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The mixing mechanisms created at the interface between Newtonian and non-Newtonian shear flows

Project Description

This joint experimental and computational project aims to delve into the fundamental physics relating to the mixing processes created by Newtonian and non-Newtonian shear flows. From experimental data this project will aim to answer the following questions: How do the mixing mechanisms differ between non-Newtonian and Newtonian shear flows and solely Newtonian shear flows, and how accurately they can be modelled using the Lattice Boltzmann method (LBM). From a practical sense these answers are of great significance as there are countless applications where these types of flows exist: In nature they occur in mudslides (Coussot & Meunier 1996) and sediment transport in oceans and rivers (Rickenmann 1991); in industry they occur in the pipelines transporting chemical, mining slurries and other industrial products (Chabra & Richardson 1999, Wen et al. 2017). Answering these questions will not only increase the fundamental understanding, but will also create a significant milestone for future hazard mitigation and industrial models.

The Lattice Boltzmann method has previously gaining many independent successes modelling Newtonian (Chen & Doolen 1998) and non-Newtonian flows (Gabbanelli et al. 2005, Boyd et al. 2006). Unlike traditional Navier-Stokes based methods with comparable in accuracy, LBM is a purely explicit meaning it highly suitable for parallel Graphical Processing Units (GPU) computations, drastically reducing computational time Lee et al. (2018); a great asset for natural hazard and industrial modelling.

This four-year Ph.D. project will be split equally into two parts, each aligning with the specialisms of the academic advisors at each institution: The first part will focus on the experimental study, undertaken University of Liverpool with Dr. Higham. The second part will focus on the LBM model development undertaken National Tsing Hua University with Prof. Lin. For the entire project there are three objectives:
• To experimentally investigate the fundamental differences of Newtonian non-Newtonian shear flows compared with Newtonian shear flows.
• To experimentally characterise the mixing mechanisms create the shearing interface between at a Newtonian non-Newtonian interface.
• To develop and validate a Lattice-Boltzmann based model.

This project is part of a 4 year Dual PhD degree programme between the National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) in Taiwan and the University of Liverpool in England. As Part of the NTHU-UoL Dual PhD Award students are in the unique position of being able to gain 2 PhD awards at the end of their degree from two internationally recognised world leading Universities. As well as benefiting from a rich cultural experience, students can draw on large scale national facilities of both countries and create a worldwide network of contacts across 2 continents.

All of the projects undertaken on the Dual PhD are aimed at working towards the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development. In 2015 World leaders agreed to 17 goals for a better world by 2030. These goals are aimed at ending poverty, fighting inequality and stopping climate change. This project is specifically targeted at Goal 9 – to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation.

For academic enquires please contact Dr. J.E. Higham or Prof. C.A. Lin
For enquires on the application process or to find out more about the Dual programme please contact

When applying online, please apply for Environmental Sciences (desk-based) PhD, Quote the supervisor, & project title you wish to apply for and note ‘NTHU-UoL Dual Scholarship’ when asked for details of how plan to finance your studies.

Funding Notes

This project is a part of a 4-year dual PhD programme between National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) in Taiwan and the University of Liverpool in England. It is planned that students will spend 2 years at the University of Liverpool, followed by 2 years at NTHU.

Both the University of Liverpool and NTHU have agreed to waive the tuition fees for the duration of the project and stipend of TWD 10,000/month will be provided as a contribution to living costs (the equivalent of £280 per month when in Liverpool).


Chen, S. & Doolen, G. D. (1998), ‘Lattice boltzmann method for fluid flows’, Annual review of fluid mechanics 30(1), 329–364.

Chabra, R. P. & Richardson, J. F. (1999), Non-Newtonian Flow: Fundamentals and Engineering Applications, Elsevier.

Coussot, P. & Meunier, M. (1996), ‘Recognition, classification and mechanical description of debris flows’, Earth-Science Reviews 40(3-4), 209–227.

Gabbanelli, S., Drazer, G. & Koplik, J. (2005), ‘Lattice boltzmann method for non-newtonian (power-law) fluids’, Physical review E 72(4), 046312.

Rickenmann, D. (1991), ‘Hyperconcentrated flow and sediment transport at steep slopes’, Journal of hydraulic engineering 117(11), 1419–1439.

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