PhD Studentship Volcanic Ash Fallout

Fluid & Particle Processes Group, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham

Nearly 10% of the World’s population lives within 100km of an active volcano and UK residents will remember the cost and chaos caused by the eruption and subsequent ash dispersion from Eyjafjallajokull in 2010. The co-supervisor here developed the first time dependent model predicting how high ash from a volcanic eruption thrusts into the atmosphere. The project investigates how the ash subsequently disperses and sediments to the ground – crucial information if effective hazard mitigation strategies are to be devised and a subject of long-standing debate in the interpretation of volcanic deposit data. You will undertake experiments employing hydrogel beads to model ash in a density-driven cloud. These beads have highly tunable properties meaning that interaction between ash and surroundings is well replicated. You will develop a mathematical model for ash sedimentation and couple it to volcanic plume equations, providing a vent-to-fallout model. In collaboration with Bristol University (Dr Jeremy Phillips) a field campaign is under way in Guatemala providing unique field evidence that you will use to validate experiment and theory.

Applications are invited for a fully funded, 3 year NERC PhD studentship in the Fluid & Particle Process Group of the Faculty of Engineering. This award is available to UK/EU members only, due to funding restrictions. The Faculty is ranked in the top 5 out of 85 engineering departments in the UK in the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), with most of its research output classified as world leading or internationally excellent in quality. This studentship is an excellent opportunity to become involved at the forefront of research in an exciting and timely research theme.  You will have access to our award winning Graduate school, offering technical courses and services in enhancing career prospects.

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The studentship will cover full PhD tuition fees and a tax-free stipend for three years (£13,726 for the 2013-14 academic year, with possible £2,000 enhancement for an exceptional candidate). The studentship is expected to start in September 2013, or as early as possible after this date.

To be a successful candidate, you will hold an excellent degree (1st class from a leading UK University or an MSc with distinction – these are prerequisites of the funding) in Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Physics, or an Engineering discipline with significant fluid mechanics content. You should be able to demonstrate an interest in experimental fluid mechanics and mathematical modelling. You should be enthusiastic, keen to learn and motivated.  Previous experience with MatLab and/or Experimental Techniques (e.g. image analysis, data acquisition) is preferred.

Informal enquiries prior to making an application may be addressed to Dr Barbara Turnbull, or Dr Matthew Scase, To make an application, please send a covering letter stating clearly how you fulfill the requirements of the studentship, your research interests and include a CV, an academic transcript, and the names and addresses of two academic referees, to the email address provided by clicking the ‘Apply’ button below.

Please quote ref. ENG/719.

Closing Date: 22 July 2013.

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