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Prof Nigel Mottram

Mathematics and Statistics

Personal statement

I am currently the Deputy Head of Department, a role which involves strategy development and  delegating for the Head of Department in all academic and teaching matters, including undergraduate and masters course development, awards and appeals matters. 

My research interests are in the mathematical modelling of real-world systems, generally focussing on those that include the dynamics of non-Newtonian fluids. I am particularly interested in anisotropic fluids such as liquid crystals, where viscoelasticity is an important consideration, as is their behaviour under electric fields. I also have projects in the areas of medical and biological systems. Current projects also include investigations of active fluids, such as bacterium or micro-organism organisation within fluid flows, and biological flow systems. 

In a wider context I am a member of the British Liquid Crystal Society, the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, the British Rheology Society and a Fellow of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, as well as an active participant in the European Consortium for Mathematics in Industry. 

I am interested in mathematics applied to real-world problems in a general sense and I welcome enquiries from anyone interested to understand more about mathematical modelling.

I currently have PhD, MRes and MPhil projects available and prospective applicants should email me at


Nematic liquid crystal director structures in rectangular regions
Walton J., Mottram N.J., McKay G.
Physical Review E: Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics Vol 97, (2018)
Electro-manipulation of droplets for microfluidic applications
Corson Lindsey, Tsakonas Costas, Duffy Brian, Mottram Nigel, Brown Carl, Wilson Stephen
The European Consortium for Mathematics in IndustryMathematics in Industry Vol 22, pp. 1073-1080, (2017)
Dynamic response of a thin sessile drop of conductive liquid to an abruptly applied or removed electric field
Corson L. T., Mottram N. J., Duffy B. R., Wilson S. K., Tsakonas C., Brown C. V.
Physical Review E: Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics Vol 94, (2016)
Analytic solutions of a simple advection-diffusion model of an oxygen transfer device
McKee Sean, Dougall Ewan A., Mottram Nigel J.
Journal of Mathematics in Industry Vol 6, (2016)
Flow-induced delayed Freedericksz transition
Mottram Nigel, Mckay Geoffrey, Brown Carl, Russell Craig, Sage Ian
Physical Review E: Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics Vol 93, (2016)
Electric fields can control the transport of water in carbon nanotubes
Ritos Konstantinos, Borg Matthew K., Mottram Nigel J., Reese Jason M.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences Vol 374, (2016)

more publications


Current PhD students

  • Areej Abdullah Almuneef
  • Zuhur Moraya Alqahtani
  • Josh Walton
  • Pretheepan Radhakrishnan
  • Joseph Cousins

Current teaching

  • MM512: Optimisation: Theory and Practice
  • EO101: Mathematical Tools (online distance learning class)
  • MM116: Engineering Mathematics
  • CPD: Ordinary Differential Equations for NERC PhD students

Previous teaching:

  • MM405: Fluids and Waves
  • MA409: Calculus of Variations
  • MM311: Mathematics for Physicists
  • MM202: Advanced Calculus
  • MM201: Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
  • ME209: Mathematical Modelling & Analysis for Mechanical Engineers
  • MM101: Introduction to Calculus
  • MM112/113: Engineering Mathematics



Research interests

Continuum theory of anisotropic materials

  • Anisotropy in the natural environment: swimming/self-organised organisms, tissue growth, mixing 
  • Order parameter changes in nematic liquid crystals: defects, field induced changes, tensor theory.
  • Theories of biaxial nematic liquid crytals
  • Surface effects: induced order, bistabilty in anisotropic fluids.
  • Disclination line motion: annihilation, formation, effects of electric field and surface interactions.
  • Thin films: flow in thin films of anisotropic fluids, painting and spin-coating.
  • Use of fractional calculus to represent memory in dynamical systems.
  • Physiologically-based Pharmacokinetics and dynamics
  • Blood flow: non-newtonian models of blood flow in microfluidic devices.
  • Oxygen transfer: novel medical device modelling for artificial livers.


  • I collaborate with scientists from many different disciplines and many countries around the world
  • My industrial collaborations currently include GSK, Merck, Kirkstall, MoD and past collaborators include HP, Sharp, Dow Corning. 

Professional activities

Invited seminar: Bending, flexing, wrinkling and snapping of liquid drops
BLCS Winter Workshop
European Liquid Crystal Conference
3rd Scottish Partial Differential Equation Colloquium
28th Scottish Fluid Mechanics Meeting
Seminar: Mathematical Modelling of Anisotropic Fluids

more professional activities


EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Medical Devices and Health Technologies | Radhakrishnan, Pretheepan
Baker, Matthew (Principal Investigator) Mottram, Nigel (Co-investigator) Radhakrishnan, Pretheepan (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2014 - 01-Oct-2018
EPSRC Global Challenges Research Fund Institutional Sponsorship Award 2017 (GCRF) / R171051-104
Mottram, Nigel (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Jul-2017 - 31-Mar-2018
EPSRC Institutional Sponsorship: Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) / R160677-114
Pritchard, David (Principal Investigator) Corson, Stephen (Co-investigator) Mottram, Nigel (Co-investigator) Wilson, Stephen (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Jun-2016 - 31-Mar-2017
Industrial Case Account 2016 | Cousins, Joseph
Wilson, Stephen (Principal Investigator) Mottram, Nigel (Co-investigator) Cousins, Joseph (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2016 - 01-Oct-2020
Mathematical Modelling and Analysis of Industrially-Important Flows of Liquid Crystals: Spreading and Channel Filling
Wilson, Stephen (Principal Investigator) Mottram, Nigel (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2016 - 30-Sep-2020
Industrial Case Account 2015 | McGowan, John
Mottram, Nigel (Principal Investigator) Mulholland, Anthony (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2015 - 01-Oct-2019

more projects


Mathematics and Statistics
Livingstone Tower

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