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Prof Yonghao Zhang

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Personal statement

Yonghao Zhang is Weir Professor of Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics and Director of James Weir Fluids Laboratory ( His ambition is to lead JWFL to advance our understanding of fundamental flow physics and chemistry in micro/nano systems, with the aim of utilising these research advances to develop new technologies with capabilities beyond any currently conceived.

His expertise is in the fluid dynamics of rarefied flows, which presents an important technological challenge, with long-term research and industrial implications. His group is among the first to develop lattice Boltzmann (LB) methods for simulating rarefied flows. In particular, they were the first to prove that high-order LB models can be reduced to the linearised BGK equation, giving confidence that LB models can be applied to highly rarefied gas dynamics. His group also developed a fast spectral method for solving the Boltzmann equation, considering different molecular potential models. His other research activities centre on complex flow physics, including multiphase flows, droplet technologies and granular flows. His research has been funded by the EPSRC, EU FP7, STFC, Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Leverhulme Trust. 


Has expertise in:

    My research has mainly been on understanding multi-scale and multi-physical flow physics through theoretical, computational and experimental studies. My group has developed a suite of computational models for gas non-equilibrium flows and multiphase flows, especially at the micro/nano scales. These models can be exploited for both fundamental research and engineering design simulations. We have recently been applying our models for pore scale study of unconventional gas flows in ultra-tight porous media, multiphase flows in porous media, and droplet dynamics in microfluidic channels. While we continue our effort to improve our models, we expand our work to erosion and corrosion of oil pipelines, fluids/surface interactions, and vacuum technologies.


Rarefaction cloaking : influence of the fractal rough surface in gas slider bearings
Su Wei, Liu Haihu, Zhang Yonghao, Wu Lei
Physics of Fluids, (2017)
Lattice Boltzmann simulation of the trapping of a microdroplet in a well of surface energy
Liu Haihu, Zhang Yonghao
Computers and Fluids Vol 155, pp. 68-75, (2017)
On the apparent permeability of porous media in rarefied gas flows
Wu Lei, Ho Minh Tuan, Germanou Lefki, Gu X.J., Liu Chang, Xu Kun, Zhang Yonghao
Journal of Fluid Mechanics Vol 822, pp. 389-417, (2017)
A fast iterative scheme for the linearized Boltzmann equation
Wu Lei, Zhang Jun, Liu Haihu, Zhang Yonghao, Reese Jason M.
Journal of Computational Physics Vol 338, pp. 431–451, (2017)
Numerical study of three-dimensional natural convection in a cubical cavity at high Rayleigh numbers
Wang Peng, Zhang Yonghao, Guo Zhaoli
International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer Vol 113, pp. 217-228, (2017)
Droplet dynamics of Newtonian and inelastic non-Newtonian fluids in confinement
Ioannou Nikolaos, Liu Haihui, Oliveira Mónica S. N., Zhang Yonghao
micromachines Vol 8, (2017)

more publications

Research interests

I have been working on understanding fluid behaviour at micron scale for many years. My research focuses are:

  • microfluidics: device optimal design and operation;
  • experimental and numerical study of microdroplet technology;
  • modelling non-equilibrium fluid flows;
  • lattice Boltzmann method;
  • granualar flows


Multi-scale and multi-physics high-order lattice Boltzmann modelling of shale gas transport
Wu, Lei (Principal Investigator) Zhang, Yonghao (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Mar-2017 - 28-Feb-2019
Non-Equilibrium Fluid Dynamics for Micro/Nano Engineering Systems | Ritos, Konstantinos
Zhang, Yonghao (Co-investigator) Ritos, Konstantinos (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Feb-2011 - 16-Dec-2014
Non-Equilibrium Fluid Dynamics for Micro/Nano Engineering Systems | Docherty, Stephanie
Zhang, Yonghao (Co-investigator) Docherty, Stephanie (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2011 - 07-Oct-2015
Virtual Design and Experiment Platform for Microfluidic Technologies
Zhang, Yonghao (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2012 - 31-Mar-2017
Multi scale modelling of non-equilibrium gas flows
Zhang, Yonghao (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Feb-2016 - 31-Mar-2016
Pore-Scale Study of Gas Flows in Ultra-tight Porous Media
Zhang, Yonghao (Principal Investigator) Scanlon, Thomas (Co-investigator)
To enhance ultimate recovery of hydrocarbon gases from unconventional gas resources such as shales, we need to uncover the non-intuitive gas transport mechanisms in ultra-tight porous media. Exploiting our previous and recent pioneering work in modelling rarefied gas flows at micro/nano-scales and in pore-scale characterisation of reservoir rocks, we present an ambitious project to tackle this newly-emerged research challenge through developing direct numerical simulation models and techniques that work on binarised images of concerned porous materials. This work will transform the currently-adopted heuristic approaches, i.e. Darcy-like laws and pore network modelling, into those underpinned by the first principle, and enable the quantification of prediction uncertainty on gas transport associated with the former approaches. Timely support now from EPSRC will provide us crucial resources to shape this emerging research area - understanding and quantifying gas flow physics in ultra-tight porous media.
Period 01-Sep-2015 - 28-Feb-2019

more projects


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
James Weir Building

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