Research positions currently available:

Currently we have no funded postdoctoral or postgraduate positions available. However, there are competitively awarded scholarships available from the university for postgraduate research degrees (e.g. PhD projects). Read below for some example topics.

BYO PhD stipend: Predicting vapour layer collapse under Leidenfrost droplets

Film boiling impacts occur when a volatile liquid approaches a high temperature solid (see Dynamic Leidenfrost). These types of solid/liquid interactions occur in numerous applications, including solid fuel fire extinguishment, fuel/combustion chamber interactions in internal combustion engines and various types of industrial cooling.

Despite much experimental and theoretical research, models that are able to predict when vapour layer collapse occurs have not been developed. Water, for example, typically nucleate boils at temperatures up to at least 400°C, whereas simulations predict that film boiling impacts occur at 240°C and above. It is important to be able to predict what boiling regime will occur for any given application as the two boiling regimes have vastly different heat transfer (and corresponding evaporation) rates.

This PhD proposal involves using CFD and analytical techniques to study this problem.

This is just one idea for a PhD program. If you are a student with an idea that involves fluid dynamics (or something related) you may be able to get funding for a PhD scholarship on that topic - drop by my office for a chat or email me your latest academic transcript (pdf format) so that I can access what your changes of getting a scholarship are.

BYO PhD stipend: Modelling functionalised wettability

A liquid wetting a solid is a universal process occurring in a wide variety of natural, industrial and domestic systems. Recent studies are finding that in nature, organisms use specific surface structures to control wetting, to the advantage of the organism. Current international research is focused on reproducing this functionalised wettability by mimicking these naturally occurring surface structures.

What hampers our ability to expand upon this bio-mimicry and design new surfaces tailored to meet the needs of real world applications is an inadequate understanding of the relationship between surface morphology and wettability. For example, models are available to predict limiting contact angles when a droplet either completely wets a solid (Wenzel state), or rests only on the top surfaces of a structured surface (Cassie state), however we have no ability to a-priori predict which model will be relevant for a particular surface design.

Hence, the purpose of this project is to develop and apply novel CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) techniques to simulate the behaviour of a liquid as it wets a structured surface. A unique feature of the approach will be that fundamental surface energy concepts will be directly applied in the numerical modelling - hence, this is an interdisciplinary project that will involve aspects of both Fluid Dynamics and Physical Chemistry. Experimental results generated using a variety of structured surfaces are available for validation and comparison.

This is another PhD idea. This interdisciplinary project would dovetail with an ongoing experimental program.