Research Supervisor Connect

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling of gas-liquid two phase flow in bubble columns, photo-reactors and membrane bioreactors


The project aims to extend existing modelling techniques that have been applied to bubble column bioreactors used for fermentation processes to the study of photo-bioreactors used in the production of nutraceuticals and to membrane bioreactors used in water treatment. The PhD will be centred around computational modelling but there is also the opportunity to be involved with experimental studies if desired.


Professor David Fletcher, Dr John Kavanagh.

Research location

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Program type



In bioreactors used for fermentation processes the sparged gas promotes mixing and mass transfer to the liquid. In the proposed work, the addition of radiation modelling in the case of photo-bioreactors will be studied and in membrane bioreactors the additional dimension of reduction of membrane fouling by the shear induced by the bubbly flow at the membrane surface will be modelled. At all stages the model results will be compared with experimental data. The end goal is the development of a computational model that can be used for plant design and optimisation. 

Additional information

This project is suitable for candidates that have experience in fluid mechanics and computational modelling. You will have a good honours degree in a related field of engineering (e.g. chemical or mechanical) or science (e.g. mathematics or physics). There is the possibility that a suitable candidate could spend time in either Singapore or France as part of this project.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2378