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Numerical magnetohydynamics on the stability analysis of liquid metal batteries

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  • Full or part time
    Dr J Priede
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Eligibility: UK/EU/International
Tuition Fees + Bursary £15000 per year
Three years fixed term

PI: Dr Janis Priede:


Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD studentship in numerical magnetohydynamics at the Applied Mathematics Research Centre, Coventry University. The recently-invented liquid metal batteries (LMB) offer an economic storage for the fluctuating power supply from wind turbines and other renewable sources. The LMB comprises two layers of molten metal separated by a thin layer of electrolyte which should be able to convey strong electric currents. The attraction of parallel currents passing through the battery during its charge/discharge cycles gives rise to an electromagnetic pinch force which may be balanced by the hydrodynamic pressure gradient provided that the current density is sufficiently low and uniform. The balance may become unstable if the current exceeds a certain critical threshold which depends on the design of the battery. The flow of molten metal ensuing from the instability may disrupt the electrolyte layer and thus cause the failure of the battery.

The objective of this PhD project is to optimise the design of liquid metal batteries by identifying possible instabilities and the parameter range they can appear. This is to be achieved by combining linear stability analysis with numerical modelling of the three-layer system including two electrolyte/molten-metal interfaces subject to a strong axial electric current. The research will be carried out in the collaboration with Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) in Germany where molten metal batteries are developed in the framework of the Helmholtz Alliance LIMTECH project.


Coventry’s research in the area of theoretical physics and applied mathematics includes eight statistical physicists, making it one of the largest statistical physics groups in the UK. There is a similar number of PhD students and a healthy influx of international visiting scientists. Coventry University's Statistical Physics Group is a member of the Doctoral College for Statistical Physics of Complex Systems. This is a partnership with the Universities of Leipzig (Germany), Lorraine (France) and Lviv (Ukraine) and we are developing co-supervision arrangements with each of these universities. We also have close collaborations with other leading universities worldwide and co-tutelle arrangements with some of these may also be possible.

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