Postgraduate research opportunities

Mathematical modelling of active fluids

This project will use the theories of liquid crystal fluids to model self-organisation and pattern formation in an active fluid - a type of liquid containing active organisms which interact with the fluid by swimming.

Number of places



27 February 2018


You should have (or expect to have) a UK Honours Degree (or equivalent) at 2.1 or above in Mathematics, Mathematics and Physics, Physics or a closely related discipline with a high mathematical content.

Project Details

This project will use the theories and modelling techniques of liquid crystal systems and apply such modelling techniques to the area of anisotropy and self-organisation derived from active agents. The research will involve a continuum description of the fluid, using equations similar to the classical Navier-Stokes equations, as well as both the analytical and numerical solution of ordinary and partial differential equations.

The area of active fluids is currently a “hot topic” in biological, physical and mathematical research circles. Such fluids contain active organisms which can be influenced by the flow of fluid around them but, crucially, also influence the flow themselves, i.e. by swimming. When the organisms are anisotropic (as is often the case) a model of such a system must include these inherent symmetries. Models of bacteria and even larger organisms such as fish have started to be developed over the last few years in order to examine the order, self-organisation and pattern formation within these systems, although direct correlation and comparison to real-world situations has been limited.