Termite nests have long been investigated as effective examples for ventilation and thermoregulation. Their structure maintains a stable temperature throughout the year and permits self-sustainable CO2 exchange with the atmosphere without using any mechanical devices. These self-sustaining temperature and ventilation properties have been a key motivation for designing eco-friendly buildings. Although there has been a significant research interest in this topic, the mechanisms by which these properties are controlled remain unclear.
This PhD project will build upon our recent work  that has received a significant media attention including articles in many international newspapers such as The New York Times, Le Monde, Süddeutsche Zeitung, De Volkskrant, The Independent and ASME. We will introduce a laboratory-based experimental program in which various parameters influencing nest properties will be examined. The results will provide input data for numerical models that will be conducted on 3D geometry of nests imaged by X-ray tomography. The ultimate goal of this study is to better understand the nest designs involved in thermoregulation and ventilation. This will be a step forward towards designing energy efficient buildings, and will contribute to our aim for a carbon neutral world.
This project will be conducted in collaboration with the CNRS, Toulouse (France), University of Nottingham (UK) and Imperial College London (UK). The candidate will join a vibrant and interdisciplinary team with expertise in multi-scale imaging, modelling of multiphase flow in porous media, swarm intelligence, collective behaviour and computational biology.
The applicant should have an outstanding academic record (masters and undergraduate degrees) in physical sciences, life sciences, engineering or a related field. This project will involve experimental research, therefore the PhD candidate is expected to have a sound knowledge in designing an experimental program.