Advanced characterisation of suspension waste pipe flows

Project description

Solid-liquid suspension flows are encountered across the nuclear sector, as well as in many industries; including water treatment, minerals processing and high values chemical manufacture. Their characterisation is of great importance to the safe and efficient transport of radioactive material within the nuclear sector, while generally, online monitoring technologies offer real-time methods to improve pumping efficiencies and reduce blockages. 


This project seeks to understand these issues and overcome pipeline transportation problems in two ways – the development of an online acoustic backscatter technique to characterise particle size and concentration online, and the use of polymer additives to modify slurry flow characteristics enabling safe and efficient transport. 


Acoustic backscatter systems have been previously developed at Leeds to characterise suspension wastes in tanks and large-scale separation environments. While they also show promise pipe-flows, there are significant challenges remaining, due to the relatively small size of most waste pipes. Secondly, the use of structurants is gaining increasing traction within the minerals industry for complex slurries, where polymers and natural gums can lead to substantial drag reduction in pipe flow. However, both of these techniques are at present completely untested in the nuclear environment, and this project will seek to trial these novel systems to monitor and modify waste slurries using a number of realistic nuclear simulants. 


It is noted that this project is part of the EPSRC funded Next Generation Nuclear - Centre for Doctoral Training (NGN-CDT) combining cohorts from 5 universities – Leeds, Manchester, Lancaster, Sheffield and Liverpool. It is also partially funded by Sellafield Ltd, and will include significant industrial engagement. 

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with or expecting a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1), and/or a Master's degree in a relevant engineering or science degree.

If English is not the applicant’s first language, they must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made on-line through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is 'Advanced characterisation of suspension waste pipe flows', as well as Dr Timothy Hunter as your proposed supervisor. 

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office
e: phd@engineering.leeds.ac.uk, t: +44 (0)113 343 8000.