University of Portsmouth Featured PhD Programmes
Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes

The transport of alien particles under waves

School of Engineering

About the Project

While substantial fundamental research has been conducted in recent decades on sediment transport under waves (including research at the University of Aberdeen), little is known about the behaviour of alien particles dispersed within a sand bed mobilised by waves. By “alien” we mean particles that differ from the native sand bed in terms of size, density or shape. They include, for example, plastics, heavy minerals, contaminated particles and sediment markers used to track sediment transport pathways. The aim of the PhD research project is to develop a practical model for predicting the behaviour and transport of alien particles under waves in coastal environments. It will build on substantial previous research at the University of Aberdeen aimed at better understanding of fundamental sediment transport processes and developing better predictive models for use in coastal engineering practice. The project will comprise experimental and analytical study. The experiments will be conducted in the Aberdeen Oscillatory Flow Tunnel. This is a large experimental facility in which oscillatory flows equivalent to those occurring at the seabed under large waves can be generated. For the proposed PhD, a systematic set of experiments will be conducted to examine the behaviour and transport of alien particles of different type within a sand bed. The experimental results will be used to develop a practical model for predicting the likely fate of the different particle types under different wave conditions.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in engineering or related discipline that includes fluid mechanics will provide the essential knowledge.

Essential background: civil or mechanical engineering or other relevant physical science.

Prior knowledge of the following would be beneficial but is not essential: sediment transport mechanics; laboratory measurements in fluid mechanics. APPLICATION PROCEDURE:

• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV

Informal inquiries can be made to Prof T O’Donoghue (), with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ()

Funding Notes

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Engineering. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Additional research costs of up to £2,000 in total,, may be required. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website. THERE IS NO FUNDING ATTACHED TO THIS PROJECT


1. O’Donoghue,T. and Wright, S. (2004), Flow tunnel measurements of velocities and sand flux in oscillatory sheet flow for well-sorted and graded sands, Coastal Engineering, 51, 1163-1184.
2. O’Donoghue,T. and Wright, S. (2004), Concentrations in oscillatory sheet flow for well sorted and graded sands, Coastal Engineering, 50, 117-138.
3. Van der A, D., O’Donoghue, T. and Ribberink, J.S. (2010). Measurements of sheet flow transport in acceleration-skewed oscillatory flow and comparison with practical formulations, Coastal Engineering, 57 (3), 331-342.
4. Van der A, D., O’Donoghue, T., Davies, A.G. and J.S. Ribberink (2011). Experimental Study of Turbulent Boundary Layer in Acceleration-Skewed Oscillatory Flow. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol 684, 251-283.
5. Van der A, D., Ribberink, J.S., van der Werf, J.J., O’Donoghue, T., Buijsrogge, R.H., Kranenburg, W.M. (2013). Practical sand transport formula for non-breaking waves and currents. Coastal Engineering, 76, 26-42.

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