PhD Studentship in Mathematics and Statistics Molecular dynamics of entangled polymers and effect of pressure on shear and extensional rheology

Supervisors:   Dr Zuowei Wang and Professor Alexei Likhtman

Project Overview:  Polymeric liquids are classical example of complex fluids, i.e. fluids whose flow cannot be described by Newtonian law with single viscosity as a parameter. Instead, the stress stored in each fluid element depends on the flow geometry and the entire flow history. This makes predictions of important industrial flows of molten plastics a very difficult and still unsolved problem. However, recent developments in our group allow us to run molecular dynamics (MD) computer simulations of flowing entangled polymers and reproduce many experimental findings. At the same time, we have developed algorithms to detect individual entanglements in MD simulations, which will allow calibrating macroscopic models using these microscopic observations.

This CASE studentship project, co-sponsored by EPSRC and Lucite International, will look at elongational flows of entangled polymers, and at effects of pressure on non-linear flow behaviour. The work will include a combination of computer simulations and analytical and numerical computations, depending on the skills and background of the applicant.

A candidate should have strong background in Physics, Mathematics or Statistics and good programming skills. The work will be supervised by Dr Zuowei Wang and Professor Alexei Likhtman. You will be part of dynamic and well established Theoretical Polymer Physics group in the University of Reading.

Eligibility:  Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in mathematics or statistics, physics, engineering or related disciplines. Experience in programming and computational algorithms is an advantage. Due to restrictions on the funding this studentship is only open to candidates from the UK/EU. 

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Funding Details: Studentship will cover Home/EU Fees and pay the Research Council stipend for UK students for a period of up to 3 years. Additional contribution to the stipend from the sponsors will be added, plus travel expenses for conferences and industry visits.

How to apply:  To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in Mathematics and Statistics to the University – see the apply button below.

When prompted as part of your online application, you should provide details of the funding you are applying for, quoting the reference GS13-175.

Application Deadline:  The position will be filled as soon as the suitable candidate is found.

Further Enquiries:  For informal inquiries please contact Zuowei Wang or Alexei Likhtman at

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