PhD Studentship – The Physics and Engineering of Flowing Suspensions -The University of Edinburgh

Suspensions of particles in liquid are found throughout nature and industry, for instance chocolate, toothpaste, slurries and ceramics. Understanding their flow properties is crucial to describing the natural world and characterising engineering processes. We are just beginning to unravel the dramatic influence that particle-particle interactions have on their flow behaviour when the liquid is Newtonian and the particles are hard, repulsive and monosized spheres (see Figure 1 and Ref [1]). In reality these conditions are rarely met: suspending liquids are often ‘viscoelastic’; particles are often soft or sticky or non-spherical and have large size distributions. How do the combined microphysics of these particle-level details control the resulting flow behaviour?

  • You will address this question using computational means, developing several key areas of expertise.
  • You will understand rheological characterisation of complex fluids;
  • Building upon codes developed in Edinburgh, you will implement particle-level force models to simulate bulk flow of suspensions.
  • You will develop post-processing techniques to generate viscosity and microstructural measurements;
  • Your work will improve our fundamental understanding and guide constitutive model development.

This computational project is supervised by Dr Chris Ness (School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh). It will involve regular interaction with experimentalists both locally and globally. Interested candidates may contact the supervisor for further information (, and may wish to prepare a 1-page research proposal on a specific area relevant to this theme.

[1] Ness, Christopher, Ryohei Seto, and Romain Mari. The physics of dense suspensions, Annual Review of Condensed Matter Physics 2022, 13:97-117

Further Information:

The University of Edinburgh is committed to equality of opportunity for all its staff and students, and promotes a culture of inclusivity. Please see details here:

Principal Supervisor: Dr Christopher Ness


Applications are particularly welcome from candidates expecting to receive a first class degree in chemical engineering, physics, applied mathematics or a closely related subject.

Minimum entry qualification – an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Applications are welcomed from self-funded students, or students who are applying for scholarships from the University of Edinburgh or elsewhere.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries:

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