Research Fellow, Engineering (ENG158R)

A majority of engineering and environmental flows occur over surfaces that are heterogeneous, i.e., they contain spatial variations in roughness and/or topography at a wide range of scales. When a turbulent flow evolves over such surfaces, it may exhibit unusual physical properties, depending on the relationship between the dominant length-scales of the surface and that of the flow. Often, this surface heterogeneity leads to the emergence of secondary currents (SCs)that may extend up to the entire depth of the flow and manifest as “time-averaged” streamwise vortices accompanied by low- and high-speed regions.

School/Section: Engineering
Division: Unspecified
Staff Category: Research
Position Type: Full Time
Grade: Grade 6
Salary: £33,797 - £35,844
Ref No: ENG158R
Closing Date: 04-NOV-2020


Job Description

The presence of SCs invalidates some of the fundamental concepts of turbulent wall-bounded flows that have been originally developed for flows over homogeneous surfaces. As a result, current predictive tools that rely on these concepts can neither predict nor offer insights into the flows that contain wall-induced SCs. The effects of surface-induced SCs have been recently recognised in at least two major engineering areas: (1) Performance of engineering systems such as in-service turbine blades, bio-fouled ship hulls and textured surfaces for flow control; and (2) Understanding of environmental implications of river flows with applications in flood management, sediment transport, and mixing of contaminants. Given the growing interest in this topic, it is timely to explore the synergies in these areas to develop new understanding of turbulent flows in the presence of surface-induced SCs. A recently funded EPSRC project ‘Secondary currents in turbulent flows over rough walls’ will address this matter and will combine the expertise, domain knowledge and infrastructure of four leading research groups at the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Southampton, and University College London. A comprehensive series of physical experiments (at Southampton & Aberdeen) and complementary numerical simulations (at Glasgow & UCL) will be performed to generate unprecedented data on surface-induced SCs. This will allow, for the first time, to systematically compare and contrast the behaviour of SCs across key canonical wall-bounded flows: boundary layers, open-channels, pipes and closed-channels. The contribution of the Aberdeen group will relate to open-channel flows and will be based on high-precision laboratory experiments involving the Aberdeen Open Channel Facility and custom-made robotic multi-camera Particle-Image Velocimetry (PIV) system.

This post is based within the Mechanics of Fluids, Soils and Structures Research Group of the School of Engineering. It is funded by EPSRC and it will be offered for a period of 46 months, with expected starting date of March 1, 2020. This appointment will be made subject to the usual terms and conditions of employment of the University.

Salary will be at the appropriate point on the Grade 6 salary scale (£32,816 - £35,844 per annum) with placement according to qualifications and experience.

Informal enquiries can be made to Professor Vladimir Nikora (e-mail:

Should you require a visa to undertake paid employment in the UK you will be required to fulfil the minimum points criteria to be granted a Global Talent Visa.  As appropriate, at the time an offer of appointment is made you will be asked to demonstrate that you fulfil the criteria in respect of financial maintenance and competency in English. Please do not hesitate to contact Heather Clark, HR Adviser on for further information.

To apply online for this position visit

Job Reference Number ENG158R

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 4 November 2020

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