FLF is a focused and agile corporation researching energy generation by inertial confinement fusion. The company was spun out from the University of Oxford in June 2011 and is based near Oxford. Inertial confinement fusion for energy generation is a well-established research field and is being pursued in many laboratories worldwide, perhaps most notably in the US at the National Ignition Facility. FLF is exploring several alternative research directions that harness the same fundamental physics, with the prime focus being power generation. FLF’s work to-date has included theoretical analysis, detailed numerical simulation using in-house HPC facilities, and experimental validation. This has allowed description of the accessible parameter space and led to a clear vision of the pathway to fusion.
Hydrodynamic material interface-tracking represents a challenging problem in terms of both accuracy and computational model robustness. Understanding the dynamics and mixing of materials is critical to the successful design of an inertial confinement fusion target, where high-energy densities also bring additional complexities to the computational fluid models. In general, it is difficult to obtain a detailed understanding of fusion target performance from experimental methods alone. There is therefore a heavy reliance on computational tools for predicting, understanding and extrapolating the parameter design space.
The student will receive support from the Matar Fluids Group, and will have access to its high-performance computing facilities in addition to those provided by Imperial College London. In return for PhD sponsorship, the successful candidate would be required, in the first instance, to join FLF’s numerical physics team on a part-time basis, then full-time after successful completion of their PhD studies.
The PhD scholarship is available from October 1st 2019 and is open to all UK applicants. The scholarship covers both the tuition fees and an annual tax-free bursary, and its standard period is 42 months. The successful applicant is expected to have obtained (or be heading for) a First Class Honours degree at Master’s level (or equivalent) in chemical engineering, another branch of engineering or related science. The post is based in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London (South Kensington Campus).
Engineering applications of turbulent multi-phase flows typically involve optimising hyper-parameters (related to flow, geometry etc.) to maximise a defined performance metric. In the energy industry, in spite of decades of research, there are a number of significant challenges; overcoming them will lead to a step-change in productivity, efficiency and reduction in emissions. For instance, three-phase flows comprising oil, water, and air, are exceedingly complex and feature poorly understood dynamics, phase formations and transitions. Characterising the three-phase mixture properties, e.g. rheology, is complex, and the prediction of the system behaviour is fraught with large uncertainties.
We focus in this project on modelling fluid-fluid displacements during Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and well bore clean-up, central to energy applications, cross-cutting a number of EPSRC research areas, e.g. energy efficiency, fluid dynamics and aerodynamics, and continuum mechanics. Automated, efficient, derivative free, surrogate model-based optimisation will be developed to replace manual hyper-parameter CFD tuning (current practice), to deal with the 3D flows, strongly-coupled variables, and complex geometries in our applications.
Informal enquiries about the post and the application process can be made to Prof. Omar Matar (firstname.lastname@example.org) by including a motivation letter and CV.
The PhD scholarship is available from October 1st 2019 and is open to all UK applicants. The scholarship covers both the tuition fees and an annual tax-free bursary, and its standard period is 42 months. There will also be an opportunity for a three-month placement at BP Sunbury office to gain industry experience. The successful applicant is expected to have obtained (or be heading for) a First Class Honours degree at Master’s level (or equivalent) in a branch of engineering or related science. The post is based in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London (South Kensington Campus).
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