Particles, Polymers and Compliant Boundaries at the Intersection of Fluid Mechanics and Soft Matter

Interdisciplinary Areas: Engineering-Medicine, Micro-, Nano-, and Quantum Engineering

Project Description

The proposed direction for a Gilbreth Fellow under the supervision of Profs. Christov and Narsimhan lies at the intersection of fluid mechanics and soft matter physics. We are broadly interested in problems involving particle motion and transport (from the single-particle scale to the continuum scale of a suspension), the effect of carrier (such as a polymeric fluid), and the deformation of flow boundaries (such as elastic walls, or interfaces endowed with surface tension). The Fellow and mentors will leverage theoretical approaches (including classical methods in Stokes flows, lubrication theory, asymptotic and perturbation techniques) with advanced computational (including Brownian dynamics, boundary element methods, two-fluid modeling, and physics-informed machine learning).

Applications and project proposals involving, but not limited, to motion of particles in viscoelastic fluids, the effect of compliant boundaries/interfaces on such motions, suspensions in viscoelastic fluids, use of channel deformation to sieve or sort particles in a microfluidic device, and flow and deformation of soft materials are welcome. We seek to push the state of the art in any of these directions, levering the Gilbreth Fellowship support and associated funded projects to pursue groundbreaking fundamental research.

Start Date

May, 2024 or later (Flexible)

Postdoc Qualifications

The postdoctoral researcher should have a degree in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Applied Mathematics, or equivalent. The research requires a strong background at the intersection of computational and theoretical fluid mechanics and soft matter physics. This background can be demonstrated by a track record of publications in the top disciplinary journals (such as the Physical Review, the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, etc.).


Ivan C. Christov, Associate Professor, School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University,

Vivek Narsimhan, Michael and Carolyn Ott Assistant Professor, Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, 

Short Bibliography

1. Ivan C. Christov, “Soft hydraulics: from Newtonian to complex fluid flows through compliant conduits,” Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 34 (2022) 063001, doi:10.1088/1361-648X/ac327d; preprint arXiv:2106.07164.
2. Daihui Lu and Ivan C. Christov, “Physics-informed neural networks for understanding shear migration of particles in viscous flow,” International Journal of Multiphase Flow 165 (2023) 104476, doi:10.1016/j.ijmultiphaseflow.2023.104476; preprint arXiv:2111.04684.
3. Lionel Bureau, Gwennou Coupier, Thomas Salez, “Lift at low Reynolds number,” preprint arXiv:2207.04538.
4. C. Tai and V. Narsimhan, “Experimental and theoretical studies of cross-stream migration of non-spherical particles in a quadratic flow of viscoelastic fluid,” Soft Matter 24 (2022) 4495–4644, doi:10.1039/D2SM00011C
5. H. Zhao, E.S.G. Shaqfeh, and V. Narsimhan, “Shear-induced particle migration and margination in a cellular suspension,” Physics of Fluids 24 (2012) 011902, doi:10.1063/1.3677935