PhD positions in granular materials and processes

The Granular Mechanics and Industrial Infrastructure research group, at the School of Engineering of the University of Edinburgh, conducts fundamental research on the mechanics of granular materials and their interaction with industrial infrastructure, with broad applications in silo design, bulk solids handling, paste rheology, fluidisation and natural hazard mitigation. We are currently looking for candidates for the following funded PhD positions:

Multiscale modelling of particle breakage and milling

Milling is an important process to achieve desirable particle-size reduction in many industries including construction, food, pharmaceutical, chemical and mining industries. In order to control product properties, optimise energy use and prolong device life, we propose to develop a predictive toolbox for industrial milling process. We focus on coupling fracturing at particle level with realistic particle dynamics in industrial mills; and on upscaling from discrete to continuum and to statistical behaviour. Development in discrete element method and population balance models will be calibrated using relevant experimental data.

Contact: Dr Jin Sun (

Rheology of dense granular and suspension systems

What do mayonnaise, shaving gel, toothpaste and sand pile have in common? They all can sit still on a surface, but flow easily under applied forces. They have been shown to behave similarly as dry granular media when they are dense enough and close to jamming. In this research, we exploit the universality of these different systems to characterise the rheological behaviour of generic dense granular systems. We aim to establish a multiscale continuum theory with greater predictive capability for a wide range of engineering applications. The research will employ an approach integrating fundamental continuum theory, novel experimentation using confocal microscopy imaging and high-performance computing.

Contact: Dr Jin Sun (

Closing Date: 

Friday, September 22, 2017
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Principal Supervisor: 


Applicants must be of outstanding academic merit and hold (or be expected to gain) either a first class honours degree (or the international equivalent) or an MSc with distinction (or the international equivalent). Enthusiastic and self-motivated candidates are sought with a solid background in civil, mechanical, chemical engineering, or in physics and mechanics. A good grasp of mechanics and experience in programming and computational modelling would be advantageous.

Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Fully funded, with stipend.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: