PhD Studentship, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering

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

Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Wednesday 31 August 2022
Reference:  1669222DA

Building-resolved large-eddy simulations of wind and dispersion over a city scale urban area

Supervisory Team:    Zhengtong Xie, Lois  Huggett @metoffice

Project description

We are in a changing world.  This includes climate change, fast developing urban environments where most of the population lives.  It is crucial that we are able to understand such a complex system, and therefore to build more reliable predictive tools in time, such as for street airflows, temperature hot spots, concentration of pollutants, chemicals and pathogens in urban areas,  to mitigate any impact to be resilient. For more please read the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2021 (, which was awarded “for groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex systems", “for the physical modelling of Earth's climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming", and “for the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales”.  

The project is to understand across-scale physical processes in urban areas with a focus on ranging from the metre to kilo-metre scales, and to develop a computational fluid dynamics tool using an open source code and the efficient inflow turbulence generation method developed at Southampton to significantly speed up the numerical simulations, and therefore to bridge gaps in protection in urban environments.  

Specifically, the objectives of the project are listed below: we will build and test an integrated tool that is much faster than ‘real-time’ for prediction of wind and dispersion over a city scale urban area (about 5km X 5km) in around 1s time resolution and 1m space resolution.  We will validate the developed tool for near-field dispersion using the DAPPLE site (Marylebone Rd – Gloucester Pl, London) data  where the BT Tower meteorological conditions were used as the boundary conditions to drive the numerical simulations.

You will join a large and flourishing aerodynamics group ( engaged in a wide range of experimental and numerical studies of turbulent flows.  The project will benefit from close collaboration with other researchers and with colleagues in the collaborative project. You will be able to access the local and national supercomputers, and work closely with the UK Met Office colleagues through placements and regular meetings.   

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Zheng-Tong Xie, AFM Research Group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 4493.

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 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), 2021/22, 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 Zhengtong Xie 

Applications should include

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

Apply online:

For further information please contact:

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