IMT Seminar Series: Dr Edward Smith - Exploring Multiphase Flows with Molecular Fluid Dynamics


Room 4325A, JCMB, King's Buildings


Thursday, June 15, 2023 - 15:00 to 16:00


Molecular dynamics (MD) is a technique which models the individual atoms of a substance. It can provide new insight into many outstanding problems in fluid dynamics, by capturing the molecular cause of many fluid properties. These include the liquid-vapour interface, the moving contact line and the origins of bubble nucleation.

In this talk, I will outline how we can use MD models to address a range of multiphase fluid flows.

Starting from the liquid-vapour interface, I will discuss using interface tracking to pick apart the anatomy of the surface to explain surface tension. These insights can then be applied to thin films, as found on the surface of soap bubbles, to explore the process of bubble breakdown.

I will discuss the simulation of the moving contact line and provide some molecular insights.

Finally, I will discuss molecular scale boiling, used to capture the initial molecular origins of a bubble, before exploring its growth through inertia and into the diffusive regime.


Edward Smith is a senior lecturer in Aerospace Engineering at Brunel University, working on multi-scale fluid dynamics.

He completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London, on techniques for coupling continuum computational fluid dynamic (CFD) to molecular dynamics (MD), before postdoctoral positions in the Chemical and Civil Engineering departments at Imperial.

His research focuses on using molecular simulation to provide new insight into fluids dynamics, including turbulent flow, boiling, liquid-vapour interfaces and bubble nucleation. These all aim to build molecular detail into the CFD simulations, both indirectly through reduced models and directly through coupled simulation.

Edward is active in software development, as author of open-source coupling software CPL-library; MD solver Flowmol and visualiser PyDataView.

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