Research into Multi-scale Examination of MultiPHase physIcs in flowS (MEMPHIS)

Our Programme will lead to the resolution of a number of fundamental open problems in multiphase flows leading to the development of validated simulation tools for the academic and industrial community.  Our Programme will also be unrivalled by any other grouping in the world in terms of complementary skills, approach, and industrial support. Our transformative multiphase flow research will have tremendous impact on:

  • The FMCG and fine chemicals/catalysis sectors, via the ability to design novel flow processes to produce controlled, multiphase structures.
  • The oil-and-gas sector, where it will lead to validated, powerful numerical predictive tools employed for flow assurance by industry, supplanting existing far less reliable ones.
  • The nuclear industry, where our models and simulation tools will support the development of intensified evaporation and extractive separation processes.

We will also impact a number of applications in ‘adjacent’ areas:

  • The structuring of compound materials designed for controlled release of beneficial molecules for anti-fouling.
  • Surface engineering for marine industry applications.
  • Atomisation and fuel release in engines for the automotive industry.
  • Lava flows, ocean and tsunami modelling for geophysical applications.
  • Simulating plumes and oil slicks following a spillage for environmental applications.

In the first instance, we will demonstrate our predictive tools by:

  • predicting directly pressure drop and flow regime transitions in gas-liquid and liquid-liquid flows: from bubbly- to annular-flows, going through ‘slug-‘ and ‘churn-flows’ (see Left figure) and liquid-liquid flows: from stratified to dual continuous, to fully dispersed flows.
  • simulating the development of micro-scale structures (see Right figure) for multiphase structured fluids in the presence of chemical reactions, complex rheology, and surfactants.

Fi1 Apps &Impact





Time-resolved orthogonal diameter views of ‘churn’ flow in a large pipe illustrating incomplete atomisation and wisps. (WMS output). Water = blue, air = red.






Minimising empiricism will impact the design of nearly all UK manufacturing equipment, oil-and-gas sub-sea installations, and flow-assurance. The energy efficiencies introduced as a result of a step-change improvement in the engineering science, in each of the above cases, and associated reduction in CO2 emissions, will give the UK a distinct advantage over its competitors. Assessing the impact of processing of these products in the complex geometries of industrial plants is beyond the current-state-of-the-art and will also be addressed, leading to bespoke manufacturing routes for FMCG, fine chemicals, and catalyst production.

Fi2 Apps &Impact

Multiple-emulsions with additives produced in a micro-fluidics device (Chu et al., Lab Chip, 11, (2011), 1587-1592).



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