PhD positions at Nottingham Trent University
The following PhD projects will be competitively available in the SOFT group at Nottingham Trent University, UK, as part of a university-wide PhD fellowship programme.
Projects would be contingent on the applicant successfully competing in the NTU PhD Studentship scheme. Further details of how to apply are available at: www.ntu.ac.uk/research/research-degrees-at-ntu/phd-studentships
The deadline for application is 14th of February.
For further information please contact the supervisor indicated:
*Life in Fluidic Transition*. There are two regimes that are typically described when considering fluidic forces acting on swimming organisms: The low Reynolds number regime, primarily relevant to the microscopic world, where viscous forces dominate and swimmers must overcome time-reversibility; and the high Reynolds number regime, primarily relevant to the macroscopic world, where inertial forces dominate, and flows become chaotic. However, for millimetre sized creatures, who live at an intermediary transition regime between the two, both forces must be considered, and very little is known about the role of the fluid on swimming behaviour and swarming dynamics. At a time when oceans are warming (raising the Reynolds number), and invertebrate populations are in decline, studying this particular interplay between the fluid and biology has never been more essential. This experimental project, co-supervised by theoretical physicist Dr. Marco Mazza <eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lboro.ac.uk%2Fdepartments%2Fmaths%2Fstaff%2Facademic%2Fmarco-mazza%2F&data=01%7C01%7Cdavid.fairhurst%40ntu.ac.uk%7Ce48ac5ae47ad479a265f…> of the University of Loughborough, will focus on Daphnia Magna, a millimetre sized swimming and swarming invertebrate (more commonly known as the « water flea »), an ideal model swimmer for studying the role of fluid dynamics on the fascinating behaviour of life in fluidic transition. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Optimizing Dust Capture. *In our normal routines, there is an everyday occurrence that touches upon a variety of fundamental physical, industrial, and environmental problems: sweeping dust. For example, solar panels have to be periodically cleaned in order to maintain efficiency, and dust is expected to be a particular problem if these panels are placed in a hot dessert, or especially on the dusty Martian surface. In an industrial context, additive manufacturing techniques also require successive sweeping of pre-sintered material dust layers, where inefficiency leads to poor printed results, and waste. And finally, to keep cities clean, mechanised cleaners sweep debris from the streets, which is now known to release microparticulate dust into the atmosphere, which can adversely affect health. Despite these examples, there is very little research in the physics of sweeping, e.g., what are the ideal brush fibre properties for collecting the most amount of debris, without releasing microparticles into the atmosphere or damaging surfaces? In collaboration with co-supervisor Dr. Oscar R. Enríquez <eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Ffluidosuc3m.es%2Fpeople%2Foenrique%2F&data=01%7C01%7Cdavid.fairhurst%40ntu.ac.uk%7Ce48ac5ae47ad479a265f08d79ff9723d%7C8acbc2c5c8ed42c78169ba…>, of the Fluid Mechanics Group, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, the student in this project will explore the physics of sweeping, and aim to add to our limited knowledge of an everyday occurrence that affects many areas of technology and our environment. Contact: email@example.com
*Self-dividing Active Droplets: The Droplet Divisome. *In collaboration with the Active Soft Matter group at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics & Self-Organization (MPIDS), this project will focus on the system of active emulsions; droplets that self-propel, and display a myriad of biomimetic properties, from maze-solving, to food seeking, and even – which is the topic of this project – self-division. There is growing interest in creating artificial “life”; materials that, through purely physical and chemical processes, replicate the behaviours of microscopic organisms. Recently, it has been discovered that, when physical constraints are placed upon these swimming droplets, they can undergo a cascade of self-division, remarkably similar in appearance to cell division, but purely through the action of the chemical gradients and fluid forces that drive these droplets to swim. This experimental project, co-supervised by Dr. Corinna Maaß <eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ds.mpg.de%2Fdcf%2Fmaass-group&data=01%7C01%7Cdavid.fairhurst%40ntu.ac.uk%7Ce48ac5ae47ad479a265f08d79ff9723d%7C8acbc2c5c8ed42c78169ba438…> of the MPIDS, will seek to better understand these processes, with the goal of adding to the knowledge of, and ability to recreate, life-like processes in the absence of biology. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Multiple interacting droplets. *The evaporation of an individual droplet is very well studied, but in nature and industry, there are always thousands of them. Under some situations multiple droplets evaporate more quickly than isolated droplets. Also, alternate droplets in regular arrays can evaporate leaving a larger array. This experimental project will investigate these interactions and effects, in collaboration with the Universities of Durham and Edinburgh. Contact: email@example.com
*Patterns in evaporating blood droplets. *This combined experimental/computational project will continue ground-breaking work using the patterns in dried blood droplets to monitor health and screen for diseases. Our current work (publication under review) shows that machine learning can be used to discriminate between blood droplet patterns from resting and exhausted volunteers. Proof-of-principle work also shows that this approach can be used to identify blood that is infected with malaria. In this project you will work with collaborators in hospitals and clinics in UK and Ghana to continue the work on malaria, and investigate the viability of this approach for diagnosing other conditions, such as diabetes. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Flow in soft channels. *This experimental project will investigate the interplay between fluids moving within deformable channels. As the liquid progresses, it may pull the channel walls together, or push them further apart. In a network, liquids in adjacent channels will influence each other, and can lead to bunching (as seen when hair becomes wet). The project will require cover a range of experimental techniques from microfabrication to image processing. Contact: email@example.com
*Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) of evaporating and dissolving droplets. *Building on our recently published paper on density-driven flow in binary liquid droplets (Edwards et al., Phys. Rev, Letts, 121, 184501 (2018)) using OCT, we will investigate the flow mechanisms in single and multiple droplets. We aim to combine OCT with interference techniques to make simultaneous measurements of both flow inside and fluid density around evaporating droplets. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
*The development of low cost Lateral Flow Devices for medical diagnostics applications. *Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) are rapid and low cost point-of-care membrane based platform for detecting and quantifying of analytes in complex liquids in a wide range of medical applications. In this project, we aim to develop the next generation of membranes based on electrospun nanofibres. We will investigate how the physical and chemical properties of the nanofibres affect flow rate and investigate their feasibility as active membrane in LFD. In addition, we will develop theoretical methods to enable the determination of the flow rate in the membranes. Contact: email@example.com
*Fabrication and characterisation of capillary micro-channels for microfluidics applications. *Microfluidic capillary systems use surface tension and capillary forces to handle, manipulate and control the flow of small volume of liquids within micro-channels and have attracted a large interest because their potential applications. In this project, we aim to design, fabricate and characterise micro-channels for liquid mixing and separation applications using both photolithography and 3D printing. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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