Advances are needed in our understanding the fundamental processes that control the physicochemical properties of aerosols, governing aerosol properties such as particle size distribution, composition and phase across a broad range of application areas. CDT projects are exploring approaches to tailor and control aerosol particle properties for desired applications, the charging of aerosol particles, the photochemical transformation of aerosol, particle crystallisation and resuspension, and particle coalescence. They are also developing new aerosol sources.

Particle-surface adhesive forces and their role in resuspension phenomena

The resuspension of particles from surfaces into the air exposes people to hazardous dusts in a range of situations. This project will use atomic force microscopy to measure the adhesion force between particles and surfaces, and relate this to resuspension. Particles and surfaces with increasingly complex shape and surface properties will be prepared using techniques such as 3D printing and nanolithography, giving a systematic understanding of the influence of these factors. Results will be used to validate and improve an existing mathematical model that predicts particle resuspension in a range of environments, thus enabling risks to be controlled.

PhD student: Patric Boardman
Cohort: 5
Lead supervisor: Dr Matthew Jones
Institution: University of Bath

Data-informed modelling of aerosol resuspension under aerodynamic loads

Resuspension of particles into the air is a complex phenomenon dependent on the interaction between particle morphology (e.g. size, shape), surface characteristics (e.g. roughness, hydrophilicity) and air flow (e.g. velocity, turbulence). The process can be hazardous to health, thus has received considerable research interest. Mechanistic models have been developed describing resuspension indicating adhesive forces are important but experimental and numerical sensitivity analysis exploring ranges is scarce to validate these resuspension models. The research project will explore how adhesive interactions alter the forces required to separate particles from a surface using a combined experimental and numerical approach. By using state-of-the-art measurement and numerical techniques, the project aims to provide a comprehensive description towards the parameters influencing the resuspension process.  

PhD student: Nicolas Duthou
Cohort: 5
Lead supervisor: Dr  Alberto Gambaruto, Prof Karen Aplin
Institution: University of Bristol

Responsive Aerosol: A Design Framework for Aerosol with Required Properties

The broad objective of the PhD is to develop a framework for assessing the extent to which the responsive properties of aerosols can be designed and stimulated by changes in their environment. We will examine the potential of aerosols formed from gels and amorphous phases to provide dynamic response to environmental stimuli.

PhD student: Sorrel Haughton
Cohort: 4
Lead supervisors: Prof Jonathan Reid & Prof Wuge Briscoe
Institution: University of Bristol

Time-Resolved Photochemistry of Organic Solutes in Aqueous Microdroplets

The photochemistry of atmospheric aerosols is crucial to assessing their climate and health impacts. However, the reaction dynamics of photochemical reactions may differ in aerosol compared to in macroscopic solutions. This project will develop a brand-new approach to study chemical reaction dynamics on ultrafast timescales in individual levitated droplets.

PhD student: Conlan Broderick
Cohort: 4
Lead supervisor: Dr Bryan Bzdek
Institution: University of Bristol

Venus, volcanoes and vacuum cleaners: understanding triboelectric aerosol charging

Electrostatic charge is generated through frictional (“triboelectric”) interactions between aerosol particles. This charging causes lightning in dust and volcanoes on Earth and in space, and hazards in industrial processing of powders and granular mixtures. The student will apply both theoretical and experimental techniques to investigate and understand the mechanisms involved.

PhD student: Thomas O’Hara
Cohort: 4
Lead supervisor: Dr Karen Aplin
Institution: University of Bristol

Mechanics of soft aerosols

Many biological and synthetic aerosols are composed of soft materials that behave somewhere between fluids and solids, including viscous droplets of mucus proteins and lipids that transmit COVID19. In this project, you will explore the soft-matter science behind aerosol suspensions by modelling how surface tension and viscoelasticity affect droplet production and adhesion. The outcomes could be relevant to the science of masks and droplet spreading.

PhD student: Jamie Mclauchlan
Cohort: 3
Lead supervisor: Dr Anton Souslov
Institution: University of Bath

Project poster by Jamie Mclauchlan

Development of a constant concentration particle source

Worldwide, methods of measuring particles require calibration, yet none exist. This project develops a commercial device to produce a known concentration of particles by controlling the charge state and fluid dynamics. The work will harness results from recent modelling to develop and test the first aerosol “concentration controlled” prototype.

Cohort: 3
Lead supervisor: Dr Adam Boies
Institution: University of Cambridge

This project is an industry funded studentship supported by Catalytic Instruments.

Project poster by Kelvin Risby

Crystallisation in nano-droplets

In this project you will develop cutting-edge instrumentation to produce and study sub-nanolitre droplets as they evolve in a controlled vapour environment, observing crystallisation and phase changes in real time using imaging and x-ray scattering. With this instrumentation you will study the fundamental science underpinning atmospheric, industrial and pharmaceutical processes.

PhD student: Jack Macklin
Cohort: 2
Dr Adam Squires
Institution: University of Bath

High-confidence modelling of particle resuspension

The resuspension of particles deposited on surfaces is a crucially important generation mechanism for biological, environmental and hazardous aerosol particles. Using cutting edge experiments and models, the nature of the particle-surface interaction (e.g. particle shape, surface roughness) will be explored and the resuspension mechanism directly probed by high frame rate imaging.

PhD student: Edward Neal
Cohort: 2
Lead supervisor: Prof Jonathan Reid
tution: University of Bristol

This project is an industry funded studentship supported by DSTL.

The Coalescence of Drying Droplets

The initial experiment proposed here will focus on the collisions of waterwater droplets of ~ 3080 μm radius. This novel size makes the proposed work relevant to the research of aerosols and their microphysical properties. A comparison can be made with existing collisional regime maps of water to determine whether droplet size, and the shift in the kinetic regime, influencesthe collisional outcome. This will be investigated using two microdroplet dispensersto collide droplets, imaged by a stroboscopic imaging technique. Following this, the effect of viscosity on the regime map can be determined using the same method, with varying concentrations of aqueous sucrose droplets.

PhD student: Lauren McCarthy
Cohort: 1
Supervisors: Prof Jonathan Reid (Bristol) and Dr Rachael Miles (Bristol)
Institution: University of Bristol

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EPSRC CDT in Aerosol Science

University of Bristol
School of Chemistry
Cantock’s Close
Bristol, BS8 1TS

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