Postgraduate research opportunities

Pressure Wave Propagation in Slurry Environments

The hydro-transport of fluid mixtures of solid particles and liquids (ie slurries) in pipes is common to many applications, including mineral extraction, river dredging, the sewage industry and the recovery of oil and gas.

Number of places



Home fee, Stipend


20 December 2019


27 March 2020


42 months


Undergraduate First class Hons/Distinction in Mechanical/ Aerospace/ Chemical Engineering  or Applied Physics degree course

Project Details

Investigations will be carried out to establish a theoretical basis for study and will build upon the existing hydraulic design modelling developments of the supervisory team (established from Rizzuto’s PhD studies) and the further developments underway in a related EPSRC funded joint industry project: Smart Pumping for Subsurface Engineering. More advanced CFD approaches will also be examined to establish reference models to account for friction and spatial variations of slurry concentrations. Fundamental studies relating to wave dissipation will be a core part of the study. Experimental studies will be developed and build upon the experimental rigs developed as part of Smart Pumps.  Thus, an improved understanding of pressure wave phenomenon in slurries will be established from theoretical and experimental studies. Model validation will be carried out to determine model accuracy and then used to examine practical case studies of industrial relevance, which will include pulse pumping in a slurry environment to support the smart pumping programme.

 The basis of the research sits within the scope of the transient hydraulic analysis of complex fluids in pipe networks. The research provides the basic tools for design and operation under, usually abnormal operating conditions to prevent component failure and hence reduces plant costs, enhances safety and allows design optimisation. It essentially enables effective asset management. It is applicable to a wide range of industries, including mineral extraction, waste processing, the water treatment industries and the coastal management industries.

Funding Details

Fees, stipend and project expenses


Dr Bill Dempster (MAE)

Prof. Jonathan Corney (DMEM)

Dr Francesco Rizzuto (MAE/DMEM)

Number of places


Further information

The student would join the University of Strathclyde’s 60-credit postgraduate training programme leading to the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development.

 The student will benefit from interaction with other academics and PhD students within an active research community, as well as being embedded within the SMART Pumps for Subsurface Engineering Project, a joint EPSRC-industry funded multi-institutional partnership, and interacting and engaging with researchers at the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh.

 The PhD student will gain a range of technical, practical and problem- solving skills required in the hydraulic industry. With the specific technical expertise a wide range of career routes is possible, including the service industries (water, electricity, gas), consultancy, government agencies and the design and manufacture. Further academic and research routes will also be possible.