EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics at Leeds

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sch of Computing


Fluid dynamics underpins large areas of engineering, environmental and scientific research, and is becoming increasingly important in medical science. At Leeds, we possess research expertise across each of these domains and we have an established record of working across disciplinary boundaries. This proposal builds upon this record through the establishment of a multidisciplinary CDT in Fluid Dynamics. Research techniques that will be applied, and developed, will encompass: mathematical modelling & theory; numerical methods, CFD & high performance computing (HPC); and measurement & experimentation. Engineering application areas to be addressed include: reacting flows; carbon capture, transport & storage; flow of polymer melts; mixing problems; particulate flows; coating & deposition; lubrication; medical devices; pathogen control; heat transport; wind turbines; fluid-structure interaction; and nuclear safety. Environmental application areas will consist of: groundwater flow; river/estuary flows; tidal flows; oceanography; atmospheric pollution; weather forecasting; climate modelling; dynamics of the Earth's interior; and solar & planetary flow problems. Facilities available to undertake this research include: the University's HPC system which, combined with the N8 regional facility that is hosted at Leeds, provides ~10000 computational cores, an extensive suite of licensed software and dedicated support staff; flow measurement techniques (including Particle Imaging Velocimetry (PIV), 2-component Laser Doppler Anemometry (LDA), Phase Doppler Anemometry (PDA) and Ultrasonic Doppler Velocity Profiling (UDVP)); techniques for measuring fluid concentration (Ultrasonic High Concentration Meter (UHCM) and Optical Backscatter Probes (OBS)) and a range of optical metrology systems (e.g. pulsed and continuous wave lasers).

The UK has a substantial requirement for doctoral scientists and engineers who have a deep understanding of all aspects of fluid dynamics from theory through to experimental methods and numerical simulation. In manufacturing and process engineering, for example, many processes depend critically on fluid flows (e.g. extrusion of polymer melts, deposition of coatings, spray drying, etc.) and it is essential to understand and control these processes in order to optimize production efficiency and reliability (see letter of support from P&G for example). In large-scale mechanical engineering there is a demand for expertise in reacting turbulent flows in order to optimize fuel efficiency and engine performance, and in wetting and surface flows for the design and manufacture of pumps and filters. There is also a need for a wide variety of skilled experts in environmental fluid flows to support the growing need to understand and predict local pollution and threats to safety (atmospheric, surface water, ocean and sub-surface flows), and to predict weather, climate and space weather for satellite technology.

We will train a new generation of researchers who will have a broad range of skills to transfer into industry and environmental agencies, hence our approach will be multi-disciplinary throughout. All students will undertake both modelling and experimental training before embarking on their PhD project - which will be co-supervised by academics from different Schools. The MSc component of the programmee will be specifically tailored to develop expertise in the mathematical background of fluid dynamics, in CFD/HPC, and in experimental techniques. Team-based projects will be used to develop the teamwork and communication skills we believe are essential. Finally, engagement with industry will be a key feature of this CDT: all students will undertake an industrial placement, a large number of projects will be industrially sponsored, and our non-academic partners will contribute actively to our management, implementation and strategic development.

Planned Impact

The impact and benefits will reach multiple stakeholders.

(i) CDT Students:- Will develop substantial technical and transferable skills enabling them to build a career and become leaders in industry or academia. In addition to a wide range of computational, modelling and experimental techniques, students will have many opportunities to develop team working, communication and problem solving skills. Students will have very strong career prospects with a wide range of options, including industry and public sector.

(ii) End-user partners:- Will gain access to a pool of at least 50 skilled graduates to innovate in their business and to realise direct impact from research outcomes: new products, processes, and tools. New or strengthened collaborations with academic partners will also follow.

(iii) Academic overseas collaborators:- will share new research outputs, stronger partnerships with Leeds, and knowledge exchange on tools and techniques: thus benefiting research outcomes and researcher training in both countries.

(iv) Other students:- Will have the opportunity to visit Leeds, whilst future students will have access to the new tools and techniques developed by the CDT for learning, thus inspiring new UG/MSc/PhD projects.

(v) Research at Leeds:- We will consolidate our critical mass of fluids-based research through the development of a "cohort of academics", as well as cohorts of students. New research outputs and new collaborations (across Leeds, with industry and overseas) will follow, and we will promote our large body of work coherently with external partners and to the media.

(vi) Other industry:- New tools, processes and techniques developed through research during the CDT will be disseminated via industrial as well as academic routes. We will pro-actively encourage new partners to engage with the CDT as it evolves.

(vii) The economy:- Skilled graduates are key to economic growth and ours will contribute to challenge areas such as energy, the environment, the health sector, as well as those with chronic skills shortage such as the nuclear industry. Innovation, typically in partnership with industry, will lead to economic benefits such as new products, services and spin out.

(viii) Society:- Research leading to new insights into energy, the environment and health challenges will lead to healthier, safer and more efficient environments for the public. Public engagement activities will raise the profile of Fluid Dynamics, and enable the public to understand its enormous breadth of application, and importance, to real world problems.

Evidence for impact creation comes partly from government sponsored reports pointing to the need for well-trained graduates in fluid dynamics, and also from the many letters of support we have received from our partners. In consumer products P&G tell us that "within our current product portfolio, fluids feature in 21 of our 24 one billion dollar brands (more than $1 billion sales) which include detergents, shampoos, fabric softener, dishwashing liquid, batteries, toothpaste and cosmetics". In engineering design Parker Hannifin believe that "the UK will need a greater number of graduates with complementary skills in high fidelity CFD and optimisation methods". There is a similar demand in the environmental sector. For example the National Oceanography Centre state that "in the coming years we expect to build our technical expertise in areas such as numerical methods, unstructured gridding and solvers, ocean dynamics, buoyancy driven flows and ensemble methods for uncertainty estimates", while HR Wallingford "expect to require access to expertise in relevant physical processes, compressible/incompressible flow, physical model scaling, numerical methods, multi-phase flow, atmospheric flows".


10 25 50