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

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
  • 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


    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to:

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University