Fluid-structure interaction effects in the sedimentation of thin elastic sheets

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Fluid-structure interaction effects in the sedimentation of thin elastic sheets

Group Industrial and Applied Mathematics

There is much current interest in so-called two-dimensional materials 
because of their unusual and attractive mechanical and electrical properties. 
Much of their processing is performed in a fluid environment, e.g., during
the size selection of dispersed graphene flakes by centrifugation, or
their deposition by ink-jet printing. The flakes' large aspect ratio 
implies that despite their impressive in-plane stiffness they have a
very small bending stiffness and are therefore easily deformed by the 
traction that the surrounding fluid exerts on them. The resulting
strong fluid-structure interaction affects not only the dynamics of 
individual flakes but also their collective behaviour.

The aim of this project is to perform a systematic study of 
the behaviour of thin elastic sheets in a viscous fluid. 
Specifically, we wish to establish how the flow-induced 
deformation affects the sedimentation of such sheets, paying
particular attention to

-- the effect of the sheets' aspect ratio; long narrow sheets are
likely to behave in a manner similar to elastic rods: at which point
does their finite aspect ratio become significant?

-- the effect of wrinkling instabilities and the development of
symmetry-breaking frustrated patterns: how do they arise in sheets of 
canonical shapes (circular, rectangular, polygonal,...) and how do
they affect the sheets' sedimentation?

The focus of this specific project is on computational/semi-analytical
approaches and would suit a student with a good background in Applied
Mathematics (especially fluid and solid mechanics) and Scientific
Computing. There is an opportunity for hands-on involvement
in an associated experimental study in the School of Physics
and Astronomy.



FUNDING: Funding is available and would provide fees and maintenance
at RCUK level for home/EU students, or a fees-only bursary
for overseas students.

DEADLINE: Applications are accepted at any time until the position
is filled.


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