Droplet-wise condensation on smart engineered surfaces

Condensation is ubiquitous in nature and industry, but quite challenging to understand! In particular, it is of paramount importance in many engineering applications, including heat transfer, fog harvesting, printing and cleaning. Despite its apparent simplicity, condensation is an open-ended problem with substantial potential to revolutionise a range of technologies, particularly at the micro-scale. One of the important questions that needs answering is the effect of the surfaces used for condensation. There is a prospect that one can engineer smart surfaces for enhancing condensation efficiencies. This will have an immense impact in terms of energy efficiencies.

In this project you will carry out a computational/modelling study of droplet-wise condensation on smart engineered surfaces. Using full-hydrodynamics computational simulations and mathematical tools, you will study how the composition, geometry and material properties of a solid surface affect the quasi-static and dynamic response of single and multiple droplets on a solid surface, and in partial and complete confinement (for instance, in microchannels).

Resources and Training

You will have access to University of Edinburgh’s extensive cluster computing resources and benefit from training. In addition, you will undergo standard (compulsory) skills training available for all Engineering PhD students.

Career Development and Collaboration Opportunities

  • Institutional and Peer Support: You will benefit from an excellent supportive environment both within the Institute for Multiscale Thermofluids at the School of Engineering and the wider University.
  • Teaching and Research Development: You will have the opportunity (once trained and familiar with relevant materials) to become a teaching assistant for courses offered in the School of Engineering. There will also be opportunities to contribute to wider training and Outreach activities in the School.
  • Experimental Collaboration: You will also collaborate with experimentalists within the Institute of Multiscale Thermofluids at Edinburgh University, and, more broadly, with academic collaborators in the United Kingdom and Europe.
  • International Secondments: This PhD also comes with an opportunity to conduct secondments with our partners under the ThermaSMART consortium (funded by the European Commission) either at University of Maryland USA, York University Toronto Canada, TIFR-ICTS India or at Kyushu University Japan.

Impactful publications and dissemination

The student will also benefit from strong support towards publications in premier journals (including the Journal of Fluid Mechanics and Physical Review Fluids) and participation in major conferences (including the American Physical Society – Division of Fluid Dynamics Meetings and the International Heat Transfer Conference). Where possible, support will be provided to allow attendance.

Closing Date: 6th September 2021, or until position filled.

Further Information: 

Recent relevant publication by supervisor:
Wells, G. G. et al. Snap evaporation of droplets on smooth topographies. Nat. Commun. 1–7 (2017).
Armstrong, S., McHale, G., Ledesma-Aguilar, R. & Wells, G. G. Pinning-Free Evaporation of Sessile Droplets of Water from Solid Surfaces. Langmuir 35, 2989–2996 (2019).
Guan, J. H. et al. Drop transport and positioning on lubricant-impregnated surfaces. Soft Matter 13, 3404–3410 (2017).

Closing Date: 

Monday, September 6, 2021

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 


We welcome applications from candidates with a 2:1 Honours degree or above (or international equivalent) in a relevant STEM discipline, including Engineering, Physics and Mathematics.

Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Full funding (tuition fees and stipend) is avilable at the UK fee rate. 

Overseas students are welcome to apply but external funding must be sourced to cover the difference between the overseas fee rate and the UK fee rate.  Please indicate in your application how this will be funded.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: