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Department of Physics and Astronomy

A pink blob of liquid next to a blue blob of liquid

Physics of fluids and soft matter

Our research is focused on the dynamics and instabilities of complex systems, from bubble dynamics to soft tissues, and encompasses both curiosity-driven and industrially-relevant phenomena.

Group staff

Laboratory-based research into nonlinear phenomena often reveals unexpected findings, which in turn requires interpretation via mathematical modelling. This led to the formation of the Manchester Centre for Nonlinear Dynamics in 2000; a collaboration between the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Department of Mathematics. The ethos of MCND has been to ally quantitative experimental investigations with cutting edge approaches in mathematical and numerical modelling of complex systems.

MCND builds on our outstanding pedigree in fundamental fluid mechanics with previous academics including: Osbourne Reynolds FRS, Sir Horace Lamb FRS, and Sir James Lighthill FRS. Together, we work to provide a modern, multidisciplinary training environment into the complex behaviour of fluids and soft materials. Our multi-disciplinary approach to fluid mechanics has led us to work on industrial projects in collaboration with the likes of Cambridge Display Technology Ltd, BP Exploration Ltd and Mondelez International Ltd.

The key outputs of our work include:

  • Multiphase microfluidics and Hele-Shaw flows
  • Fluid-structure interaction
  • Subcritical transition to disordered front propagation
  • Dynamic wetting
  • Instabilities in soft solids
  • Yield and viscoelastic flows
  • Blood rheology