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Fully funded PhD Research Studentship: Scaling laws and scale effects in granular flows, UK

University of Nottingham, Faculty of Engineering, Fluid and Particle Processes Research Group

The Faculty of Engineering

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD research studentship in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham. The Faculty of Engineering is ranked in the top 5 out of 85 engineering departments in the UK in the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), with most of its research output classified as world leading or internationally excellent in quality. The Faculty provides state-of-the-art experimental and computational facilities and attracts leading scholars from around the world, many of whom are leaders in their fields. The successful candidate will be based in the Fluid and Particle Processes Research Group and conduct research into granular flows under the supervision of Dr Valentin Heller and Dr Barbara Turnbull. The supervisors are experienced in experimental fluid dynamics, granular flows and scale modelling.

Project description
Granular flows are highly relevant for natural hazards such as snow avalanches and landslide-tsunamis, in fluvial hydraulics and in agriculture. Such flows are closely related to fluid flows and they are commonly treated with the methods of granular fluid mechanics. Despite that a number of granular flow studies have been conducted in the laboratory environment, it remains an open question under which conditions such flows are correctly modelled in the laboratory at small scale and so-called scale effects can be neglected. The successful candidate will address this challenging and timely research question with the analysis of already available as well as a set of new experimental data involving advanced experimental modelling techniques and theoretical analysis. The findings will help to understand how measured quantities in the laboratory can correctly be up-scaled to full (nature) scale and support countless applications in natural hazards, fluvial hydraulics and other areas.


  • 1st class degree (MEng or MSc) or equivalent in civil engineering, mechanical engineering, environmental engineering, physics or related disciplines.
  • Flair for and experience in laboratory testing, exact working and enthusiastic.
  • Good knowledge of fluid mechanics.

 The studentship will cover PhD tuition fees and a tax free stipend for three years (£13,863 for the 2014/15 academic year) for UK/EU students with possible £2,000 enhancement for an exceptional candidate. The studentship is expected to start the 1 April 2015, or as early as possible after this date.

 Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Heller . The application should be send to Dr Heller and include a cover letter clearly stating how your interests and experience fulfil the requirements of the studentship, your academic transcripts and a CV with the names and addresses of two academic referees. Please quote ref no ENG816. Closing date is Sunday 28 December 2014. Early application is strongly encouraged.

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