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PhD opportunity within the UK atomic energy authority

   College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering

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  Dr Marat Margulis  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Project Background

The presence of a strong magnetic field in tokamaks leads to Magneto Hydro Dynamic (MHD) Lorentz force effects, which fundamentally impact the heat transfer characteristics of a liquid metal flow. The effect of MHD on the flow characteristics is of utmost importance for the design and performance of liquid breeder blankets, but the field is relatively poorly understood. Studies of these MHD effects started already in the early ’80s. However, in most cases, the experimental setups were of relatively simple geometry (typical single rectangular or circular test section). Thus, there is very limited experimental data for multiple parallel or crossflow channels, which are more relevant to the actual breeder blanket design. The project will provide feedback to existing blanket designs as well as experimental data for mathematical model validation.

The proposed study is expected to provide a new and deeper understanding of the prediction of MHD effects on fusion-relevant flows and heat-exchangers and guidance for increasing thermal performance of blankets, which can improve the design and viability of fusion reactors.

Three potential project stages are envisaged.

1. Design and implement an experimental apparatus for MHD experiments on optically transparent fluid, following experiments, and corresponding validation of computational modelling.

2. A dedicated test section representing the flow expected in the breeder blankets will be designed in collaboration with UKAEA. Execution of a simple MHD experiment on BULLET, leading to improved range of validity of simulations and some level of substantiation of the UKAEA design.

3. Investigation into the possibility of thermal-hydraulically linking BULLET and the THOR loop to provide information on heat transfer between the lead and water since a water-cooled PbLi blanket is a proposed technology for the ITER test blankets.

Experimental Facilities

Bangor University Lead Loop for Erosion/corrosion Testing (BULLET) is a unique lead-circulation loop facility in the UK and will be based at M-SPARC near Bangor University. Additionally, Thermal-Hydraulic Open Research (THOR) is a water thermal-hydraulics loop based at M-SPARC. The project will involve coupling computational and experimental activities both in the BULLET, THOR, and potentially a small mock-up facility based on alternative fluids (e.g., saltwater).

Person Specification


·       Academic qualification. Applicants should hold a Masters by Research, or an Honours 1st or 2:1 class (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Applied Mathematics, or other relevant disciplines. Candidates with an equivalent combination of professional experience and academic qualifications are welcome to apply.

·       Communication skills in both in writing and orally, presenting research work and outcomes to different audiences

Highly Desirable

·       Experience in performing computational fluid dynamic simulations (Ideally Ansys-Fluent or OpenFOAM).

·       Experience in performing experimental fluid dynamics

·       Demonstrated experience in technical research activities and ability to work independently and systematically

Financial Support

Fully funded PhD

Conditions for application

·       Applicants should submit cover letter detailing relevant experience and research interest; CV with names and addresses of two referees; and Academic transcripts.

·       Both domestic and international prospective students are encouraged to apply.

·       The EOI should be sent via email to Marat Margulis ([Email Address Removed]).

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