PhD Studentship Development And Control Of Foam Structures In Complex Media

A foam forms when a gas is mixed with a liquid containing a surface active agent.  The result is a structured two-phase fluid in which gas bubbles are separated by a network of interconnecting thin liquid films.  Foaming is a widespread phenomenon across a variety of industries; examples include household/personal care products, food, pharmaceuticals, enhanced oil recovery, wastewater treatment, fire fighting.  In particular, foam formation is an essential feature of a huge range of consumer products.  For some products foaming is essential to performance, for others it is merely an aesthetic which communicates correct function of the product to consumers. 

Both scenarios are equally important to product designers.  The current state of the art in industry, however, is rather empirical and largely based on a ‘hit or miss’ approach.  Whereas it is relatively easy to increase foaming power by simply adding more surfactant, surfactants are expensive and there is an associated environmental cost as more chemicals are poured down the drain. Thus, there is a need for better performing foams to reduce the large levels of surfactants currently used. To achieve this, our fundamental understanding of foam properties and their behaviour needs to be improved, to assist in the development of smarter foams that correlate with consumer desires.

Foams represent an important class of structured fluids possessing a complex rheological behaviour strongly dependent upon local structure and physicochemical constitution.  Amongst the fundamental issues that are poorly understood is the production and control of foam structures in complex fluids with shear- and time-dependent rheology.  The work will use a range of experimental and theoretical techniques to study the processes of foam formation, drainage, flow and collapse in complex fluids.

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The candidate should be a UK/EU citizen and should have at least an upper second-class degree in Engineering or Applied Science. Due to funding restrictions, other international students may apply to do this research if they have full funding to support their studies.  Enquiries should be addressed to Professor M. Barigou  (

Applications considered all year round

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