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)


  • 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

 Duncan Dockar and Sree Hari Dharmapalan have started their PhD research at Edinburgh this month (supervised by Matthew Borg and Jason Reese), alongside a new visitor to the partnership, Wenjing Zhou. Duncan recently graduated MEng from Edinburgh University, and Sree Hari graduated MTech from IIT Kharagpur, India. Wenjing has a PhD in engineering thermophysics from Xi’an Jiaotong University, China, and is staying with us for 12 months. We welcome all these new people to the partnership and look forward to working with them on various topics in nanoscale interfacial dynamics!

Dr Srinivasa Ramisetti gives a talk "Slip Flow Over Nano-Structured Surfaces With Entrapped Gas" on 12 September 2016 at the 5th Micro Nano Flows Conference in Milan, Italy.

Welcome to Mike and Chengxi, who earlier this month started their PhD journey with the Micro & Nano Flows group at Warwick. Mike has a systems and software engineering background, and Chengxi has a variety of experience in computational fluid dynamics. Both will be focussing on aspects of nanoscale interfacial dynamics, drawing on a range of computational tools (e.g. from DSMC to MD).

David Stephenson

Dr David Stephenson , Research Fellow, University of Warwick

Last weekend, in the name of team bonding, the Warwick contingent of our group joined the rest of the Warwick Fluid Dynamics Research Centre for our annual hiking trip, providing a good opportunity for some of our newer members to get to know the other staff in the department. The destination was Llanberis in North Wales, with the trail being a disused slate mine, which is still home to a lot of the old mining equipment along with a series of caves and tunnels through the mountain. However, before any walking could take place, tradition had to be adhered to with no less than 6 people going for a swim in what I'm assured was "actually quite warm" water in a nearby lake (pictured). At 10pm. In October. In Wales. Below are some pictures of the hike.

At the end of the at-times-treacherous hike, we all had survived and some of the more hipster people in our group even managed to return home with some rusted junk they could convert into a household item, so all in all a successful trip.

Dr Matthew K. Borg

Dr Matthew K. Borg, University of Edinburgh


Checkout this interesting video on the newly observed "antibubbles". A 'normal' bubble is a thin film spherical shell of liquid encapsulating a gas sphere, while an antibubble is a thin film spherical shell of gas, encapsulating a liquid. 


Dr James Sprittles, University of Warwick

One day, the snug protective blanket of the Micro & Nano Flows group will be removed and you will have to find a job.  At this point you may look at your CV and panic that it is rather sparse (let's be honest, no one cares too much about your grade 3 on flute or your orange belt in karate).  How to avoid this scenario?

Despite the well-funded nature of our group, it is worth considering applying for 'small pots of money' that may (a) be useful to fund additional activities and (b) would demonstrate to any potential employer that you are highly motivated and can win grants.  For example, this could fund:

  • travel - e.g. to setup a new collaboration by making an extended trip abroad
  • workshop organisation - e.g. to engage with people outside your main discipline
  • computing time - to run simulations on HPC facilities

Typically such grants would be for a few thousand pounds and the application procedure would be relatively straightforward. 

What I thought would be useful is to setup a section Funding for Early Career Researchers under the Opportunities tab, where people can contribute with their experience of winning small grants (i.e. those which PhD/PDRAs can apply for) - hope it helps.