I am studying for an interdisciplinary MSc/PhD in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics: 2014-2018
PhD Project Title: Two Phase Flow in the Earth's Core
My greatest passion has always been mathematics and I graduated with first class honours from Leeds University with a BSc, MMath Mathematics degree in 2013. During my time at university, I developed an attraction to solving problems using applied mathematics, sparking my interest in fluid dynamics. Afterwards, I worked as a data analyst for a holiday comparison website before returning to academia in September 2014.
I am especially interested in the fluid dynamics of the Earth’s interior. My project focuses on the so-called “F-layer” situated at the base of the Earth’s outer core. Seismic observations tell us that this layer is stably-stratified. This is a surprising observation for a turbulent, well-mixed liquid core. The liquid is composed of an alloy, predominantly iron combined with a lighter material. Overall the Earth is cooling over time, so the iron solidifies from the alloy onto the inner core and the lighter material remains in the liquid. However, this lighter material at the base of the outer core is more buoyant than the ambient fluid. This would surely disturb the stably-stratified layer: how is this compatible with observation? My aim is to approach this problem systematically, in which a box-model of thermal convection of this layer will be considered first. This model will gradually tackle the two phase aspect of this problem, in which solid particles will be introduced to the simulations.
The reason for choosing the CDT in Fluid Dynamics is that it offered the unique opportunity of studying for my research degree in a truly multidisciplinary environment. My personal goal was to complement my strong mathematical background with a breadth of practical research skills. Regular contact with members of my cohort and academics from different backgrounds has undoubtedly enriched my knowledge of fluid dynamics in a way beyond my experience at undergraduate level.