Professor Ben Williams completed his undergraduate Masters degree (2005) and subsequent doctorate (2009) in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford, where he began his journey to use light to measure thermofluid systems.
His first academic position was in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London (2014). Ben took up his current position in the Department of Engineering Science in 2017.
Ben's research group focuses on the development and application of novel optical diagnostic techniques for problems in thermofluids. The non-intrusive nature of these diagnostics means that we can measure the properties of systems without disturbing their activity. Optical measurements are also a means to gain access to harsh environments which would destroy "standard" probe hardware. His group works closely with colleagues in different research areas, from internal combustion engines and gas turbines through hypersonics and beyond.
The group's measurement tools enable them to make highly precise and accurate measurements of important properties such as temperature, pressure, chemistry (e.g. reaction progress) and flow velocity. In two-phase flows they are also interested in measuring, for example, evaporation rates and particle sizes/size distributions.
By working with key partners in the transport sector, this research helps to improve the efficiency and cleanliness of the sustainable powertrains of the future.
Developing methods to enhance the spatial and temporal resolution of the Laser Induced Grating Scattering diagnostic.
Developing tools to investigate the properties of gas flows near porous surfaces.
Developing methods to overcome some of the limitations of Particle Image Velocimetry and to process the measured flow fields to provide more meaningful results.
Ben usually runs summer projects which are short-term programmes (~10 weeks) that aim to try out a new idea or develop a tool/algorithm that can be used in lab work, whilst giving you some experience of the research environment; get in touch if you’re interested.
Recent projects have included “Tomographic Firewhirl Reconstruction” and “Ultrasonic Flow Sensing in Ducts”.