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Fluids and Environment group

Our research focuses on the interaction of fluid flow and chemical kinetics in three main topical areas of world-wide importance:

(1) turbulent plumes and thermals in the environment, such as the BP oil plume in the Gulf of Mexico (2010), the Icelandic volcanic plume (2010), the Fukushima nuclear cloud (2011) and oceanic methane releases (2012); 

(2) flow and reaction in porous media, e.g., the spreading of carbon dioxide in geological storage at Sleipner in the North Sea; and in 

(3) cool flames and thermo-kinetic explosions, as occurred on the crash of TWA flight 800 (1996).

The emphasis of our research is in describing very complex problems coupling fluid dynamics and reaction, and involving many parameters, in terms of a few key physical mechanisms. Our research methodology combines modern mathematical techniques, computational modelling and laboratory experiments; these techniques are complementary and provide insight into the underlying physics, the controlling time and length scales, as well as the detailed behaviour of a system. 

The impact of our work is dual: (a) scientifically, we create the fundamental knowledge on how to tackle a given flow, which acts as a platform upon which further complexity may be built; and (b) in engineering, we contribute with results simple enough to aid the design of new technology or the improvement of existing one.