The physics of flowing suspensions with viscoelastic continua

Suspensions of particles in liquid are found throughout nature and industry, for instance slurries and ceramics. We are just beginning to understand the dramatic influence that particle-particle interactions have on their flow behaviour when the liquid is Newtonian. In reality this is rarely the case: suspending phases are often ‘viscoelastic’, i.e. they show properties of both viscous liquids and elastic solids. How do the combined physics of viscoelasticity and particle interactions control the resulting flow behaviour?

You will address this question using computational means, developing two key areas of expertise:

1)            Rheology: building upon codes developed in Edinburgh, you will implement particle-level force models to simulate bulk flow of viscoelastic suspensions. Viscosity and microstructural measurements will improve our fundamental understanding and guide constitutive model development.

2)            Image analysis: working closely with experimental physicists who are developing unique model systems and instrumentation, you will write code to interpret captured images, computing velocity and force distributions that guide both the rheology simulations and the experimental agenda.

This computational project is jointly supervised by Dr Chris Ness (School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh) and Prof Wilson Poon (School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh) and is supported by Corning. It will involve regular interaction with experimentalists and exposure to real-world engineering of viscoelastic suspensions through a 3-month posting at the Corning site in NY state. Interested candidates may contact the supervisors for further information (,

Closing Date: 

Monday, June 1, 2020

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 


Applications are particularly welcomed from candidates expecting to receive a first class degree in chemical engineering, physics, applied mathematics or a closely related subject.    Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Competition (EPSRC) funding, in addition to industrial funding, is available for an exceptional candidate but please note you must be a UK student or an EU student who has lived in the UK 3+ years.  This will be allocated around spring 2020 – please enquire.

Applications are also welcomed from self-funded students, or students who are applying for scholarships from the University of Edinburgh, or elsewhere.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: