Professor Marcello Lappa

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Personal statement

M. Lappa is a Full Professor at the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering of the University of Strathclyde (UK, Glasgow), where he is also the Leader (main Programme Advisor of Studies) of the MSc courses in Mechanical Engineering and the Head of the James Weir Fluid Laboratory.

Since 2021, he is listed in the "World Ranking of Top 2% Scientists" in  Stanford University database (both "Single year" and "Career" versions) in the subfield Fluids & Plasmas: October 2023 data-update for "Updated science-wide author databases of standardized citation indicators", see Table_1_Authors_singleyr_2022_pubs_since_1788_wopp_extracted_202310.xlsx and Table_1_Authors_career_2022_pubs_since_1788_wopp_extracted_202310.xlsx.

Over the last 25 years, he has authored 3 international books (2004, Elsevier Science, Cambridge; 2009, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester; 2012, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester) and more than 200 publications (over 130 articles in high impact-factor peer reviewed journals or as book chapters, most of which as single author,, and 70 other conference and technical papers). His research focuses on fluid motion and stability behaviour, computational fluid dynamics, incompressible and compressible fluid flows, organic and inorganic materials sciences and crystal growth, multiphase flows, solidification, high-temperature gas-dynamics, particle dynamics and microgravity science.

He has conducted (as a PI) scientific experiments in the fields of fluids and materials science on board the international Space Station, which have attracted the attention of several media and the UK Government (

At the University of Strathclyde he currently leads a group consisting of Research Associates and several PhD Students. Over recent years he has secured (in a position of Principal Investigator) over £ 2.1 million of external funding. Funds have been attracted from a set of different sources, e.g., EPSRC, STFC, UKSA, ESA and industrial entities. He seats in the Steering Committees of several conferences (ICTEA, ICCES, ICFVM, ParCFD, ICOME, ICCMREA, AMT, ICMAPH) and acts as a Reviewer for several funding bodies (EPSRC-UK, DFG-Germany, FNRS-Belgium, GIF-Israel, ANVUR-Italy, NSERC-Canada, NVSTE-Kazakhstan and the European Space Agency) and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Since 2005 he has served as the Editor-in-Chief of the International Scientific Journal "Fluid Dynamics & Materials Processing", which is currently abstracted and Indexed in SCOPUS and the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) of Web of Science, Thomson Reuters/Clarivate Analytics Master Journal List.

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The symmetry properties and bifurcations of viscoelastic thermovibrational convection in a square cavity
Boaro Alessio, MacDowall Gregor, Lappa Marcello
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics Vol 108 (2023)
Fluidization and transport of vibrated granular matter : a review of landmark and recent contributions
Watson Peter, Bonnieu Sebastien Vincent, Lappa Marcello
Fluid Dynamics and Materials Processing Vol 20, pp. 1-29 (2023)
Thermographic analysis of topographically controlled Marangoni–Rayleigh–Bénard convection in a fluid with temperature-dependent properties
Waris Wasim, Lappa Marcello
International Journal of Thermal Sciences Vol 196 (2023)
On the relationship between solid particle attractors and thermal inhomogeneities in vibrationally-driven fluid-particle systems
Manayil Santhosh Balagopal, Lappa Marcello
Physics of Fluids Vol 35 (2023)
Perspectives and recent progresses on the simulation of the entry into the atmospheres of the outer ice giants
Esposito Antonio, Lappa Marcello
Journal of Aerospace Science, Technologies & Systems (2023)
Viscoelastic thermally-driven flows in normal and microgravity conditions : laminar and turbulent states
Lappa Marcello, Boaro Alessio, Ferialdi Hermes
21st International Workshop on Numerical Methods for Non-Newtonian Flows , pp. 41 (2023)

More publications

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16429 (SEM2) Computational Fluid Dynamics (4th year).  

  • Contents: What is CFD?; Typical Applications; The continuum hypothesis, control volumes and surfaces; Integral Formulation of the Balance Equations; The General Unsteady Convection/DiffusionTransport Equation; Space and Time Integration: Finite Volume (FV) Methods; Explicit and Implict FV Methods; Diffusive and convective terms; High-order approximation; The Upwind approach; The “local” or “differential” formulation of the balance equations; The differential formulation of the “unsteady convection/diffusion equation”; Time discretization and space schemes in Finite Difference Methods; Characteristic numbers and simplified versions of the balance equations; Incompressible Flow: The Projection Method and Pressure-based solvers; Thermal Problems: The Boussinesq approximation; Fully Compressible Flow: Density based solvers: Steady and Unsteady Flows; Solvers for steady flow. Turbulence models: What is Turbulence?; Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) and the concept of Kolmogorov length scale; Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations (RANS) and related models (k-e); Isotropic Turbulence & The Large Eddy Simulation (LES); The Smagorinsky-Lilly model.


ME301 Heat and Flow 3

ME203 Heat and Flow 2

ME205 Fluid Mechanics 2

ME101 Heat and Flow 1 

ME108 Engineering Analysis and Numerical Methods

ME514 Advanced Topics in Fluid System Engineering


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Research Interests

Fluid mechanics, thermal sciences and related computational techniques are my primary research interests. Various scientific fields, including (but not limited to) thermal, mechanical and materials engineering, marine, aeronautical and aerospace engineering, organic and inorganic crystal growth, life sciences and many other related fields employ the results of these disciplines.

I am interested in studying problems of practical impact and enjoy the process of exploring applications in different domains, abstracting the essence of the considered subjects, and devising and analyzing techniques that offer solutions to a wide spectrum of real world applications. It is my experience that many superficially different problems, in fact, may share inherent characteristics. Understanding these aspects often enables us to tackle the problem at a deeper level and to develop better solutions that apply across a number of domains. I believe that, in addition to critical thinking and creativity, the ability to appreciate both industrial applications and fundamental research is equally important.

