Research Studentship in Active control of fluid flows in gas turbines - Electro-fluidic transistor valve

3-year funded D.Phil studentship, available from Rolls-Royce

(subject to eligibility requirements below).

Research Area

This studentship is part of a larger project funded by the EPSRC and Rolls-Royce. This project is about making engines more efficient using game changing technology that enables sophisticated computer control of engine thermodynamic cycles. This research will address the technological building blocks required for computer controlled manipulation of power generating fluid flows.

The technical difficulties of modulating engine flows can be immense but the prize for control substantial. For example, the leakage flows at the tip of a gas turbine blade and the cooling airflows in a combustion chamber contribute significantly to engine fuel burn and emissions respectively. Many such engine flows are high speed, high pressure (20bar+) and at high temperatures (500 degC+) and reside in difficult to access parts of the engine. This means that conventional valves and actuators that have moving parts are not viable due to inadequate life and slow response time.

This project will work on a novel concept of a valve that has no moving parts and works at the pressures and temperatures normally found in gas turbines or diesel engines. The Electro-fluidic-transistor-valves to be studied in this research use small plasma discharges in combination with fundamental fluidic effects to inject or switch off jets of air when commanded. One of the goals in this research is to understand the fundamental parameters that influence the operation and performance of such devices.

Award Value

The studentship covers University fees at the level set for UK/EU students plus provides a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) of £15,000 for the first year, and at least this amount for a further two years.


The studentship is available to all applicants but the University fees are covered only at the UK/EU rate.  Therefore overseas students would have to provide the difference between UK/EU and overseas student rates for University fees, from some other source.

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • A first class honours degree in Engineering, Physics or equivalent
  • Experience of high speed flows, CFD or aerodynamics
  • Good English written and spoken communication skills;
  • Excellent record of academic and/or professional achievement

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Ability to program in Matlab;
  • Experience of data acquisition software
  • Experience of CAD

Application Procedure

To apply for this studentship, candidates should send the following documents to

  • CV
  • Covering letter (explaining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the DPhil and your research experience to date)
  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees

Candidates are expected to meet the Graduate Admissions criteria available at:

Your application will not be considered unless you also submit a full graduate application at the same time as applying for this studentship.  Further details about making a graduate application are available at

Please quote: FLOWCONTROL-MB-RS1 in all correspondence to the Department and in your graduate application.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted. 

Application deadline:  12 noon on Friday 27th February 2015 or until the position is filled