Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Numerical Modelling Using DEM-CFD and Molecular Dynamics

Surrey, United Kingdom
£34,308 to £36,386 per annum
09 Nov 2022
End of advertisement period
08 Dec 2022
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Chemical & Process Engineering

Location: Guildford
Salary: £34,308 to £36,386 per annum
Fixed Term
Post Type: Full Time
Closing Date: 23.59 hours GMT on Thursday 08 December 2022
Reference: 080122

Funded by EPSRC and in collaboration with world-leading experts at the Universities of Birmingham and Swansea, we are recruiting TWO full-time postdoctoral research fellows to work on multiscale modelling of dispersion and dissolution of hydrocolloids in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Surrey. The position holders will work with an internationally renowned supervisory team with expertise in theoretical, computational and experimental methods for complex multiphase fluids and granular materials at the universities of Surrey, Birmingham and Swansea.

Hydrocolloids (HCs) are functional ingredients widely used for modifying the rheology, texture, microstructure, water activity, shelf life, release property and organoleptic properties of foods, pharmaceuticals, and fine chemicals. Effective dispersion and hydration of hydrocolloids are critical process steps for achieving the desired rested states and functionality. However, complex dynamic processes are involved during hydrocolloid hydration including wetting, swelling, dispersion and dissolution. A thorough understanding of the physicochemical interactions of HCs with solvents and the dispersion process at a multiscale is hence essential. The goal of the collaborative project is to develop advanced modelling techniques for a wide range of HC particles so that dispersion of HCs can be optimised to promote rapid dissolution in order to avoid the formation of slowly dissolving aggregates.

Post 1 - Postdoctoral Research Fellow on DEM-CFD modelling of hydration of hydrocolloids.

This is a three year position to model the dispersion and mixing behaviour of HC particles for industrially relevant applications. The key objectives are 1) to model the hydration behaviour and kinematics of HC particles in a controlled hydrodynamic field using DEM coupled with CFD (DEM-CFD) that accounts for the wetting, swelling, rupture, gelation and particle-particle interactions of hydrated HC particles including aggregation, and 2) to predict the time evolution of the size  distribution of hydrated/swollen/ruptured HC particles in typical dispersion and mixing processes relevant to industrial applications. 

We are looking for a talented and highly motivated candidate with research experience in DEM-CFD modelling and programming and a good track record in research publication and code development. Your ability to develop/adapt a coupled discrete element method with computational fluid dynamics (DEM-CFD) code is essential. A high level of research ability and independence, and team-working skills to interact with other researchers, industry and the international academic partners are critical. The candidate must have a PhD (or close to complete your PhD) in Engineering and a related area with a strong numerical background and strong computer programming skills. A good knowledge of HPC and GPU is advantageous. Knowledge of fluid-solid flows is essential.

For informal enquiry contact Prof. Charley Wu ( ).

Post 2 - Postdoctoral Research Fellow on multi-physics modelling of hydrocolloid hydration 

This is a three-year postdoctoral research fellow position focusing on multi-physics modelling of the hydration of hydrocolloids (HCs), at molecular and single particle levels, in collaboration with three other postdoctoral research fellows in micromanipulation, discrete element modelling and finite element method.

Understanding the multi-physics of hydrocolloids hydration and its sensitivity to temperature, pH and ions are critically important for process control and optimisation. The aim of the postdoctoral research fellow is to develop molecular understanding of the dynamic process of hydrocolloid hydration. Molecular dynamics modelling will be developed to investigate how temperature, pH and presence of ions affect the interaction of water molecules with the functional groups of hydrocolloids. The effect of temperature, pH and ions on the water sorption kinetics of single HC granules will be also investigated using DVS (dynamic vapor sorption) measurement. Together with the single HC property measurement data conducted by the research fellow working on micromanipulation, a multi-physics model of single HC granule hydration will be constructed, validated and fed into finite element and discrete element modelling.

Applicants must have completed or near to completion of PhD degree. Fundamental understanding of heat mass transfer and water sorption of composite material is essential. Working experience in molecular dynamics and computer programming is also critical. Knowledge of biopolymers is advantageous. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to drive the research agenda and develop yourself as a future leader of chemical engineering and process science.

For informal enquiry contact Prof. Guoping Lian (

Further details: Job Description

For more information and to apply online, please download the further details and click on the 'apply online' button above.

In return we offer a generous pension, relocation assistance where appropriate, flexible working options including job share and blended home/campus working locations (dependent on work duties), access to world-class leisure facilities on campus, a range of travel schemes and supportive family friendly benefits including an excellent on-site nursery.

Click here to find out more about the benefits we offer to support you.

The University of Surrey is committed to providing an inclusive environment that offers equal opportunities for all. We place great value on diversity and are seeking to increase the diversity within our community. Therefore we particularly encourage applications from under-represented groups, such as people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and people with disabilities.

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