My current research team includes:

Research associates:

Dr. Mohammed Moshfeghi

PhD students (as a first supervisor):

Balagopal Manayil Santhosh 

Peter Watson

Ahmed Aljanadi

Udom Evans Joel

Former PhD students:

Wasim Waris (Viva held on 24/2/2023)

Georgie Crewdson (Viva held on 6/2/2023, currently working at

Alessio Boaro  (Viva held on 2/12/2022)

Saad Inam completed his PhD on Feb 2022  (currently Research Associate at the University of Southampton)

Hermes Ferialdi (Viva held on 30/01/2020, Currently working at PLUS s.r.l., )

Former Research Associates

Monica Kerr (until August 1st 2022)

Paolo Capobianchi (Nov 2018 - Nov 2020; current position: Lecturer/ Assistant Professor )

Thomas Burel  (March 2019 - Dec 2020) -  founder of the SIMUNI company (, whose mission is CFD, multi-scale simulations of complex fluid phenomena and high-performance computing.


The following list gives a brief account of the past and present research topics of immediate interest to me. These subjects include both canonical problems and emerging technologies.

 Thermogravitational flows

  • Buoyancy convection 
  • High Temperature Thermal Convection in High Power Density Processes
  • Furnace Engineering
  • Buoyant rising jets originated from discrete sources of buoyancy

Multi phase flows 

  • Two-phase flows
  • Drop coalescence and aggregation phenomena
  • Drop coalescence and wetting prevention phenomena
  • Thermocapillary migration of drops and bubbles
  • Convective phenomena in liquid-liquid systems with a miscibility gap
  • Flows with phase change and/or crystallization.

Solid particle dynamics

  • Dynamics of dispersed particles in metal alloys and emulsions.
  • Solid Particle Sedimentation.
  • Solid particle spontaneous accumulation phenomena (inertial particle clustering).
  • Ordering and transport of small particles in incompressible flows.
  • Dynamics of particles in supersonic flow (blast wave propagation in dusty gas)

CFD applied to Materials Processing

  • Thermal, mechanical and electromagnetic control of stability of flows driven by convection in crystal growth processes and devices.
  • Modeling of solidifying interfaces (enthalpy method and related variants).
  • Numerical tracking of moving fronts and boundaries (for inorganic and organic crystal growth processes and for biological tissue growth).
  • Control of flow patterns and their stability  
  • Control of three-dimensional instabilities of convective flows by means of static magnetic fields
  • Control of three-dimensional instabilities of convective flows by means of thermovibrational effects

Thermocapillary (Marangoni) flows

  • Stability of Marangoni flow in cylindrical  liquid bridges and floating-column configurations
  • Marangoni flow in non-cylindrical (e.g., deformed by the effect of gravity) configurations
  • Marangoni flows in open (2D and 3D) cavities driven by temperature gradients along the free surface
  • Marangoni-Bènard systems (hexagonal flow patterns and subsequent transitions)
  • Thermal Marangoni flow around droplets surrounded by a miscible or immiscible liquid

Thermovibrational flows

  • Averaged models for flows driven by time-periodic forces (e.g., vibrations, g-jitter).
  • Vibration-induced (g-jitter) stabilization and destabilization of flows (crystal growth in microgravity and in normal gravity conditions)

Methods of numerical analysis in Computational Fluid Dynamics and Heat/Mass Transfer

  • Finite volume method in computational fluid dynamics
  • Volume of Fluid (VOF) methods for tracking of moving fronts and boundaries 
  • Level set method for tracking of moving fronts and boundaries 

High Performance Computing

  • Parallelization of CFD codes on parallel computers (e.g., Cray T3E).
  • Parallelization programming tools (Message Passing Interface, MPI)

 Biological fluid dynamics

  • Growth, kinetics and morphological evolution of organic protein crystals.
  • Periodic precipitation and sedimentation of proteins (crystallization of organic substances in liquid phase, multi-crystal configurations).
  • Multiple crystal nucleation phenomena in liquid phase.
  • Evaluation of fluid dynamic effects on the growth and morphological stability of protein crystals.
  • Application of Volume of Fluid and level-set methods to the growth of protein crystals.

Tissue Engineering and CFD

  • Modeling of the growth of organic tissues in rotating bioreactors.
  • Analysis of shape evolution as a function of environmental factors (e.g., the shear fluid dynamic stress)
  • Application of VOF and level-set methods to the growth of biological tissue in vitro.

Professional Activities

International Conference on Materials & Energy 2023
Keynote/plenary speaker
International Centre for Heat and Mass Transfer (External organisation)
ESA-ESTEC (External organisation)
14th International Conference on Thermal Engineering: Theory and Applications (ICTEA)
Chairman of PhD Examination
13th International Conference on Thermal Engineering: Theory and Applications (ICTEA)

More professional activities


Vibrations as a novel tool for particle self-assembly and vibro-fluidization in space environments
Lappa, Marcello (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2025
Vibrations as a novel tool for particle self-assembly and vibro-fluidization in space environments | Watson, Peter
Lappa, Marcello (Principal Investigator) Capobianchi, Paolo (Co-investigator) Watson, Peter (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 01-Jan-2026
Particles & Fluids for SpX-26
Lappa, Marcello (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 31-Jan-2023
Mixture Degassing for Flight Experiment
Lappa, Marcello (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2022
Particle Vibration ESR Finalisation
Lappa, Marcello (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2021
The ESA/JAXA JEREMI (Japanese European Research Experiments on Marangoni Instabilities) - Project
Lappa, Marcello (Principal Investigator)
10-Jan-2018 - 09-Jan-2020

More projects

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Professor Marcello Lappa
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Tel: 548 2043