Funded PhD Opportunity Large-scale Premixed Combustion Modelling and Simulations

Subject: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning


Pressure and thermal effects from large-scale deflagrations can be extremely hazardous due to the transition of initially laminar premixed combustion to the fast deflagration and finally through deflagration-to-detonation transition (DDT) to detonation. The role of various flame front instabilities and combustion acceleration mechanisms, especially in confined and congested environment, still not fully understood. Moreover, the interaction and thus development and elimination dynamics for each of them of different instabilities and mechanisms is not yet clarified. Modelling and simulation of transitional phenomena in premixed combustion with interplay of different instabilities and acceleration mechanisms remains a challenging problem for combustion researchers. This is particularly valid for large-scales problems relevant to accidents.

The Ulster multi-phenomena deflagration model is under continuous development during last two decades. The multi-phenomena model currently accounts for the dependence of burning velocity on changing during combustion pressure and temperature of unburnt mixture, turbulence generated by flame front itself, turbulence in unburnt mixture, increase of burning rate due to preferential diffusion in stretched curved flames in turbulent flame brush, fractal structure of turbulent flame front, etc.

The research on inclusion of Richtmyer-Meshkov instability has been carried out recently. The model has been under continuous validation against a growing number of large-scale experiments, primarily hydrogen-air deflagrations, DDT and even detonations. It is expected that a candidate will develop the model further using the state-of-the-art in the field and expand the validation domain to the following problems of practical importance: delayed ignition of highly turbulent hydrogen jets, flame propagation through large-scale flammable mixture in congested geometry, deflagration-to-detonation transition, coherent deflagrations during vented gaseous explosions, etc. Experimental data on large-scale deflagrations are available for use as validation tests from previous projects, in which Ulster University was a partner, our partners in various European projects, and in literature. The successful candidate will work at HySAFER Centre, which is a key provider of hydrogen safety research and education globally.

The candidate will focus on CFD modelling and numerical simulations, use relevant software (FLUENT, OpenFOAM, etc.), multi-processor Linux-based hardware, etc. The results of this doctoral research will be used in HySAFER’s externally funder projects and should be reported at international conferences. Publication of results in peer reviewed journals is expected.

Education in combustion and experience in CFD are welcome. The state-of-the-art software and hardware are available. HySAFER pursues a wide international collaboration strategy through national (EPSRC) and overseas (H2020) research projects.

Essential Criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed equivalent via UK NARIC)
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement


    Department for the Economy (DfE)

    The scholarships will cover tuition fees at the home rate and, for applicants with UK residence only, a maintenance allowance of £14,777 per annum for three years. EU residents may also apply but, if successful, will receive fees only.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

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Key Dates

Submission Deadline
Thursday 26 July 2018
Interview Date
7 August 2018

Contact Supervisor

Dr Dmitriy Makarov

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #237930 when applying for this PhD opportunity