most welcome to apply.


[1] C. Semprebon, G. McHale and H. Kusumaatmaja, Soft Matter 13, 101–110 (2017)
[2] T. Krüger, H. Kusumaatmaja, et al., The Lattice Boltzmann Method (Springer, 2017)
[3] M. S. Sadullah, C. Semprebon and H. Kusumaatmaja, Langmuir 34, 8112–8118 (2018)

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