Project title: Lattice Boltzmann simulation of complex fluid rheology

Supervisors: Dr Edo Boek (Chemical Engineering) Professor Fernando Bresme (Chemistry)

Project description:

The last decade has witnessed an increasing interest in the computational investigation of complex fluids, with foams, emulsions and particulate suspensions all receiving attention. These fluids have technological applications including drug delivery, food science and flow batteries, as well as industrial applications such as modelling natural crude oils or additives in the petrochemical and hydrocarbon recovery industry.

There is also considerable interest in understanding how complex fluids interact with surfaces such as those found in microfluidic devices, or with colloidal particles which strongly adsorb at interfaces providing new routes to stabilise emulsions. Computational models are ideal to predict the stability and dynamic behaviour of these fluids, as well as to investigate in a systematic way how surfaces and other obstacles affect fluid flow. The modelling of the dynamic behaviour of these complex fluids represents a considerable challenge however, as the presence of surfaces and interfaces adds microscopic degrees of freedom and complex boundary conditions to the problem. Similarly when considering charged fluids, interfaces can modify the dielectric response of solvents, an effect that is restricted to the interfacial boundary but that can affect the electrokinetic behaviour of complex fluids.

This project proposes to develop a multi-scale simulation approach, primarily based on Lattice Boltzmann solvers, to investigate complex fluids such as emulsions stabilized by colloidal particles. We aim to develop a general approach that enables us to simulate the dynamic behaviour and predict the stability of these fluids, including the necessary information to accurately model the interfacial behaviour. For the latter we will take advantage of molecular dynamics simulations.