Postgraduate CASE studentship: Mathematical modelling of surfactant-reduced engine wear
Applications are invited for a postgraduate CASE studentship, funded by EPSRC, the University of Oxford and BP, to work on the mathematical modelling of surfactant-reduced engine wear under the supervision of Dr Chris Breward, Dr Peter Howell and Dr Dominic Vella. This DPhil studentship will start on 1 October 2012, and will be based at the Oxford Centre for Collaborative Applied Mathematics (OCCAM). The studentship is open to all (regardless of nationality) and covers a full stipend (currently £13,590 per annum), CASE student enhancement of £3,000 per annum, and College and University fees at the overseas rate.
BP expect significant changes in engine design over the next 10-15 years: EU legislation is driving auto manufacturers to create vehicles that operate more efficiently over a standardized test-cycle and therefore emit lower levels of CO2; many studies have shown that reducing engine friction could achieve this. While a drop in the viscosity of the lubricant can reduce friction, it may also increase the wear. BP have found that introducing surfactants into their lubricants reduces wear in rig tests by a factor of 10. It is believed that the surfactant adsorbs at the surface and that this adsorbed layer is responsible for the improvement in wear characteristics. The surfactant molecules may also have a significant influence on the removal from the system of free bodies which have been broken off from asperities, reducing the wear they induce.
We aim to develop a mathematical model for the adsorption of the surfactant onto rough asperity surfaces, and develop an understanding of how the presence of an adsorbed surfactant layer can reduce wear. This will involve studying the surfactant transport dynamics and the elastohydrodynamic interaction of asperities. This work is also expected to have implications on non-automotive lubrication applications.
The project will require expertise in mathematical modelling, continuum mechanics, asymptotic analysis and scientific computing. The student will be expected to spend up to 1 month per year visiting BP.
OCCAM, established with substantial funding from KAUST GRP, is part of the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford. OCCAM is engaged in a wide range of applied and computational mathematics projects in collaboration with scientists from other disciplines. The portfolio is organised under the broad headings of Methodologies (M), Resources, Energy and Environment (REE), Biosciences and Bioengineering (BB), and Materials Science and Engineering (MSE). For more information about OCCAM, see http://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/occam.
This studentship is attached to Christ Church, and falls outside the University’s Gathered Field process. Applications should be made online at http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate_courses/index.html and should include a CV, covering letter, three references and a transcript of your undergraduate degree. If you are unable to apply online, you can request a paper form from https://uni-of-oxford.custhelp.com/app/ask/.
Applications must arrive by the end of the day on Wednesday 4 July 2012. Please quote the correct reference BK/12/006 in your covering letter. References can also be sent directly to Sandy Patel (email graduate [dot] studies [-at-] maths [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk (www.maths.ox.ac.uk/notices/vacancies)
Email: graduate [dot] studies [-at-] maths [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk
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