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Chemical Engineering: Fully Funded EPSRC DTP PhD Scholarship: Complex fluid instabilities and flow patterns in shear thickening fluids

Closing date: 31 July 2020

Key Information

This scholarship is funded by the EPSRC DTP.

Start date: October 2020 or January 2021

Subject areas: Engineering, Physics

Project description: 

Applicants are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship to explore how shear thickening fluid behaviour leads to complex flow instabilities and pattern formation. You will join a vibrant, multi-disciplinary team at the Complex Flow Lab at College of Engineering, Swansea University, and work in close collaboration with leading scientists in our group and abroad.

Shear thickening fluids display an increase in viscosity with applied stress. In the extreme, the suspension viscosity increases by orders of magnitude, and the material goes from liquid-like to solid-like (Discontinuous Shear Thickening, DST). Shear thickening, and DST in particular, has for decades been a challenging problem in the field of complex fluids and rheology. In our group we focus on experimental studies of flow patterning and fluid instabilities, relating the observations to theoretical models. The PhD project involves designing and setting up custom experiments to study in detail how the ability of the material to transition from liquid to solid (and back again) manifests itself in a range of peculiar flow behaviours. In parallel with the experimental agenda, we will develop a new simulation code (SPH) in close collaboration with Professor Marco Ellero at the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics in Spain. The simulation code will be benchmarked against the rich set of experimental results obtained in the Complex Flow Lab.

We are looking for an enthusiastic, creative and capable individual keen to take on the challenges of the combined experimental/theoretical research.

Project supervisors: Dr Bjornar Sandnes, Professor Marco Ellero

Available resources/facilities: Cutting edge experimental facilities at the Complex Flow Lab, Swansea University. Advanced computational facilities available through our collaboration with the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics.


Candidates should hold a minimum of an upper second class (2:1) honours degree (or its equivalent) in engineering or physics.

We would normally expect the academic and English Language requirements (IELTS 6.5 overall with 5.5+ in each component) to be met by point of application. For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit –

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only. EU nationals are required to be ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the scholarship.


This scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £15,285 for 3.5 years.

There will be additional funds available for research expenses.

How to Apply

To apply, please complete and submit the following documents to Dr Bjornar Sandnes (

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Dr Bjornar Sandnes (