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Computational Analysis of Superfluid Turbulent Boundary Layers

The purpose of this project is to extend previous homogeneous, isotropic superfluid turbulence theoretical studies to superfluid boundary layer flows towards understanding the physics and algorithmics of superfluid boundary layer turbulence.

Number of places



Home fee, Stipend


12 February 2018


3 years


We are looking for an ethusiastic student with strong mathematics skills and aptitude for computing. A first class honours degree (or equivalent) at either Bachelor or Master level is required in any of Mathematics, Physics, Mechanics, Mechanical/Aerospace/Chemical Engineering disciplines.

Project Details

Turbulence in superfluid He-4 is a unique case of turbulent flow, where two different kinds of turbulence are interacting with each other. In particular, the familiar incompressible turbulence in the (so-called) normal-fluid component interacts with the quantized vortices in the superfluid component. In the past, a combination of very low (T = 1 K) temperature superfluid grid-turbulence experiments with theoretical modeling have led to significant progress towards understanding the spatial and temporal structure of decaying, homogeneous, isotropic superfluid turbulence (HIST), although a definite picture is yet to emerge. The Strathclyde group has heavily contributed to these developments by initiating mesoscopic scale HIST studies, with emphasis on analytical and computational modeling. However, the more practical problem of (inhomogeneous) shear superfluid turbulence in boundary layers characteristic of turbulence interactions with solid walls (i.e., in pipe and channel flows) has not yet received equal attention. This situation has recently changed, as a series of new superfluid turbulent boundary layer experiments have taken place in major research labs/universities.

The purpose of this project is to extend previous HIST theoretical studies to superfluid boundary layer flows and, in this way, to make some first, yet decisive, steps in the physics and algorithmics of superfluid boundary layer turbulence. For example, the effects of quantized vorticity on classical, turbulent boundary layer, vortical structures or possible turbulent drag reduction phenomena are going to be investigated with advanced, projection, finite-volume and vortex dynamical solvers. The PhD student will have access to in-house developed, well-tested computational codes for HIST that they will need to develop further and adapt to boundary layer turbulence research; there are many opportunities here for uncovering deep and intriguing turbulence physics, that would feature in high impact factor physics journals. For example, previous work has appeared in Science and Physical Review Letters journals. The findings are expected to be of great importance to facilities such as the US National High Magnetic Fields Laboratory (MAGLAB) and CERN that employ superfluid turbulent flows in the process of generating very high magnetic fields. Moreover, the PhD student will acquire a plethora of transferable skills including, Fluid Dynamics and Turbulence Theory, finite-volume and vortex dynamics numerical methods, and advanced algorithmic skills. The computations are going to be performed on a new, in-house, multi-processor machine offering ideal opportunities for parallel computing. The student is going to be embedded within the “multi-scale simulation and theory” research division of the Department, thus, having plenty of opportunities to interact with researchers in molecular dynamics, nonequilibrium statistical mechanics, colloidal and polymeric fluids, and reacting and multiphase flows among other.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Funding Details

The studentship covers full UK/EU PhD tuition fees and a tax-free stipend of (approximately) £14, 500 per year.

Contact us

Ms Jacqueline Brown

+44(0) 141 574 5319´╗┐

James Weir Building, 75 Montrose Street, Glasgow, G1 1XJ

How to apply

Apply for this PhD project here.

Please quote the project title in your application.