PhD project Cooling Microelectronics via Phase Change: Advanced Numerical and Analytical Modelling

Supervisor: Dr Prashant Valluri

Cooling microelectronics is a major challenge and all industry majors like Intel are working very hard to prolong the lives of high-speed processors by means of better cooling. We have recently secured a major project co-funded by Industry (Selex Galileo, Thermacore, Rainford precision instruments and Sustainable Energy Systems) to develop novel ways to cool microelectronic chips used in our computers and smartphones using phase change fluids (like refrigerants). Cooling chips is essential to prolong the life of the device and retain the processing speed and current cooling methods (by air) are highly inefficient. We aim to overcome scientifically challenging problems in multi-microchannel cooling and through detailed understanding of the fundamental phenomena, develop a design model and methodologies and construct a prototype microchannel cooling system.

The project involves both experiments and modelling of flow-boiling phenomena in microchannels. In addition to industry majors listed above, the project also has links with several major international partner universities.  Key highlights are:

  1. Experiments at state-of-art facilities at Edinburgh (Institute for Materials and Processes, Scottish Microelectronics Centre)
  2. Access to facilities at Brunel University and the industrial partners (Selex, Thermacore, SES and Rainford Precision).
  3. Advanced flow modelling methods using latest supercomputing facilities like HECToR (UK’s national supercomputer based at Edinburgh) and Eddie (minisupercomputer – Edinburgh Data and Compute Facility).
  4. Possible secondment at one of our several international partners (University of Maryland, Shanghai Jiaotong University China, EPFL Lausanne and University College Dublin).
  5. Publication of research in scientific journals of highest repute (Langmuir, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Journal of Heat Transfer etc) and major international conferences (American Physical Society – Division of Fluid Dynamics etc)

Possibility of wider dissemination through media and science festivals and industry trade events (like those of Intel and other micro-processor manufacturers) 

Funding Notes:

This PhD project is funded for Home UK students (fees & stipend).

We are looking for one PhD student for the modeling aspect of the project. The student will interact extensively with experimentalists in the project both at Edinburgh and Brunel (along with the industrial partners). It is expected that the student will perform few experiments on flow boiling. This is so that student gets a good understanding of the challenges.

The student must satisfy the standard University of Edinburgh criteria for postgraduate (PhD) recruitment in School of Engineering. The student:

  • Must have a background in chemical/mechanical engineering, or any other relevant engineering discipline with first class honours. Physicists and Mathematicians with a first class honours degree are also welcome to apply.
  • Must have a keen interest towards numerical and analytical modelling of flows using CFD solvers.
  • Will be capable of working independently, will be self-motivated, will have a good team spirit and excellent communication skills.
  • Will be enthusiastic about science and have a good academic record.
  • Will be keen to venture into major industrial challenges which have not be tackled before
  • Will be keen to interact closely with industry 

Please apply here:

Select the Research Area: “Materials and Processes” and clearly state on your application form which project you are applying for and the supervisor.

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