PhD Studentship, Experimental Studies on Perturbed and Distorted Turbulent Boundary Layers

Southampton, United Kingdom
£15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years
22 Dec 2021
End of advertisement period
31 Jan 2022
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Monday 31 January 2022
Reference:  1648721DA

Supervisory Team:    Bharathram Ganapathisubramani

Project description

Perturbation and distortion from different sources influence the development of turbulent boundary layers significantly and alter their characteristics. This results in loss of lift, increased drag and higher noise levels. Such perturbed/distorted boundary layers are present in various engineering applications and natural environment. As we strive towards achieving NetZero, it is increasingly important to develop new understanding as well as predictive models relevant to practical applications where the boundary layers are distorted/perturbed by external sources. 

In this exciting experimental project, we aim to explore the effects of different types of perturbations/distortions on a turbulent boundary layer flow at high Reynolds numbers. There are different classes of perturbations/distortions varying from weak to strong. 

  1.  First, our goal is to examine the influence of “weak’’ perturbation where a porous and rough surface alters the structure of a boundary layers and its drag  
  2. Second, we hope to understand the influence of “moderate” perturbations caused by large gaps and cavities on the boundary layer 
  3. Finally, we aim to identify the effects of “strong” distortion caused by a rotor operating near a surface that not only alters the performance of the rotor but significantly changes the characteristics of the boundary layer. 

The candidate will design new experiments that can be carried out in state-of-the-art facilities (brand-new wind tunnel or refractive index matched facility) and obtain high-fidelity experimental data using advanced flow diagnostic methods such as 3D Particle Image Velocimetry and Particle Tracking Methods. The resulting data should be analysed to better understand the flow mechanisms, develop predictive capabilities, and propose new flow control strategies. 

The project is open-ended, and the details will be tailored to suit your interests and skills. We can focus on just one type of perturbation or tackle a whole range of them. You will have a unique opportunity to work alongside other team members (PhD students and postdoctoral researchers) with diverse background and experience. You will be trained in using state-of-the-art diagnostics and advanced data-analysis methods that will enable you to pursue a career in academia or industry. Finally, you be able to travel to international conferences to present your work and/or develop new collaborations with research groups around the world. 

 Further information on the type of projects carried out in our lab as well information on current lab members can be found in our website (

Entry Requirements

A Bachelors/Master’s degree in Engineering with interest (and some experience) in carrying out experimental work. A strong mathematical and computing (MATLAB, PYTHON etc.) foundation is crucial for development of data analysis codes and subsequent model synthesis.

Closing date: 31 January 2022 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

How To Apply

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2022/23, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD  Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Bharathram Ganapathisubramani 

Applications should include

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Two reference letters
  • Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact:

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