Micro & Nano Flows for Engineering

The micro & nano flows group is a research partnership between the Universities of Warwick and Edinburgh, and Daresbury Laboratory. We investigate gas and liquid flows at the micro and nano scale (where conventional analysis and classical fluid dynamics cannot be applied) using a range of simulation techniques: molecular dynamics,  extended hydrodynamics, stochastic modelling, and hybrid multiscaling. Our aim is to predict and understand these flows by developing methods that combine modelling accuracy with computational efficiency.

Targeted applications all depend on the behaviour of interfaces that divide phases, and include: radical cancer treatments that exploit nano-bubble cavitation; the cooling of high-power electronics through evaporative nano-menisci; nanowire membranes for separating oil and water, e.g. for oil spills; and smart nano-structured surfaces for drag reduction and anti-fouling, with applications to low-emissions aerospace, automotive and marine transport.

 

EPSRC Programme Grant in Nano-Engineered Flow Technologies

Our work is supported by a number of funding sources (see below), including a 5-year EPSRC Programme Grant (2016-2020). This Programme aims to underpin future UK innovation in nano-structured and smart interfaces by delivering a simulation-for-design capability for nano-engineered flow technologies, as well as a better scientific understanding of the critical interfacial fluid dynamics.

We will produce software that a) resolves interfaces down to the molecular scale, and b) spans the scales relevant to the engineering application. As accurate molecular/particle methods are computationally unfeasible at engineering scales, and efficient but conventional fluids models do not capture the important molecular physics, this is a formidable multiscale problem in both time and space. The software we develop will have embedded intelligence that decides dynamically on the correct simulation tools needed at each interface location, for every phase combination, and matches these tools to appropriate computational platforms for maximum efficiency.

This work is strongly supported by nine external partners (see below).

Current Funding

  • “Nano-Engineered Flow Technologies: Simulation for Design across Scale and Phase” EPSRC Programme Grant EP/N016602/1 01/16-12/20 (£3.4M)
  • “The First Open-Source Software for Non-Continuum Flows in Engineering” EPSRC grants: EP/K038427/1 K038621/1 K038664/1 07/13-06/17 (£0.9M)
  • “Multiscale Simulation of Interfacial Dynamics for Breakthrough Nano/Micro-Flow Engineering Applications” ARCHER Leadership Project 11/15-10/17 (£60k in supercomputer computational resource)
  • “Skating on Thin Nanofilms: How Liquid Drops Impact Solids” Leverhulme Research Project Grant 08/16-08/19 (£146k funding a 3-year PDRA)

Partnerships

  • Airbus Group Ltd
  • AkzoNobel
  • Bell Labs
  • European Space Agency
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • National Physical Laboratory
  • Oxford Biomedical Engineering (BUBBL)
  • TotalSim Ltd
  • Waters Corporation

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Latest news and blogs

Jason Reese has been elected Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) upon the recommendation of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics. The number of APS Fellows elected each year is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the total membership, so this is a prestigious recognition of Prof Reese’s outstanding contributions to the physics of fluids. 

The citation from the APS recognises Prof Reese “for original contributions to multiscale fluid dynamics research, unique work in rarefied gas dynamics, pioneering hybrid modelling, and simulation methods for flows at the micro- and nanoscales.”

The American Physical Society was founded in 1899 “to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics”. It publishes more than a dozen scientific journals, including the prestigious ‘Physical Review’ and ‘Physical Review Letters’, and organises more than twenty science meetings each year. The APS conducts extensive programs in education, public outreach, and media relations; APS divisions and topical groups cover all areas of physics research. Forums reflect the interests of its over 53,000 international members in broader issues, and sections are organised by geographical region.

Dr. Duncan Lockerby

Prof. Duncan Lockerby, University of Warwick

This week, Warwick welcomes two post-doctoral researchers Livio Gibelli and Juan Padrino. Livio has a long track record in the development and applications of kinetic theory; he joins us from Politecnico de Torino. Juan has made contributions to a broad range of fields, in particular, potential-flow modelling of viscous fluids; he joins us from Los Alamos National Laboratory. This is a picture of the whole Warwick team together after Juan and Livio's welcome lunch...

Jun gave an invited talk at Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences on January 4th, 2017. His talk was titled "Molecular simulation and multiscale modelling of nonequilibrium and noncontinuum flows" (in Chinese: 非平衡和非连续流的分子统计模拟与多尺度计算), and was given in front of audiences numbering about 50. The topics include his recent works on droplets and previous works on rarefied gas dynamics. 

Dr Matthew K. Borg

Dr Matthew K. Borg, University of Edinburgh

This interesting article by Prof Raymond Goldstein (Cambridge) explains the common impediments we sometimes encounter in peer review publication, and perhaps a possible solution. 

To read this article, please click here.

Source http://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/PT.3.3378; NICK D. KIM, SCIENCEANDINK.COM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure source: http://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/PT.3.3378; & NICK D. KIM, SCIENCEANDINK.COM

Duncan Dockar, PhD Student, University of Edinburgh

A unique application of capillary flow allows workers aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to sip their coffee as easily as they would back on Earth. Designed by NASA astronaut Don Pettit, the cup makes use of a narrow, angled channel to draw liquid up by capillary action. This wetting effect is also unhampered by gravity on the ISS, allowing for a satisfying and uninterrupted drink.

 

Although it seems like just a bit of fun, the technology is already in use for fluid transport in weightless environments, such as in fuel tanks for rockets, micro-gravity condensing heat exchangers and multiphase fluid control. The unique behaviour of fluids in microgravity is especially relevant to our own research at the Micro & Nano Flows group and hopefully in time we will see many more interesting devices driven by unconventional fluid effects.

 

For those interested, a replica cup is available if you wish to drink like an astronaut, although with the addition of a stable, flat base for when gravity gets you down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more here

Checkout the video demostrating the use of liquid droplets to avoid wear and material failure that is typically associated in systems with solid connections. Please follow the link below for more information.
http://news.mit.edu/2016/movable-microplatform-floats-sea-droplets-1216