Ignazio Maria Viola’s

Fluid Dynamics Research Laboratory

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PhD Scholarship (if you are looking for PhD opportunities, see also here)

EPSRC funded (see EPSRC student eligibility). Tuition fees and stipend available for Home students or EU students who have been resident in the UK for three years (International students not eligible).

The fluid dynamics of biological compliant surfaces in turbulent flow. Dolphins, as well as most of other aquatic mammals and fish, are covered by a compliant surface that improves their fluid dynamic efficiency. Compliant surfaces, for instance, have been proven to damp flow instabilities and delay the laminar to turbulent transition, and also to damp turbulent fluctuations in fully turbulent flows. Both these two mechanisms result in drag reduction and, thus, in higher speeds and lower energy spent. Similarly, it has been found that some bird and bat wings are covered by small hair that contribute to their ability to fly stably in turbulence. Micro hair on the owl wings damp pressure fluctuations and makes this bird the most silent flyer on hearth.

This project aims to investigate the hydrodynamics of the biological fouling on yacht and ship hulls, and to explore similarities with the surfaces of swimmers and flyers in nature. When a hull is immersed in sea water, a nanoscale layer of slime, which is inherently compliant, grows on the hull. If immerged for a sufficiently long period, hairy algae also grows from the slime forming a velvet-type surface similar to that observed on birds and bats. The effect of slime and algae on the hydrodynamic resistance of yacht and ship hulls is still poorly understood and it is the objective of this research project. In the medium and long term, this research project will contribute to design more efficient surfaces for marine and aerial vehicles, and thus reducing fuel consumptions and greenhouse emissions.

The project will be performed in collaboration with AkzoNobel’s marine coatings business, International Paint (www.international-marine.com), which is the world leader company in marine coatings and an established research partner of the University of Edinburgh. Previous joint research includes the effect of roughness on ship resistance, and the conceptual design of compliant coatings for drag reduction. The student will join a vibrant community of postgraduate researchers in fluid mechanics and marine hydrodynamics at the Institute for Energy Systems. The student will be hosted by International Paint for a period of 3 months to gain experimental skill on slime farming, and to foster knowledge exchange between academia and industry. This period will allow the student to gain understanding on how the research outcomes are transformed into industrial impact, and to develop new ideas on how impact could be accelerated and enhanced.

The supervisory team will be made of Dr Ignazio Maria Viola, Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Energy Systems of the School of Engineering, and Prof. Paolo Perona, Chair of Environmental Engineering at the Institute for Infrastructure and Environment of the School of Engineering. For more information on their research groups, visit http://www.homepages.ed.ac.uk/iviola and http://www.research.ed.ac.uk/portal/pperona.

Eligibility: student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship. A first class degree is highly desirable; 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) will be considered only in exceptional circumstances. Questions on the eligibility should be directed to the U. of Edinburgh’s Engineering Graduate Office, EngGradOffice@ed.ac.uk.

Applications must be submitted by the University of Edinburgh electronic system, http://www.eng.ed.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply. Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates who are under-represented in postgraduate researchers in Engineering. Informal enquiries may be made to Dr Viola, i.m.viola@ed.ac.uk.

There is no closing date for this position, which will remain open until filled.


Research Associate in the Fluid Dynamics of Morphing Blades

Vacancy Ref: 041953
Closing date: 15th Dec 2017

Offshore wind and tidal energy are fast growing industries where the UK is world leader. A unique challenge of these industry, is the large load fluctuations at which the blades of turbines extracting energy are subjected to. These fluctuations, due to the onset velocity shear, turbulence and waves, make dynamic and fatigue failures a key limit to reliability.

Biological flyers and swimmers, on the other hand, exploit these fluctuations in the onset flow. Their flexible bodies interact with the vortical flow structures in the flow, enhancing propulsion efficiency and manoeuvrability. Conversely, turbine blades have a fixed shape and a high inertia, and the energy of flow fluctuations is absorbed by the structure, which is therefore unnecessarily heavy and expensive.
A new-concept nature-inspired blade will be developed, that will manipulate the interaction between the oncoming vortices and the vorticity generated by the blade to control the loads and increase efficiency. The control of the morphing blade will be aided by new programmable meta-materials, which are capable of high-frequency, high-strength, low-power actuation.

The proposed morphing blades will enable a step change in the efficiency and reliability of wind and tidal turbine blades. Therefore, the project will contribute to addressing key challenges in offshore and tidal energy research and to strengthening the UK resilience through a cheaper and more efficient provision of renewable energy.

This project is led by Dr Ignazio Maria Viola at the Institute for Energy Systems of the School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, Cranfield University, Nova Innovation and SRI International (California). The project is co-funded by two EPSRC centres: the UK Centre for Marine Energy Research, and the Centre for Advanced Materials for Renewable Energy Generation.

For more information and to apply for this position, please visit www.vacancies.ed.ac.uk and use the the Vacancy Reference 041953 to identify the vacancy.