PhD Studentship – ‘The characterization of diesel nozzle flow and spray formation using laser induced fluorescence (LIF) and laser sheet drop-sizing’


High pressure common rail diesel fuel injection equipment (FIE) for passenger cars and trucks are operating at ever-increasing pressures. The fuel that is supplied to the engine via fuel injectors flows through the injector nozzles subject to very large local pressure gradients. The fuel flow that results is a multi-phase cavitation flow, which then exits the nozzles to form external fuel jets that reflect the structure of the internal flow before atomizing into droplets and mixing with the surrounding air.

The overall aims of the project are: (1) the development and application of micro-scale laser induced fluorescence (LIF) to measure the local liquid volume fraction inside an optically accessible, real size model minisac diesel injector, (2) simultaneous laser sheet drop-sizing in one of the external spray jets.

The aims of the project are to be achieved in a purpose-built test cell using high speed, micro-scale optical diagnostics. The project will involve: (1) the design, manufacture and quality control analysis of optically accessible minisac injector tips, (2) the development of a high speed, micro-scale imaging system, (3) high speed imaging of the laser induced fluorescence signal generated and obtained in a cavitating diesel nozzle, (4) conversion of the local, internal LIF signal to an estimate of local cavitation void fraction, and (5) simultaneous high speed laser sheet drop-sizing imaging of an external diesel fuel jet obtained from the optically accessible nozzle tip.

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The experiments will be conducted in the Applied Thermodynamics Laboratory (incorporated into the Research Centre for Energy & Transport) at City University London, under the supervision of Dr Russel Lockett and Professor Jamshid Nouri. The Applied Thermodynamics Laboratory incorporates the work of twelve investigators conducting experimental and modelling research in screw machinery, high speed turbo-machinery, engines, fuel injection systems, fuels, combustion, and applied optical diagnostics, employing five technicians, and including approximately thirty PhD students.

The studentship is available immediately for a period of three years, covers full UK/EU PhD tuition fees, and provides a tax-free stipend at the rate of £15,000 per annum for the duration of the project.


The PhD candidate will be responsible for (1) designing and managing the manufacture of a set of optically accessible diesel injector nozzle tips, (2) developing the high speed micro-scale imaging system, (3) developing and employing laser induced fluorescence (LIF) for the measurement of local liquid volume fraction, and (4) undertaking the experiments for a number of different diesel fuels. The candidate will be responsible for reporting his/her results in agreement with the standards set by the University and submit papers for peer review journals or relevant international conferences.

Person Specification

A good MEng/MSc degree (1st Class or 2/1 equivalent) in Mechanical Engineering or Chemical Engineering, or an equivalent MSc in Physics or Chemistry, is required. Applicants with a 1st Class BSc (Hons) degree in Physics and/or Chemistry will also be considered. Some experience in experimental fluid mechanics, chemical kinetic modelling and/or laser spectroscopy is desirable.

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Additional Information

If you require further information please contact Dr Russel Lockett, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Aeronautics, School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, City University London, London, EC1V 0HB, or via email: Applicants should send a letter of application and their CV to Dr Lockett by email.

To apply for this post, please click on the Apply button below.

Closing date: 13 December 2013

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