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#PhD Scholarship: Fluid dynamics of impacting complex droplets

University of Warwick – School of Engineering

Qualification: Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Start date: 30th September 2024

Funding for: 3.5 years

Supervisor: Dr Thomas Sykes

Project Description:

Droplets are ubiquitous in nature, industry, and our everyday lives, such as in additive manufacturing, aerospace, the Earth’s atmosphere, pharmaceuticals, and inkjet/biomaterial printing. The key to understanding (and ultimately engineering) these applications is how the droplets behave when they interact with other objects, including solid and liquid surfaces and even other droplets. Our previous publications (see provide a good insight into our research in these areas.

Whilst most research until now has concentrated on droplets of simple fluids (e.g. water), in some of the most important industrial applications (e.g. inkjet, formulated products) droplets consist of complex fluids. This means that they are a mixture of at least two phases due to the presence of additives including colloids, surfactants, and polymers. In this project, you will determine how such additives affect the micromechanics of fast droplet interactions – especially during impact onto dry surfaces and liquid layers. Your research will include both exciting proof of concept studies and wider exploration to reveal the underlying physical mechanics underpinning how complex droplets behave. The advancements you make will be used to help improve our ability to engineer applications exploiting droplets, especially in the UK’s large inkjet industry. Research objectives can be tailored according to your interests (existing, and those that develop over time), but will focus on understanding how microscopic interactions of additives affect macroscopic droplet behaviour.

You will use a combination of high-speed imaging experiments (in a newly-renovated well equipped lab) and numerical simulations in your research, the precise balance of which can be tailored to your preference. You will work in a highly-interdisciplinary environment alongside researchers at Warwick, Oxford (, and other national & international academic institutions. Engagement with industry and the formation of new academic links will be strongly supported.

Informal enquires to are warmly encouraged (please note that I will be joining Warwick in early 2024).


The award will cover the tuition fees at the UK rate £4,786, plus a tax-free stipend of £19,237 per annum for 3.5 years of full-time study. The award rate is in line with UKRI.


You should have a first-class or 2.1 honours undergraduate degree, or Masters degree (with Merit or Distinction), in a related field such as (but not limited to) Engineering, Physical Sciences, and Mathematics. Experimental experience would be an advantage but not required as full training will be given.

How to apply:

Candidates should submit an expression of interest by sending a CV and supporting statement outlining their skills and interests in this research area to If this initial application succeeds, we invite you to apply for study formally. All candidates must fulfil the University of Warwick entry criteria and obtain an unconditional offer before commencing enrolment.

The University of Warwick provides an inclusive working and learning environment, recognising and respecting every individual’s differences. We welcome applications from individuals who identify with any of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010.