About the Project
Despite the advent of 21st century electronic communications, paper remains one of the most widely utilised materials in the world. Given the extremely large volume of paper production, even small percentage increases in the efficiency of the papermaking process can translate into massive sustainability gains.
Papermaking typically involves a suspension of fibres in water. Increasingly however, many communities around the globe are confronting the problems of water stress and/or water scarcity: reducing the water footprint of the papermaking process will help significantly to alleviate these issues.
One of the options for reducing this water footprint is to use foam rather than water as a carrier for the fibres. The process then involves a suspension of fibres in foam: design and operation of such foam-based papermaking processes remains a topic of active research.
This project under the supervision of Dr Paul Grassia is aimed at obtaining detailed mechanistic understanding of the foam-based papermaking process, including foam-fibre interactions and foam-mediated fibre-fibre interactions. Obtaining such understanding is far from straightforward because foams themselves are complex fluids. Fibres moving through the foam also generate flow fields which influence in turn the motion of nearby fibres. Because of the highly elongated shape of the fibres, they can have a strong influence on the flow, despite the actual volume fraction of fluid that they occupy remaining comparatively small.
All of these phenomena will be investigated in a computational modelling and simulation study of foam-fibre behaviour. The understanding thereby gained will be used to design improved foam-based paper-making optimised with respect to water use. Another advantage of the process to be designed is reduced energy expenditure during the drying process owing to less water being present.
In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.
Information about the host department can be found by visiting:
Applications will be considered up to 31 January 2022. Those received before 30 September 2021 will be given priority.
Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering/science discipline, and be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research. This is a modelling and simulation based project, so applicants are expected to demonstrate strong modelling and computer programming skills.
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