Fluid dynamics

Fluid dynamics is an underpinning discipline that supports many diverse areas of research across a range of length scales, such as microfluidics, drug delivery, process systems, carbon capture storage (CCS), biological systems (such as bioreactors) and water engineering. This area encompasses all aspects of fundamental fluid dynamics, including the strategically important area of aerodynamics.

Researchers in this area have varied backgrounds – for example applied mathematics, aeronautical engineering, chemical engineering and mechanical engineering. The area demands a range of skills from mathematics, modelling, simulation and experimental validation and a key driver for the cohort-based approach would be to enable students to develop a breadth of skills. The International Review of Mathematics 2010 highlighted the strength of fluid mechanics in the UK and the requirement to protect this.

The area has a relevance to many sectors: process industries, aerospace, pharmaceutical, healthcare, water, construction, automotive, chemicals, oil and gas as well as the emerging area of wind power. Within the Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network Strategy Report 2010, the importance of working across disciplines was highlighted, alongside the importance of lab-based training. It is anticipated that some engagement with industry partners from these sectors would be a feature of a fluid dynamics centre.

The importance of aerodynamics has been highlighted in 2012 by the creation of the UK Aerodynamics Centre accompanied by significant investment in applied research in the area. Proposals with a focus on aerodynamics should feature the integration of theoretical and experimental approaches among the cohort, and a tangible user engagement from a range of industrial partners across all appropriate sectors.

Proposals that have a focus on fluid dynamics should encompass mathematical, modelling, simulation and experimental skills, building an understanding of key aspects such as fluid- surface interaction. The consideration of the challenges arising from working across different length scales should also feature, building an understanding of the different techniques required when, for example, a system is miniaturised.