Engineering at the University of Brighton

Professor Marco Marengo

Brighton wins prestigious award for research into key cooling technology

The University of Brighton has received a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant worth £408,507 to carry out pioneering research in thermal science.

Leverhulme Trust awards are particularly hard to secure, this Research Project Grant will fund a three-year fellowship plus two postgraduate students for 42 months to carry out research at the University’s world-renowned Advanced Engineering Centre (AEC). The project will be led by Professor Marco Marengo, director of the Centre, alongside co-investigator Dr Anastasios Georgoulas, Principal Lecturer and Course Leader in Aeronautical Engineering.

The Brighton team will be pioneering new models to understand the boiling of various fluids at scales as small as a billionth of a metre (nanometre). As well as providing insights into poorly understood thermodynamic and mechanical mechanisms, the aim is to gain crucial insights to improve vitalcooling technology at the microscopic scale.

Cooling is of the utmost importance in a host of crucial technological applications, using boiling liquids as a way to release heat in an effective and environmentally friendly way. The new research will improve our ability to do this by bolstering a deep understanding of phenomena such as the formation of bubbles at very small scales within both fluids and on heated solid surfaces.

The AEC team intends the new research to provide a pathway to new cooling devices promising major long-term impacts in UK industry and internationally in areas such as high power density electronics, lithium ion batteries, and the thermal management of nuclear reactors.

Dr Georgoulas said: “The innovative research we are proposing has a highly interdisciplinary nature – statistical physics, mathematical analysis, thermal engineering and fluid dynamics, as well as chemistry and surface fabrication. The advanced models can potentially be exploited in other fields too, such as ice formation on aircraft, drying procedures in the food industry, and solidification in material science and alloy production. Phase-change and statistical models are also used to describe stock prices in finance!”

“The interdisciplinary nature of the proposed research project could not easily be funded by one of the usual funding pathways for Engineering, and we are really grateful that the Leverhulme Trust recognised the ambitious and fundamental nature of our proposal, and trusted us with such a prestigious award.”

Leverhulme Trust logo



Stephanie Thomson • July 21, 2021

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