EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics across Scales

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Aeronautics

Abstract

Our goal is to create a world-class Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT)
in fluid dynamics. The CDT will be a partnership between the
Departments of Aeronautics, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering,
Civil Engineering, Earth Science and Engineering, Mathematics, and
Mechanical Engineering. The CDT's uniqueness stems from training
students in a broad, cross-disciplinary range of areas, supporting
three key pillars where Imperial is leading internationally and in the
UK: aerodynamics, micro-flows, and fluid-surface interactions, with
emphasis on multi-scale physics and on connections among them,
allowing the students to understand the commonalities underlying
disparate phenomena and to exploit them in their research on emerging
and novel technologies. The CDT's training will integrate
theoretical, experimental and computational approaches as well as
mathematical and modelling skills and will engage with a wide range of
industrial partners who will contribute to the training, the research
and the outreach. A central aspect of the training will focus on the
different phenomena and techniques across scales and their
inter-relations.


Aerodynamics and fluid dynamics are CDT priority areas classified as
"Maintain" in the Shaping Capabilities landscape. They are of key
importance to the UK economy (see 'Impact Summary in the Je-S form')
and there currently is a high demand for, but a real dearth of,
doctoral-level researchers with sufficient fundamental understanding
of the multi-scale nature of fluid flows, and with numerical,
experimental, and professional skills that can immediately be used
within various industrial settings. Our CDT will address these urgent
training needs through a broad exposure to the multi-faceted nature of
the aerodynamics and fluid mechanics disciplines; formal training in
research methodology; close interaction with industry; training in
transferable skills; a tight management structure (with an external
advisory board, and quality-assurance procedures based on a monitoring
framework and performance indicators); and public engagement
activities.

The proposed CDT aligns perfectly with Imperial's research strategy
and vision and has its full support. The CDT will leverage the
research excellence of the 60 participating academics across Imperial,
demonstrated by a high proportion of internationally-leading
researchers (among whom are 15 FREng, and, 4 FRS), 5*-rated (RAE)
departments, and a fluid dynamics research income of 93M pounds sinde
2008 (with about 32% from industry) including a number of EPSRC-funded
Programme Grants in fluid dynamics (less than 4 or 5 in the UK) and a
number of ERC Advanced Investigator Grants in fluid dynamics (less
than about 7 across Europe). The CDT will also leverage our existing
world-class training infra-structure, featuring numerous pre-doctoral
training programmes, high-performance computing and laboratory
facilities, fluid dynamic-specific seminar series, and our outstanding
track-record in training doctoral students and in graduate
employability. The Faculty of Engineering has also committed to the
development of bespoke dedicated space which is important for
cohort-building activities, and the establishment of a fluids network
to strengthen inter-departmental collaborations for the benefit of the
CDT.

Planned Impact

Fluid dynamics plays a pivotal role in numerous modern engineering
devices and processes, and governs life-critical natural
phenomena. These include aircraft, car and train aerodynamics, food
and chemical manufacturing and processing; oil and gas production and
refining; cardiovascular and respiratory flows in healthcare;
environmental flows and pollutant transport, heating,
power-generating, and pumping equipment; novel microfluidic
applications including complex fluids and fluid-surface
interactions. Fluid dynamics underpins many high-value, high-tech
industries which are major generators of GDP and
employment. Multiphase fluid dynamics is the key to product innovation
within the fast-moving consumer-goods and fine-chemicals/catalysis
sectors (worth over £75bn p.a. to the UK economy). Superior equipment
design, when based on sound fluid dynamics, leads to greater
sustainability and efficiency, reduced process-scale and emissions. In
aerodynamics, even minute variations in jet-engine performance and
airframe aerodynamic characteristics can determine commercial aircraft
viability. The recent £60M BIS investment to create a National
Aerodynamics Centre (NAC) demonstrates the importance of aerodynamics
(a £2B programme for an Aerospace Technology Institute is to
follow). In the oil and gas sector (North Sea revenues exceed £11B in
2011-2012) fluid mechanics underpins the design loads on offshore
structures, flow-assurance standards and the operation and safety of
sub-sea installations. In disease treatment, thousands of heart
valves, cardiovascular stents and grafts are inserted each year into
UK patients that require carefully-engineered flow characteristics. It
is unsurprising, therefore, that aerodynamics and fluid mechanics are
CDT priorities, and classified as "Maintain" in the Shaping
Capabilities landscape.

Investment in infra-structure (e.g. the creation of the NAC) to
support the UK industry where aerodynamics and fluid dynamics are key
must be complemenby similar investment in world-class training to
support a national growth strategy. The impact will be predominantly
in terms of provision of world-class PhD-level R&D engineers who are
highly employable in industry, less reliant on further training, more
easily deployable across divisions in companies, able to effectively
convey research output to a wide range of audiences and able to manage
R&D in industrial and commercial environments.

Publications

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